Is World Cup Qualification Fair?

For me the World Cup is the pinnacle of football.  It is where great players become legends, and where the dreams of an entire nation are achieved.  World Cup’s are just special.  Even when the quality of the matches isn’t the highest, you still tune in because you know that it won’t happen again for another four years, so you must appreciate it whilst you can.

As great as the World Cup is, you can’t help but think every time it comes around that some of the teams who are competing don’t really deserve to be there.  However they have come out of a weak continental qualification system and find themselves in a position that could have went to a more deserving team.  So the question that must be asked, is World Cup qualification fair?

For the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil there will be 13 European teams, 5.5 South American teams, 5 African teams, 4.5 Asian teams, 3.5 North American teams and 0.5 Oceanic teams (0.5 depend on inter conference play-off matches).  If you compare this to the top 32 teams according to the FIFA World Rankings there are 20 European teams, 6 South American teams, 3 North American teams, 3 African teams and no Oceanic or Asian teams.  I personally am not a fan of the World Rankings and don’t feel they truly show an accurate picture of the best teams in the world (Switzerland aren’t the 7th best team in the world for instance), however FIFA clearly believe that their calculation formula is correct.  Based on those rankings as they currently stand, seven teams who deserve to be competing at the very top level will not be able to because they play in the most competitive set up (Europe).  Is that fair?  Don’t people want to see the most competitive and the best able teams play in the world’s greatest competition?  The answer is yes, however that is not what will happen in Brazil 2014.

The FIFA World Rankings do however not represent the true best 32 teams in international football.  The biggest example of this is that the highest ranked Asian team is Japan at 44, which would make them as good as Wales, a team that finished 5th in their World Cup qualifying group.  The natural thought is that Japan are much better than Wales and therefore should really be ranked more highly, but in their two most recent games (both friendlies) they lost to both Serbia and Belarus, two European teams that didn’t even come close to qualifying for the World Cup.  Maybe it is harsh on Japan to judge them on friendlies, but other top Asian teams like Australia (who got beat 6-0 by France, a team not guaranteed to make the World Cup) and South Korea (who were recently beaten at home by Croatia, another team not guaranteed to make the World Cup) have both performed as poorly.  When you consider these facts, it makes the ranking seem more accurate than they first appeared.

The one big issue for the Asian teams, as well as teams not from Europe and South America, is that their competitive matches aren’t worth as much as those from the two big continents.  This means that they are naturally at a disadvantage when it comes to the rankings system, and it doesn’t truly represent where they are.  It also has the counter effect of South American teams being over represented at the top of the rankings because of their large number of qualification games (16 this time because of Brazil automatically qualifying but usually 18).  It becomes clearer the issue smaller football continents have in catching up to the big ones when you look at how rankings are calculated for a match, points from a match*importance of match (competitive/friendly)*strength of opposing team*confederation strength.  The first two don’t change (although importance of match hurts Brazil’s ranking due to them automatically qualifying), but the last two are why countries out with the big two struggle to make it to the top of the rankings.  Not only do the matches within their own confederation get discounted but also the opponents that they play in competitive matches (the most lucrative way of making points) aren’t worth as much as those from UEFA or CONMEBOL because they are generally ranked at a lower level.  Essentially if you don’t play in the big two confederations you are going to struggle to set yourself a high World Ranking under the system that FIFA currently runs.

Despite the fact that according to the World Rankings the World Cup won’t showcase the 32 best teams, but rather most of the best teams in the world.  The word that FIFA will use and best describes the situation is parity.  FIFA want every continent to have a number of teams competing in the World Cup, rather than it being dominated by the European and South American teams.  Would it truly be a World Cup if the not every continent had a chance to have teams qualify?  It is a fair point, and parity in these situations is a good thing for two different reasons.  Firstly because it allows countries that would struggle in more competitive qualification campaigns a chance to qualify and secondly because it helps to spread the game to every corner of the world, by selling that World Cup dream.

With parity and the quality of the teams within a confederation being taken into consideration to decide how many places each confederation receives in  the World Cup, it is interesting when you actually take a look at the numbers.  Europe has 13/53 (24.5%), Asia has 4.5/43 (10.5%), Africa has 5/52 (9.6%), North America has 3.5/35 (10%), Oceania has 0.5/11 (4.5%) but the biggest issue is that South America has 5.5/10 (55%).  What makes it worse is that the South American play-off team faces the Asian play-off team, almost certainly a guaranteed 6th place for CONMEBOL members (Uruguay [6th in world] against Jordan [70th in world]).  The issue isn’t that South America doesn’t deserve to have more teams proportionally than Asia or Africa (for instance) in the World Cup, but rather they shouldn’t have so many teams in comparison to Europe (Europe would have 19 if they had the same numbers proportionally as South America).  60% of teams qualifying for the World Cup isn’t parity when the next closest doesn’t even reach a quarter.

