2018 World Cup Qualifying Pot Projections – CONCACAF

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As we posted , we’ll be keeping track of World Cup Qualifying Pots and projecting where each team will finish. We are making the following assumptions for CONCACAF.

  1. There will be 6 pots containing 35 teams.
  2. There will be 5 rounds of qualifying as laid out by Fernando Palomo here
  3. The March 2015 FIFA Ranking will be used to seed teams into Pots.


*** We are aware there have been reports that the August 2014 FIFA Ranking will be used. While that may be the case, the speculation here is developed using different assumptions. ***


As always, teams can move up in Pots by scheduling and getting points from friendlies. It’s a worthwhile investment at this point as teams can easily move up or down.


Before we get any further, here are our Pot Projections as of 10/24/2014:

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3
Costa Rica Trinidad and Tobago Honduras
Mexico Panama Guatemala
USA Haiti
Pot 4 Pot 5 Pot 6
Jamaica Puerto Rico Dominica
El Salvador Suriname Nicaragua
Antigua and Barbuda Belize Bahamas
Dominican Republic Montserrat US Virgin Islands
St. Vincent and Grenadines Guyana British Virgin Islands
Canada Turks and Caicos Islands Cayman Islands
St. Kitts and Nevis Bermuda Anguilla
St. Lucia


* All Numbers in Parentheses are Projected Points


Pot 1

* Teams in Pot 1 advance directly to the Semifinal Round of Qualifying.

Costa Rica (1018), Mexico (917), USA (892): CONCACAF cannot use the July rankings if they start qualifying in March 2015. Any edition of the rankings that CONCACAF uses will have these 3 teams as the top 3. They will make up Pot 1 and advance directly to the Semifinal Round of Qualifying.


Pot 2

* Teams in Pot 2 advance directly to the Semifinal Round of Qualifying.

Trinidad and Tobago (626): We project Trinidad to beat both Curacao and Cuba at the Caribbean Cup. They will not get points at all for playing French Guiana, and we believe they will face Martinique in the final. That match also carries no weight for FIFA Rankings. If they face Jamaica, they should still be able to end up in Pot 2.

Panama (587): We think Panama wins both November friendlies against El Salvador and Canada. Even without those wins, they should still have enough to stay in Pot 2. It would be a surprise to see them fall any lower.

Haiti (534): We don’t think Haiti makes it out of the Group Stage at the Caribbean Cup, but that should be OK. We like them to beat Antigua and end up as the final team in Pot 2.


Pot 3

* Teams in Pot 3 will advance to the 3rd round of Qualifying, where they will play a head-to-head match against one of 10 previous round qualifiers.

Honduras (443): Honduras has played a ton of games in 2014 and picked up virtually no points. They probably have to beat Japan and China to get into the Pot 2 discussion. They then would need some other things to go their way. Right now, we’re Projecting Pot 3.

Guatemala (425): Guatemala no longer has any matches on the schedule. If they do not schedule another match between now and March, they will be on 425 points. Could get passed by Jamaica depending on Caribbean Cup performance, but did very well in the Copa Centroamericana.


Pot 4a

* Teams in Pot 4 will advance to the 2nd round of Qualifying, where they will play a head-to-head match. We’re going to use Pot 4a and 4b to break teams up, as it is likely this is how they will be viewed during the draw. Teams from Pot 4a should play a Pot 4b team or a team that advances from the 1st round of Qualifying.

Jamaica (404): Jamaica has had a rough 2014. They have barely over 400 points from 8 matches played and have really hurt their chances of avoiding one of the preliminary rounds. We have them with 2 wins and a draw in the Caribbean Cup counting towards their ranking, and it still is not enough to get them out of this pot. They need 3 wins at the Caribbean Cup to get into Pot 3 and absolutely must avoid French Guiana.

El Salvador (381): We don’t think El Salvador gets anything from their November friendly with Panama, but it shouldn’t matter. They’re extremely likely to end up in the Top half of Pot 4.

Antigua and Barbuda (312): The Caribbean Cup is a great opportunity for Antigua and Barbuda, but unfortunately we believe it will be too tall a task. Playing away to Jamaica and what we believe is a better Haiti team should end poorly. This is a worst-case scenario, however, as there is potential with some wins.

Dominican Republic (310), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (300): With no matches scheduled, these teams should end up here for the draw.

Canada (256): We have Canada losing to Panama in their November friendly, but even with a win, Canada would onnly wind up with 329 points. It’s not going to be enough to get out of Pot 4, and here’s why Canada will continue down this path.

St. Kitts and Nevis (244): Also no matches scheduled. Will be in Pot 4.

Cuba (234): We actually like Cuba to advance out of the Group Stage at the Caribbean Cup, but it won’t matter if they win the whole thing. They can’t get higher than Pot 4, and if they lose to Curacao and Trinidad are in danger of falling a little bit lower.

Aruba (221), St. Lucia (216): No matches scheduled, and should stay in this range.


Pot 4b

Barbados (183), Grenada (136): No matches scheduled.

Curacao (125): Has a shot to get as high as Pot 3 with a blistering performance at the Caribbean Cup. Unfortunately, we think they’ll return home empty handed. Far too many matches on record with 0 points. This is a worst case scenario, however, and with some points at the Caribbean Cup, can at least get into Pot 4a.


Pot 5

*Teams in Pot 5 will contest the 1st round of Qualifying in a home-and-home match against a Pot 6 team. All teams in Pot 5 have no matches currently scheduled:

Puerto Rico (119), Suriname (115), Belize (100), Montserrat (86), Guyana (84), Turks and Caicos Islands (66), Bermuda (55)


Pot 6

*Teams in Pot 6 will contest the 1st round of Qualifying in a home-and-home match against a Pot 5 team. All teams in Pot 6 have no matches currently scheduled:

Dominica (55), Nicaragua (51), Bahamas (26), US Virgin Islands (16), British Virgin Islands (8), Cayman Islands (5), Anguilla (2)



We hope you enjoyed our rundown of CONCACAF Qualifying Pots. We’ll try to keep this updated as often as possible. It’s obviously a massive task.

There are plenty of teams that would benefit from strategically scheduling friendlies. We’d love to help. Reach out to us on Twitter @We_Global or via email at

Thanks for reading!

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