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mke717spotter
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2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Sun Nov 14, 2021 8:20 am

We just had the EUROs and Copa America not too long ago and yet we're already coming down the home stretch of qualifiers for the next World Cup. UEFA is in the midst of the their last match day of the first round. Meanwhile, CONCACAF is at the midway point. In 2018 there were several big names that missed out (Italy, Netherlands, USA) but for now it appears that all of the favorites are positioned to progress. With the 2026 tournament expanding to 48 countries the qualifiers could take on a whole different look from here on out. Here are the standings as of 11/14/2021:

AFC

Group A
Iran - 13
South Korea - 11
Lebanon - 5
Iraq - 4
United Arab Emirates - 3
Syria - 2

Group B
Saudi Arabia - 13
Australia - 10
Japan - 9
Oman - 7
China PR - 4
Vietnam - 0

CAF
Mali, Egypt, Senegal, and Morocco have already qualified for the final round. Altogether there will be ten group winners from the second round drawn into five home-and-away ties to determine who advances to the World Cup.

CONCACAF
United States - 14
Mexico - 14
Canada - 13
Panama - 11
Costa Rica - 6
Jamaica - 6
El Salvador - 6
Honduras - 3

CONMEBOL
Brazil - 34 (qualified)
Argentina - 28
Ecuador - 20
Chile - 16
Colombia - 16
Uruguay - 16
Peru - 14
Paraguay - 12
Bolivia - 12
Venezuela - 7

OFC
Due to COVID qualifying has yet to begin, and apparently there will be a competition held in Qatar in March 2022.

UEFA

Group A
Portugal - 17
Serbia - 17
Luxembourg - 9
Republic of Ireland - 6
Azerbaijan - 1

Group B
Spain - 16
Sweden - 15
Greece - 9
Georgia - 7
Kosovo - 4

Group C
Italy - 15
Switzerland - 15
Northern Ireland - 8
Bulgaria - 8
Lithuania - 3

Group D
France - 15 (qualified)
Finland - 11
Ukraine - 9
Bosnia and Herzegovina - 7
Kazakhstan - 3

Group E
Belgium - 19 (qualified)
Wales - 14
Czech Republic - 11
Estonia - 4
Belarus - 3

Group F
Denmark - 27 (qualified)
Scotland - 20
Israel - 13
Austria - 13
Faroe Islands - 4
Moldova - 1

Group G
Netherlands - 20
Turkey - 18
Norway - 18
Montenegro - 12
Latvia - 6
Gibraltar - 0

Group H
Russia - 22
Croatia - 20
Slovakia - 11
Slovenia - 11
Malta - 5
Cyprus - 5

Group I
England - 23
Poland - 20
Albania - 15
Hungary - 14
Andorra - 6
San Marino - 0

Group J
Germany - 24 (qualified)
North Macedonia - 15
Romania - 14
Armenia - 12
Iceland - 9
Liechtenstein - 1

The most up-to-date standings can be viewed here. The two countries I follow closely are USA and Poland. Poland are pretty much set for the playoff round, but if they can win their last match against Hungary they will be seeded and end up with a better draw. I'm sure plenty of neutral fans would love to watch Lewandowski compete in Qatar and since he's now 33 who knows if this could be his last chance to play in a World Cup. Interestingly, they just brought Aston Villa's Matty Cash into the fold. Even the President of Poland got involved to expedite his citizenship request. I recall back in 2012 when they were hosting EURO 2012 they brought in a few other guys who were barely Polish in an effort to bolster the team and some people thought that practice was distasteful. They seem to be welcoming Cash in with open arms, however. As for the US it seems like they're on track to avoid the embarrassment they suffered last time when they couldn't qualify. They've got a lot guys playing at top clubs nowadays so the expectations seem to be high for this crop of players. The other day they just beat Mexico for the third time this year and that sort of flipped the script because they had been getting dominated by them the last few years. I still think their squad is pretty raw so I'm not expecting big things until 2026. Before the qualification campaign began I had expected Canada to be more competitive this time around and now I am expecting them to qualify. They are definitely a program that is on the rise.
 