It is too easy for certain teams to qualify and therefore they manage to qualify for every tournament despite if they are actually good enough.  Nations such as the USA, Japan and Mexico qualify every tournament even if they don’t really deserve to play in the World Cup.  The worst example of this is Mexico, who despite having a dreadful campaign will still qualify for the World Cup, because they go into a play-off against New Zealand, hardly what can be called as an even match up.  The same can be said about the South American play-off game against their Asian counterpart (the 6th best team in South America is always going to be too good for the 5th best team in Asia).  It is for these uneven reasons that Australia left the OFC and joined the AFC, because they knew that by doing so it was an almost certainty that they would make every single World Cup.  This, in comparison to the European qualification where a couple of slip ups can cost a nation a place at the dance, and is even more prevalent in the African qualification where the greatest competition is found and the highest turnover of nations qualifying from tournament to tournament is found.

The question which was asked at the start of the piece was is the World Cup qualifying fair?  The answer is a resounding no.  The tournament doesn’t represent the best 32 teams in the world; it is too easy for certain nations to qualify and the qualifying system doesn’t show true parity.  It is easy to point out the several issues with the qualifying system, but to be honest the teams that benefit from the unfair nature of qualification aren’t realistically going to challenge for the World Cup, and those who miss out also are unlikely to actually challenge for the trophy.  Only a handful of nations are capable of winning the World Cup; however it isn’t about winning for many nations but rather making it to the dance, and that is where the qualification system is the most unfair.

There is no perfect answer about how many qualifications places each confederation has, but it is fair to say that the current system isn’t correct.  In a perfect situation CONCACAF (N. America) and CONMEBOL (S. America) would merge together, and so would OFC (Oceania) and AFC (Asia).  This would allow for more competitive competition for the America’s and would also solve the problem of the Oceanic confederation requiring a place, even though they are miles behind their counterparts in the other confederations.  FIFA have set a precedent by allowing Australia to move confederations, it is however highly unlikely that they would make such a drastic change (you never know they do some crazy things after all).

Due to that, I think that a fairer and more realistic system would be to have 15 places for Europe, 4 for South America, 2.5 for North America, 0.5 for Oceania, 3.5 for Asia and 6.5 for Africa.  I think by making this slight change, the qualification system becomes much fairer.  UEFA is undoubtedly the confederation which has the largest numbers but also the most depth and it is because of that that they deserve more places.  North America and Asia would both see their quota reduce by one, because currently the quality of the teams in their respective confederations isn’t very strong beyond the first three nations (USA, Mexico & Costa Rica and Japan, South Korea & Australia).  Africa would see their numbers increase by 1.5, because there is stronger depth in the CAF confederation than in the AFC or CONCACAF.  The biggest (or most notable) change is that South America has decreased to 4 (down from 6), this isn’t a quality issue because almost every South American team could compete at the World Cup, but rather to realign the lack of parity that South America receives.  It would still leave South America with the highest percentage of entrants, but in terms of quality CONMEBOL is very strong.  Oceania would stay the same because it is easily the weakest confederation and doesn’t really deserve to have a guaranteed place (which would almost always go to New Zealand).

The other alternative would be to increase the number of teams in the World Cup from 32 to 64.  FIFA have been known in the past to increase the size of the tournament (last time in 1998 [from 24 to 32]), and it wouldn’t surprise me if FIFA did exactly this in the future.  However I personally don’t believe it should happen, because it would lower the quality of the competition and also make it too long.  After all the World Cup already lasts a long time (32 days for Brazil 2014) and requires a large amount of stadiums to hold, which would of course limit the countries that could hold the event even further.

When it comes down to qualifying for the World Cup, every nation which does qualify gets a special feeling, and every nation which fails to qualify feels a huge deal of disappointment.  The World Cup is a special competition, and it is the greatest sporting competition in the world.  The qualification system may not be entirely fair, but it isn’t too far off of being so, and when you are dealing with an organisation such as FIFA (an organisation that gave a summer competition to a country that is too hot in the summer to host said competition) not too far off isn’t too bad.

So leave a comment on what you think about the fairness of the World Cup qualification.  Do you think FIFA have gotten it right?  Are you more of a fan of my system?  Or do you not like either?  Also Like bm23reviews on Facebook and follow bm23reviews on Twitter both can be found at the top right hand side of the post.  Thanks for reading.

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Author: bm23reviews

I watch TV and sports then write stuff.....that's about it.

