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Oct 13 16 6:30 PM

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Been floating around for a while now and starting to become more formalised as a proposal, the World Cup could be going to 40 or 48 teams in the future. Thoughts?

My personal views are yes overall (if only so that Oceania can finally get at least 1 guaranteed place), maybe go to 40 first rather than a big jump, and definitely none of this Group Stage Play-Off business, if it has to be 48 teams then either make it a Euros-style format to whittle 12 groups of 4 into a 32 knockout tree (most teams will be playing 1 more match anyway under the play-off format), or 16 groups of 3.

The 'one-and-done' idea seems like being presented with a slice of cake and being made to work for the icing, and also has the potential for an elitist 'slippery slope' with the highest-ranked teams getting a bye to the groups....
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#1 [url]

Oct 13 16 6:35 PM

expansion seems a bad idea, following the expansion of the European and Asian cups

I think 32 teams is excellent, they can play more intercontinatal play offs, that can make sense...

anyway not a system with best third placed teams,...they can make groups of five teams if they really think expansion is the future...to raise more money?
 

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#3 [url]

Oct 13 16 8:57 PM

I am happy to watch Guatemala vs Ukraine. One of them might even score a goal. I often go out of my way to watch such games, even if I know they will be awful. It's this kind of match that makes football interesting. Otherwise it's the tedious European soap opera of star-driven narrative, yawn; I think that if I was 25 years younger and just becoming interested in football now, I would find nothing of value in it.

I remember writing a letter to "World Soccer" about 20 years ago suggesting a sort of expansion of the World Cup and to balance out the allocation per continent. The letters page editor response (I think it was Trevor Brooking or Kevin Keegan or some such luminary) suggested that could never happen, and quoted Vanuatu vs Costa Rica as the equivalent example.

But you can say the same about any match involving also-rans, which in the end is most of them, and more so if it was a dull game. Japan vs Greece was very poor, for example. Costa Rica vs England even worse and more pointless And 2010 Algeria vs England truly abysmal. In general many of the teams are just turgidly making up the numbers, with little attempt to play decent football. That can be cited as a reason to reduce the number of teams to 8 or 4, since the others are pointless. But it's not about the quality... obviously!

BTW in my letter I also wrote that the "new" Champions League should/would go much further and become a Superleague with the biggest/best teams from across Europe, but I regret having written that even though it has proved an accurate prediction.

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#4 [url]

Oct 13 16 9:01 PM

Speaking of opinions from years ago, we've had this discussion already.

From 2013:

nfm24 wrote:
If you want high qualify football then 32 is already pushing it. And to be honest the group stage of the World Cup is not for you. Remember the thriller Superclasicos of New Zealand vs Slovakia, Honduras vs Switzerland, or Algeria vs Slovenia in 2010. This is where the Confederations Cup is more exciting.

If FIFA just wanted to make more money, have more matches with fewer teams. Bigger groups. Two legged quarterfinals and semifinals. Make a global premier league for national teams, replacing qualifiers and friendlies. Have the women's world cup in the same country at the same time (but without timetable clash for TV) so they are more included as part of a unified event. That's what I would be working towards, if I wanted to maximise financial returns from international football. Even if i don't precisely want to see that happen.

Fortunately I don't care about finance and I don't care about quality, which is why tomorrow I will be watching Jordan vs Zambia on my own, on a crappy betting stream, instead of watching Dortmund vs Arsenal or Barcelona vs AC Milan with my colleagues, on a big screen in the pub.

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#5 [url]

Oct 13 16 9:09 PM

But when it comes to dedication in watching exotic and obscure fixtures, there is only one King:

TheRoonBa wrote:
I'm currently watching live coverage of Cape Verde-Senegal in women's volleyball World Championship qualifiers, with Portuguese commentary whilst at the same time cooking a vegetable curry.

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#6 [url]

Oct 14 16 5:34 PM

nfm24 wrote:
But when it comes to dedication in watching exotic and obscure fixtures, there is only one King:
TheRoonBa wrote:
I'm currently watching live coverage of Cape Verde-Senegal in women's volleyball World Championship qualifiers, with Portuguese commentary whilst at the same time cooking a vegetable curry.
Truly a citizen of the world (Mrs. May would not approve).


Apologies for not going several pages deep to dig up the original, but it does give us a chance to open the time capsule as you demonstrated:
mattsanger92 wrote:
If it ain't broke, and all that...

I really don't see the point in changing it. The current 32-team system is pretty much perfect in structure (aside from perhaps giving Oceania a guaranteed place as discussed in another thread). I can see the benefit of allowing a few more teams the chance to qualify, but despite the 'minnow appeal' the World Cup is a tournament where you should feel like you've really earned a place there as one of the elite.

Not saying that a 40-team tournament wouldn't work, but if they really have to expand it (probably won't considering it is just an idea from Platini right now), surely for structure's sake 64 would be a better amount to go for smiley: wink...
So apparently people can change their minds... at least I'm consistent on Oceania. Still think 32 is obviously a perfect mathematical structure and it shouldn't be messed with lightly, but if it brings more opportunities for different nations to get the World Cup experience (and not in a way where they just get to be one-hit wonders) expansion is a good idea. Maybe 64 is more appropriate for the Champions League group stages...

nfm24 wrote:
20 years ago... Kevin Keegan...
I'll tell ya, honestly, I would LOVE IT if you scanned a copy of that World Soccer letter onto here. LOVE IT!

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#7 [url]

Oct 14 16 5:46 PM

I would first have to remember exactly when it was published. The only thing of interest about it was that the flippant suggestion "who wants to see Vanuatu vs Costa Rica," as a rhetorical question with a negative response, had exactly the opposite effect on me (at least), thinking "yes yes, that's exactly what I want to see!"