NIKV69
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Sun Nov 14, 2021 1:24 pm

Leave it to Italy to make it exciting! OMG. USA with a big win against Mexico.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Sun Nov 14, 2021 3:18 pm

Andorra beat San Marino 3-nil. 35 years of exciting soccer in San Marino
 
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mke717spotter
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Mon Nov 15, 2021 5:48 am

mke717spotter wrote:
In 2018 there were several big names that missed out (Italy, Netherlands, USA) but for now it appears that all of the favorites are positioned to progress.

Apparently I spoke too soon. Portugal lost at home to Serbia on a late goal and now they've been relegated to the playoff route. I also didn't realize it but UEFA's playoff format is more complicated this time around. Previously the second place teams would just face each other in home-and-away ties.
 
noviorbis77
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Mon Nov 15, 2021 7:10 am

mke717spotter wrote:
mke717spotter wrote:
In 2018 there were several big names that missed out (Italy, Netherlands, USA) but for now it appears that all of the favorites are positioned to progress.

Apparently I spoke too soon. Portugal lost at home to Serbia on a late goal and now they've been relegated to the playoff route. I also didn't realize it but UEFA's playoff format is more complicated this time around. Previously the second place teams would just face each other in home-and-away ties.


I am not sure you can class the USA as a big name in football.

Certainly not in the same sentance as Italy and Netherlands.
 
Jalap
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Mon Nov 15, 2021 7:49 am

Always fun to see what "exotic" nations are going to qualify.

For Mali, it would be their first WC, but I doubt they'll survive the last round of qualifying.
I hope Canada will make it as well, for their 2nd world cup ever. I'm a bit of a Jonathan David fan.

It looks like there'll be very few surprises in Europe. Although I think the Netherlands is perfectly capable of getting eliminated vs Norway tomorrow.
 
gkirk
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Mon Nov 15, 2021 8:47 am

Since when is the USA considered a big name in International football?
 
maverick4002
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Mon Nov 15, 2021 1:26 pm

I'll never forget ESPN calling the USA contenders in the lead up to the 2006 WC and they had Germany listed as pretenders. I think this is when I first realized the power of the media and how they can hype up things. I think USA was ranked 4 or 5 in the world (how???) going into that tournament. USA is NOT a big name in football.

With that said they do have some talented players gaining valuable experience in EPL, Serie A, La Liga etc so they should have a pretty competitive team for 2026 tbh, further boosted by being hosts.
 
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mke717spotter
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Mon Nov 15, 2021 9:58 pm

noviorbis77 wrote:
I am not sure you can class the USA as a big name in football.

gkirk wrote:
Since when is the USA considered a big name in International football?

maverick4002 wrote:
USA is NOT a big name in football.

The point I was trying to make was that it was a shock that they weren't able to qualify. Back to that original point though, now Italy will also have to contest the playoffs after failing to beat Northern Ireland. Just a few months ago they were crowned champions of Europe and now they might not qualify for the World Cup yet again.
 
B777LRF
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Tue Nov 16, 2021 5:58 am

Denmark missed the opportunity to go 10 for nothing, when they lost their final game away against Scotland. Ok, so they showed up with a team consisting largely of substitutes, and had qualified with 2 matches remaining, so probably wasn't massively motivated. 27 points and a score of 30-3 is not bad at all.

Still in two minds whether the WC should be subject to a boycott. They say sport and politics shouldn't mix, but that's exactly what sports washing is all about. One things is absolutely certain: I won't be attending any of the matches in person, and I think to a large extent the stadiums will be more empty than full. Unless Qatar does what it has done at other sports tournaments they've hosted: Commandeer large numbers of expatriate workers to fill up the stadiums. Have vivid memories of the handball WC, where scores of spectators from the sub-continent were looking bedazzled at a sport they'd no clue about about. Hilarious and sad at the same time.
 
ltbewr
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Tue Nov 16, 2021 11:29 am

B777LRF wrote:
Still in two minds whether the WC should be subject to a boycott. They say sport and politics shouldn't mix, but that's exactly what sports washing is all about. One things is absolutely certain: I won't be attending any of the matches in person, and I think to a large extent the stadiums will be more empty than full. Unless Qatar does what it has done at other sports tournaments they've hosted: Commandeer large numbers of expatriate workers to fill up the stadiums. Have vivid memories of the handball WC, where scores of spectators from the sub-continent were looking bedazzled at a sport they'd no clue about about. Hilarious and sad at the same time.