47 thoughts on “Is World Cup Qualification Fair?”

  1. Always a tricky question to answer mate. I’ve had this conversation many many times. I think I agree with your conclusion. We need teams from every continent if we want to keep that magic world cup feeling, but maybe as you suggested a wee re -shuffle especially with South America. Also 64 teams would really be too much I think, but I won’t put it past FIFA to implement it in the future.

    Good article mate, keep up the good work! (See if you don’t criticize Jose or Chelsea I actually leave positive comments 😛 )

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    1. I also wouldn’t put it past FIFA to increase the tournament to 64, because they only care about money in the end.

      Seeing as you are missing my fair assessments of both Mourinho and Chelsea, maybe I’ll write something to feed your appetite.

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  2. Thought about this a few times now…the fairest and most impractical way of doing this is for each and every nation to play each and every other nation on a home and away basis. There are about 200 nations competing in the world cup. A game every weekend (with club football restricted to mid week matches) would see the ‘tournament’ take about two years (and most clubs being very unhappy). That would be a real world champion 🙂

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  3. As an Australian, having watched our most recent qualifying campaign for next year’s World Cup, I can tell you that guaranteeing that we automatically qualify in the top 2 places of our group is getting harder. The so called Asian minnows are getting better every time we play them and are well capable of causing big upsets in the future. What people who don’t follow the Asian qualifying campaign realise is, the amount of travel that is involved, especially if Asian countries get grouped with Australia. It’s a good 9+ hour flight to play down here, adjust to the climate/time difference, and on the other side, Australia had to travel to the main continent four times in the first and second group phases. No other countries in any confederations have this complication. So it’s hardly a guarantee that we will qualify every time for the world’s biggest event when you take that into account.
    I agree with you that the amount of places awarded to South America is too much, when you consider how many more countries there are in all of Asia in comparison. 4.5 spots for more than 40 countries. An ideal solution would be to merge the Asian and Oceania confederations, so at least that part of the world is on a level playing field.

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    1. I understand that the Asian qualification is tough on the traveling, especially for Australia, but it is a better situation than at best getting a play-off place against a North American team (and even worse it used to be a South American team). I’m sure as an Australian you know that you made 2 WC in the OFC and have made 2/2 in the AFC, so it is better.

      I agree that teams in Asia are improving, and 40 years ago I doubt people would have thought the African teams would have been as good as they are now, but as things stand it is too easy for the Asian teams to qualify, and you end up getting nations like Jordan having a chance of making the World Cup when they aren’t good enough to be there (I understand it probably should have been Uzbekistan and I also doubt they will beat Mexico, but you never know the way Mexico are playing).

      I think the perfect situation would be for the OFC and AFC to combine and have the Oceanic teams play each other in the first round with 2 qualifying and the Asian teams playing each other in the second round with 8 qualifying.

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  4. New Zealand will never get better because we never get the opportunity to do so. Being a rugby-mad country, even though football is the most participated sport – we never get any funding or coverage. If FIFA wanted a fair ‘world’ cup they would allow 1 spot for Oceania so that all paying confederations are represented. Then that would encourage more opposition to want to play against us. Everyone always talks about how crap Oceania is – but it also has the longest and hardest qualifying route out of everyone. And not deserving to be there…. ? Only unbeaten team at the last world cup mate, didn’t lose a game even against the then-holders Italy. Cheers.

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    1. The New Zealand situation is very similar to the situation that the USA is currently going through, in regards to it is a highly participated sport but struggles to get further recognition from the more traditional sports. The biggest difference is that the USA is a huge mainly untapped market and a country that if given a World Cup could really take it to the next level. However FIFA thought it would be a better idea to give it to Qatar a country with just over 1 million people. I have sympathies for people who follow football in markets where it is not the major sport (like yourself) but FIFA are blinded by their own greed to ever truly help these nations.

      I agree it would be fairer if Oceania got a definitive spot, but you yourself know that currently in the OFC the only nation truly capable of qualifying is New Zealand, and it wouldn’t be fair to basically guarantee one country’s participation every World Cup. I still think the fairest way would be to combine the OFC and AFC for World Cup qualification.

      I’m sure you could also agree that New Zealand also wouldn’t be able to qualify out of any of the other qualification system other than maybe the Asian one, so maybe they should follow the route of Australia if you want to receive more continued success in qualifying for the World Cup.

      In regards to the not deserving to be there thing, I don’t think I said that about New Zealand, because after all you can only beat what is in front of you, but there are many teams that have already missed out on the World Cup which are much better than New Zealand, yet New Zealand could still make it.