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#8 [url]

Oct 14 16 5:54 PM

mattsanger92 wrote:
So apparently people can change their minds...
Some of us are much more consistent:
pieter wrote: (2013)

24 was not a good number; 32 with 8 groups of 4 and the two best qualified is the best system; if Blatter wants more teams from CAF and AFC, let us begin with more intercontinetal play-offs; most European teams will not face much problems qualifiyng against African or Asian teams... So they will have to prove on the field they are stronger...

As for Platini: expanding the Euro to 24 teams was not a good idea, 16 is a better number (no best third placed teams, and other nonsense...)

pieter wrote: (2016)

expansion seems a bad idea, following the expansion of the European and Asian cups

I think 32 teams is excellent, they can play more intercontinatal play offs, that can make sense...

anyway not a system with best third placed teams,...they can make groups of five teams if they really think expansion is the future...to raise more money? 
 
Therefore only Piet is qualified to become a football administrator. 

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#9 [url]

Oct 15 16 9:03 AM

The recent edition of the European Championship was one of the most mediocre, especially in the group stage, and in my opinion one of the reasons was the expansion to 24 teams. The level of some of them was very very low, so, from a spectacular point of view, I don't think it's an exciting news.

mattsanger92 wrote:
Been floating around for a while now and starting to become more formalised as a proposal, the World Cup could be going to 40 or 48 teams in the future. Thoughts?

My personal views are yes overall (if only so that Oceania can finally get at least 1 guaranteed place)
If they want to give a place to Oceania, they can do it now, without necessarily expanding the World Cup to 40 or 48 teams.


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#10 [url]

Oct 18 16 4:55 PM

Luca wrote:

The recent edition of the European Championship was one of the most mediocre, especially in the group stage, and in my opinion one of the reasons was the expansion to 24 teams. The level of some of them was very very low, so, from a spectacular point of view, I don't think it's an exciting news.

It might just be my dragon-tinted glasses or the fact that I got to go there myself for a couple of days, but I loved the Euros this summer. It felt very competitive (not many wins by 3+ goals), and IIRC each team was still 'in' the tournament on the last matchday of the groups. I like the neatness that 16 offered, but I can also enjoy this new format.

As for Oceania, of course they can do it now without expansion, just that nothing I've seen so far convinces me they will. It would be an ideal solution to give them a +1 or a +.5 in the 32-team format, but expanding the tournament is the next best thing, offers no fair arguments as to their exclusion.

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#11 [url]

Oct 18 16 9:54 PM

mattsanger92 wrote:
It felt very competitive (not many wins by 3+ goals), and IIRC each team was still 'in' the tournament on the last matchday of the groups.

Aside from some Ukraine-related pedantry, I would just add that nowadays particularly in Europe, often the middling teams make the scoreline look competitive by losing only 1-0 or 2-0 when in reality the game was a one-sided 4-5-1-tastic dull fest.  Germany vs N.Ireland, for example, is not really a competitive game.

You can't blame the lesser team for this, what else are they supposed to do, but football has reached the stage where low-quality teams can match the physicality and organization of the best teams - this is taken to be making it competitive, but they may be light years behind in actual creative football skill.

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#13 [url]

Oct 20 16 7:32 AM

Yes and just in case in future there are many successful independence referenda, there should be contingency plans in place to run with 2^n teams, where n is the number of zeroes Blatter wants to add to his bank balance.

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#14 [url]

Oct 20 16 9:52 PM

On this topic, the following historical perspective from one of the main men might be appropriate:

Ethiopian Herald, 9 Feb 1964
Ato Yidnekatchew Tessema, Secretary-General of the Ethiopian Football Federation and Vice-President of the African Football Confederation yesterday stated his disapproval of Ghana's suggestion that the African nations boycott the 1966 World Cup due to the fact that Africa is granted only one of the 16 finalist positions. In a telegram sent to Ohene Djan, Ghana's Sports Director, Ato Yidnekatchew said, "The World Cup is basically a professional competition. For the amateur African Football Confederation the three places offered in the Olympic finals is already a great step. We must work hard to deserve more places in the World Cup. For the moment let us preserve world football unity by accepting the decision of the legal body."

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#15 [url]

Oct 21 16 6:03 PM

Times have changed. Today I bet the CAF leaders would have a totally different opinion.
I think fear of losing, non-amalgamated teams and exhausted players because of the long season are the main reasons why the group stage of an international tournament is often dull. Adding other 8 or 16 teams whose level isn't excellent might weaken the interest of the public.

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#16 [url]

Oct 21 16 7:02 PM

the interest of the public will increase as the income from TV-rights and sponsoring..
if they really will expand the WC, they can give a wild card in every edition to athe team with most attempts to qualify....first team will be Luxemburg....

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#17 [url]

Oct 21 16 11:47 PM

nfm24 wrote:
Therefore only Piet is qualified to become a football administrator. 
pieter wrote:
if they really will expand the WC, they can give a wild card in every edition to athe team with most attempts to qualify....first team will be Luxemburg....

Once again the Benelux agenda from these corrupt administrators  smiley: laugh

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#19 [url]

Oct 26 16 1:58 PM

This looks to me as a qualifying tournament within a World Cup tournament. In that case I would say let's play 32 teams a qualifying round in 8 groups of 4 as preparation for the final tournament.

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#20 [url]

Oct 26 16 2:23 PM

long time ago some teams played only one match and travelling was much more difficult....
But I agree it is a ridicilous idea, a wild card is far more serious, because some teams will never be able to reach the final round.... 

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