I almost wish my home country, the USA, wouldn't qualify due to the politics of Qatar. Problem is that we have a major military base and operations there to protect the oil of the Persian Gulf, the hell with human rights that barely exist in the region. So long as they let the USA do its dirty work there, the Qatar government can have its obscenely financially and human costing WC and domestic policies. Indeed it is 'sports washing' as with the Olympics in PRC China, Russia, and other countries including the USA. The leadership of FIFA is totally corrupt. The WC will be held in the fall which will disrupt many leagues seasons and who knows if Covid-19 will be under control by then. As in the heart of the USA's NFL and part of college/university level American Football seasons, I believe the numbers of viewers here but for some ethnic groups will be very much reduced.

Then you have the bad calls by game officials, the strange upsets, too many teams involved that shouldn't be there to inflate the money pig, the billions bet on the matches too often by people who can't afford to do so and I am not sure this will be a good WC.
 
NIKV69
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Tue Nov 16, 2021 12:27 pm

mke717spotter wrote:
noviorbis77 wrote:
I am not sure you can class the USA as a big name in football.

gkirk wrote:
Since when is the USA considered a big name in International football?

maverick4002 wrote:
USA is NOT a big name in football.

The point I was trying to make was that it was a shock that they weren't able to qualify. Back to that original point though, now Italy will also have to contest the playoffs after failing to beat Northern Ireland. Just a few months ago they were crowned champions of Europe and now they might not qualify for the World Cup yet again.


The USA was never a lock to get in, they have never lived up to their female counterparts. As for Italy they have a great Goalkeeper and can score but have leaks in midfield and defense bigtime. They can hang with European teams but South America will eat them up if they don't improve.
 
maverick4002
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Tue Nov 16, 2021 3:03 pm

Some 'high stakes' games today.

Algeria vs Burkina Faso: Winner advances to final round
Nigeria vs Cape Verde: Same
Cameroon vs Ivory Coast: Same (I will try to watch this one)
D.R Congo vs Benin: Same

Netherlands vs Norway: Winner advances to WC

Argentina vs Brazil: Just because its these two, Arg might qualify with the win.
 
wingman
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Tue Nov 16, 2021 4:43 pm

NIKV69 wrote:
[

The USA was never a lock to get in, they have never lived up to their female counterparts. As for Italy they have a great Goalkeeper and can score but have leaks in midfield and defense bigtime. They can hang with European teams but South America will eat them up if they don't improve.


I'd argue the 2020(1) Euros were Italy's swan song for this generation. That's a crew getting long in the tooth. SA always field good to great teams but in my mind the elite right now are France, England and Spain (in that order) with Germany and Belgium strong threats. I'd put Brazil and Argentina in that same category. One of those seven is bound to win the prize in Qatar. Dream dark horse would be South Korea.
 
NIKV69
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Tue Nov 16, 2021 5:06 pm

wingman wrote:
NIKV69 wrote:
[

The USA was never a lock to get in, they have never lived up to their female counterparts. As for Italy they have a great Goalkeeper and can score but have leaks in midfield and defense bigtime. They can hang with European teams but South America will eat them up if they don't improve.


I'd argue the 2020(1) Euros were Italy's swan song for this generation. That's a crew getting long in the tooth. SA always field good to great teams but in my mind the elite right now are France, England and Spain (in that order) with Germany and Belgium strong threats. I'd put Brazil and Argentina in that same category. One of those seven is bound to win the prize in Qatar. Dream dark horse would be South Korea.


I beg to differ, I think Italy has gotten younger and better up front but have lost that suffocating defense. Let us face it the Goalie won that Euro for them he was insane. If Italy can get a few good middies and defensemen they can play with any team.
 
Alias1024
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Tue Nov 16, 2021 5:20 pm

NIKV69 wrote:
mke717spotter wrote:
noviorbis77 wrote:
I am not sure you can class the USA as a big name in football.

gkirk wrote:
Since when is the USA considered a big name in International football?

maverick4002 wrote:
USA is NOT a big name in football.