      I also wouldn’t brag about being the only unbeaten team at the last World Cup, because although it is a neat stat (I hear it a lot about Scotland in 1974) you didn’t make it through the group stages, and personally I’d rather lose a game and make it to the last 16 than go unbeaten and not. Plus Italy were rank rotten in the last World Cup (as they also were in 2006 but somehow won it) so it’s not as impressive as it sounds, although still a nice feat.

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    2. Zane: Thank you!!! Best Comment mate! I am Australian, but am a Passionate Oceania fan! Many of you call Soccer ‘The World Game”, please, how Inclusive is it?? The World Game hey, but let Oceania have the hardest, most gruelling path to Qualification, to then not make it to the dance!

      So much for Fifa’s Development and Fair Play Policy! If you arrogant Euro and South American morons would have some common sense for a sec right. Oceania get 1.0 (they deserve 1.5 min) but lets use 1.0 slots as eg. So what if New Zealand gets in all the time, at least down the track, the All Whites will be a decent adversary to play against.

      Finally, just so you inclusive Euro / South Americans understand, FIFA are bullshit artists! They’re not the ones Developing Soccer in Oceania, OFC nations are!!! So Oceania isn’t shit!! FIFA is just dirty and pathetically corrupt! Oh and lets not forget NZ did better THAN ITALY!!!!! in 2010!

      OCEANIA DESERVES 1.5 WC Slots! F&%C any of you who think otherwise

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      1. I think you could argue that Oceania deserves 1 place, but 1.5? Seriously? Come on man. The only way you could even argue that Oceania should get bumped up to 1 place on its own is if Australia moved back to the confederation.

        I don’t know why the European’s and South American’s are getting so much abuse, it isn’t their fault that FIFA is corrupt. In fact FIFA only seems interested in developing under performing markets like Asia, rather than giving the traditional footballing nations a chance to hold the tournament (with the stupid after a continent holds the competition, a team from that continent can’t hold it for the next two competitions, which is clearly been put in place to disadvantage Europe). FIFA only care about making themselves more money, so of course they don’t care about Oceania, because there aren’t hundreds of millions of people living there.

        Also who cares if anyone did better than Italy, they were shit and should never have won the World Cup in 2006.

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      2. I dont think the OFC deserve 1.5 slots but def 1 though but as BM said that will only happen if Australia come back to the OFC and even then the All Whites wont beat the Socceroos, because while the All Whites have been lagging and floundering in the OFC facing teams like Fiji, Tahiti, Solomon Is and New Caledonia, Australia have been developing their game playing some pretty good international teams like, Japan and Korea on a constant basis and are bringing their game up.. As a Kiwi (this is hard to say lol) but i like watching the Socceroos play and (this is even harder to say lol) i will cheer them on when they are playing anyone but NZ.. i actually cant remember when the All Whites and the Socceroos last played against each other, if they started up that rivalry again like the All Blacks have with the Wallabies in rugby, it would only be a good thing, but i feel Australia Football see New Zealand Football as below them and wont play us (that is just my opinion on that)

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  5. I agree New Zealand should follow Australia and move to AFC, it is the only way we can get better and truly challenge for the world cup spot on offer.. it would take a few years to get better but i think it would work. A team only gets better playing better opposition all the time.. What competition do we have in the OFC none whatsoever.. Oh for the record im embarrassed that some people still use the whole “we went undefeated at the last WC” line.. so what, we didnt win any games either.. it is a crap stat and one we shouldnt throw around all the time.. I hope as a true Kiwi that we only lose by one or two goals with an away goal thrown in for excitement (im also a realist and dont expect NZ to beat Mexico in Mexico) and then win at home without conceding a goal (a very possible result) and we make it to the WC.. It would be nice to have a guaranteed spot for the OFC at the WC but as i said im a realist and that wont happen.. we are too small and there is no money to be made for FIFA in doing that…

    What could be an interesting thing to do is that FIFA offer every confederation a guaranteed spot at the world cup plus the winners of the previous world cup are guaranteed entry(host nation still guaranteed a spot).. for example the winners of the euros not only win the euros but win a spot at the world cup guaranteed..other confederations could set up a similar competition to the euros and the winners of that are given an automatic entry into the WC and then the normal qualification procedure follows those competitions….. i hope that makes some sense

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    1. I really do think that if New Zealand have ambitions of playing in the World Cup regularly then a move to the AFC is a must. I also agree with your point that a team can only improve if they are playing against a higher quality of opposition, and for New Zealand playing against better sides would improve the profile of the sport in the country.

      The major problem with your idea of qualifying through winning confederation competitions is that the world rankings are mainly based on competitive results (because they are worth more) and I’m not too sure that these teams would want to give up the ranking points when they would more than likely be able to qualify without a problem.

