Bermuda World Cup adventure starts
The 2018 World Cup Finals kicks off in 1,209 days time, but for the island of Bermuda and others in the Caribbean the road to Russia starts tomorrow.
Bermuda are ranked 169th in the FIFA rankings and have to begin their qualifying in the CONCACAF 1st Round and have been drawn against 194th ranked Bahamas. The tie is two legs with the first game in Nassau and the return in Bermuda in four days time.
The CONCACAF has three and a half qualifying places for Russia 2018 and 35 countries in the continent take part, 14 in the 1st Round (teams ranked 22–35). There is then is another two knockout rounds before the 4th Round, when the highest 6 ranking teams meet the 6 that have survived the knockout to go into three groups of four playing home-and-away round-robin matches. The three group winners and the three group runners-up will advance to the 5th round.
Here the 6 surviving teams will play home and away round-robin matches in one single group, referred to as the ‘Hexagonal’ where eventually in 2017 the top 3 teams will qualify for the Finals and the 4th placed team advances to the inter- confederation play-offs.
Yes, the chances of Bermuda appearing in Russia in 3 years time are you could say, slim.
The good news for Bermuda is that Huddersfield’s Nahki Wells joined up with the squad, fit again after playing 90 minutes against Fulham on Saturday, although he did miss two penalties!
The squad also contains Stoke City’s young ‘keeper Dale Eve and Mansfield midfielder Reggie Lambe. Many of the young squad play in the American college system, but two are in the English non league and one plays in the Norwegian 2nd Division.
Bermuda have never made it to the 3rd Round, and with 82nd rated Guatemala awaiting the winner in the 2nd Round, that will again be a tough task for this 21 square mile island.