The point I was trying to make was that it was a shock that they weren't able to qualify. Back to that original point though, now Italy will also have to contest the playoffs after failing to beat Northern Ireland. Just a few months ago they were crowned champions of Europe and now they might not qualify for the World Cup yet again.


The USA was never a lock to get in, they have never lived up to their female counterparts. As for Italy they have a great Goalkeeper and can score but have leaks in midfield and defense bigtime. They can hang with European teams but South America will eat them up if they don't improve.


Nobody is ever a lock, as proved by the Dutch and Italians last go around, but the US not getting out of qualifying last cycle was a shock.

They had been to seven straight WC, even though 1994 was a free pass for hosting, and the popularity of the game and depth and talent of the player pool had increased immensely over the past couple decades. It’s not like the US was trying to get through UEFA or CONMEBOL. There’s no excuse for the US and Mexico to not qualify every cycle given their population sizes, domestic leagues, and money thrown at the game compared to the rest of the confederation.
 
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mke717spotter
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Wed Nov 17, 2021 6:03 am

Updated standings as of 11/17/2021:

AFC

Group A
Iran - 16
South Korea - 14
United Arab Emirates - 6
Lebanon - 5
Iraq - 4
Syria - 2

Group B
Saudi Arabia - 16
Japan - 12
Australia - 11
Oman - 7
China - 5
Vietnam - 0

CAF
Algeria, Cameroon, DR Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia qualified for the final round.

CONCACAF
Canada - 16
United States - 15
Mexico - 14
Panama - 14
Costa Rica - 9
Jamaica - 7
El Salvador - 6
Honduras - 3

CONMEBOL
Brazil - 35 (qualified)
Argentina - 29 (qualified)
Ecuador - 23
Colombia - 17
Peru - 17
Chile - 16
Uruguay - 16
Bolivia - 15
Paraguay - 13
Venezuela - 7

UEFA
Germany, Denmark, France, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Serbia, England, Switzerland, and Netherlands have qualified for the World Cup.
Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Wales, Turkey, Poland, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Austria, and Czech Republic will contest the playoffs.

Some of my takeaways:

- Uruguay is another regular participant who looks to have their work cut out for them this time.
- Who would have thought Canada would be leading CONCACAF after the halfway point? Mexico considers any loss to the US unacceptable, so imagine how they're feeling now after going down against Canada. Scheduling the game in Edmonton and playing in such frigid conditions surely gave Canada a bit more of a home advantage. The US is hosting El Salvador and Honduras in January/February and I'd like to see them follow suit and select somewhere like Minneapolis or Chicago for these games.
- The US's play on the road continues to be uninspiring. This has been a trend in World Cup qualifying for a long time. Granted, they were missing some of their playmakers today (Reyna, McKennie, and Pulisic), but if you exclude the second half outburst in Honduras they've been so inept.
- Poland completely screwed themselves in their final group match. They benched Lewandowski, then proceeded to lose to Hungary at home, and now they will have to go on the road in the playoffs. A draw would have been sufficient to host a match instead. I'm not sure if the coach simply decided to give him a rest or if someone from Bayern called and requested that he be held out, but I am giving them almost no hope of progressing now, especially since they might be matched up with Italy or Portugal.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Wed Nov 17, 2021 7:00 am

In addition, the Netherlands has no business qualifying given the last two matches 8-)
 
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Aesma
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Wed Nov 17, 2021 9:27 am

About the US, they have regularly qualified because the qualifications are regional, so they're among the best teams in their pool. If the pools were global, it would be another story (but it wouldn't really be a world cup, more like a Euro-South America cup).
 
victrola
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:17 pm

The US has the most talented group of players ever assembled in its history and yet they are struggling with teams like Jamaica. And then there are the injuries. Why is it that US players have so much trouble with injuries?
 
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mke717spotter
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Tue Nov 23, 2021 6:00 pm

victrola wrote:
The US has the most talented group of players ever assembled in its history and yet they are struggling with teams like Jamaica. And then there are the injuries. Why is it that US players have so much trouble with injuries?

Yes, there's talent, but they're still pretty young and as a group they haven't play a ton together with the national team. It also doesn't help that Pulisic, Reyna, and McKennie (three of their more important players) have been in/out of the team recently due to injuries and discipline. You're right about the injuries though. Pulisic in particular seems pretty frail. He's 23 now and let's face it usually injuries only become more of an issue when a player gets older.
 
singingamy
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Thu Nov 25, 2021 1:34 pm

Please don't throw stone in me but I honestly found this year Champions League kinda boring. The only two teams I really enjoyed watching where Italy and Belgium.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Thu Nov 25, 2021 3:56 pm

singingamy wrote:
Please don't throw stone in me but I honestly found this year Champions League kinda boring. The only two teams I really enjoyed watching where Italy and Belgium.


Champions League? Nation League you mean? And then I full-heartedly agree.
 
Alias1024
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Thu Nov 25, 2021 11:02 pm

mke717spotter wrote:
- Who would have thought Canada would be leading CONCACAF after the halfway point? Mexico considers any loss to the US unacceptable, so imagine how they're feeling now after going down against Canada. Scheduling the game in Edmonton and playing in such frigid conditions surely gave Canada a bit more of a home advantage. The US is hosting El Salvador and Honduras in January/February and I'd like to see them follow suit and select somewhere like Minneapolis or Chicago for these games.


You got half your wish. Minneapolis (well, St. Paul actually) will host one of the matches. The other will be in Columbus.
 
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mke717spotter
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Fri Nov 26, 2021 6:46 pm

The draw for the European playoffs was held today and the possibility of Italy and Portugal ending up in the same bracket has been realized. Only one can make it to the World Cup.

Path A
Austria @ Wales (winner hosts final)
Ukraine @ Scotland

Path B
Poland @ Russia (winner hosts final)
Czech Republic @ Sweden

Path C
Turkey @ Portugal (winner hosts final)
North Macedonia @ Italy

In addition, the two inter-confederation play-offs will be AFC fourth round winner vs CONMEBOL 5th place and CONCACAF 4th place vs OFC winner. These used to be two-legged home-and-away series, however, they will now be one-off matches played in Qatar.

As a sidenote, I've never understood why they don't just fold OFC into AFC.
 
wirkey
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Fri Nov 26, 2021 10:35 pm

mke717spotter wrote:

As a sidenote, I've never understood why they don't just fold OFC into AFC.


Why should they? First, if they were in AFC those small island teams might have to travel to Lebanon, which would be a huge issue. Second, chances that one of OFC members qualifies for WC are probably higher with half a place granted, instead of having to play all the way through AFC qualifiers. From 2026 on they will even have one starter guaranteed.
 
NIKV69
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:56 pm

mke717spotter wrote:
The draw for the European playoffs was held today and the possibility of Italy and Portugal ending up in the same bracket has been realized. Only one can make it to the World Cup.

Path A
Austria @ Wales (winner hosts final)
Ukraine @ Scotland

Path B
Poland @ Russia (winner hosts final)
Czech Republic @ Sweden

Path C
Turkey @ Portugal (winner hosts final)
North Macedonia @ Italy

In addition, the two inter-confederation play-offs will be AFC fourth round winner vs CONMEBOL 5th place and CONCACAF 4th place vs OFC winner. These used to be two-legged home-and-away series, however, they will now be one-off matches played in Qatar.

As a sidenote, I've never understood why they don't just fold OFC into AFC.


Of course Italy has to make it hard on themselvs.
 
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mke717spotter
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Re: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:13 am

wirkey wrote:
Why should they? First, if they were in AFC those small island teams might have to travel to Lebanon, which would be a huge issue. Second, chances that one of OFC members qualifies for WC are probably higher with half a place granted, instead of having to play all the way through AFC qualifiers. From 2026 on they will even have one starter guaranteed.

I think that more scheduling of competitive matches with a wider level of skill would eventually improve the region over time. That's precisely why Australia left for AFC and I think New Zealand would benefit from it also. They haven't faced any meaningful opposition in a competitive match since the inter-confederation play-off against Peru in 2018.

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