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  6. Couple of comments:

    1) You keep using the number 5.5 for South America. This is hardly fair – it’s only 5.5 because Brazil are the hosts, and if Brazil weren’t the hosts it’d be 4.5. This means the ratio of guaranteed South American teams to those who miss out is 40%, more than Europe, sure, but when you consider Europe is topped up by a plethora of small countries such as Liechtenstein, Malta, San Marino, Luxembourg and the Faroe Islands, and South America has 10 serious footballing nations (with the likes of Guyana, on the South American mainland, having to play in the CONCACAF), it’s not really that unfair.

    2) The Mexico vs New Zealand example is a one-off, unfortunate one. Mexico should have easily qualified for the world cup, along with the USA. This leaves 2 places for the rest of the teams. One of Costa Rica and Honduras usually gets the third one, leaving the fourth available to the other, and any number of teams (Panama were 3 minutes away from getting it this time, Trinidad & Tobago 2006, Jamaica 1998). New Zealand would have fared (excuse the tense, but the tie is dead in the water) much better had they got Panama, Honduras, or even Costa Rica in the play-off.

    3) I agree that Asia is possibly slightly over-represented, having 4.5 spots when only Japan, South Korea and Australia are ever serious contenders (South Korea & Japan both qualified for knockout football in 2002 & 2010, and Australia in 2006) does seem like overkill. However, this is because FIFA have realised Asia is the target for further growth in football, and for me, having one or two extra places as an incentive for getting to the World Cup in the continent where football is still developing, and has the capacity to do so, more than anywhere else, seems fine. Yes, the World Cup may only have 27-28 teams worthy of being there (one can argue 2 Asian places, the CONCACAF/OFC one, and maybe one of the African ones are undeserved), but I don’t mind dangling the carrot to encourage football growth in atypical footballing countries.

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    1. You aren’t wrong in saying that South America does get an extra place because of Brazil hosting, but only 3.5 places should be up for grabs then for South American teams. Plus it is technically a half but they play the 5th best team in Asia, so it isn’t in reality. I also agree that the quality overall is higher, but that doesn’t mean they deserve such a vastly disproportionate amount.

      Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras are all better than New Zealand, but I agree that obviously they would have a better chance against them than against Mexico. The bigger issue for me is that Mexico can make such a mess of the qualification campaign to the extent that they really don’t deserve to be there, yet get there because their qualification system is so very easy.

      The World Cup isn’t about giving teams a chance that don’t deserve to be there, it is about the best nations in the world playing for the greatest prize in football. Should the tournament really be about football growth? I don’t think so, and if that is where football is going then Europe and South America will be concerned.

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  7. Hey. Nice article.

    I have questions/comments on a sort of ‘side issue’ on this. What about the ‘changing-of-continent’ for some countries ? Why has Australia been allowed to do that ? Do you think that was fair ? What are the criteria on this ?

    What if, in the near future, for example Turkey and/or Israel want to move to the Asian continental system, so that they would have a better qualifying chance ? Would they likely be accepted ?

    I think that there should be a ‘full stop’ right away, regarding ‘continent change’ No more of it. Do you agree ?

    Cheers,

    Jem

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    1. Hi and thanks

      I don’t know why Australia were allowed to change over but I imagine that all the AFC associations agreed to it because Australia will bring more money into the confederation. It was fair to a sense because Australia struggled to qualify for years in what was a very hard Oceanic play-off system, when they would inevitably come up against a much better team.

      It is unlikely to happen because the money involved in UEFA is far superior to the AFC. Plus it isn’t just the international side that must be considered but also the club side, and especially the Turkish clubs would not want to leave the UEFA competitions.

      The continent change thing is an odd one because it actually doesn’t happen very often at all and Australia was a very rare case. I personally would much rather see less confederations, but I doubt it is realistic because it makes too much sense and FIFA doesn’t do things that make sense.

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      1. Thanks. I guess you are right about Turkey. Because of Turkey’s success in European club cups and the good amount of money and fame gotten from them, Turkey wouldn’t want to shift to Asian qualifying. But, countries like Georgia and Azerbaijan (neither of which achieves much success in Euro club cups), might want to shift to Asian qualifying and I think they would have a decent chance in qualifying from there.

        Also, who is to say ‘no’ to New Zealand if they want to shift to Asian qualifying too ? After all, Australia got accepted; so why refuse NZ ?

        Cheers,

        Jem

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      2. Its about the money they receive from being a part of uefa, so even though a country like georgia would have a much better chance of making a world cup in the afc, financially it doesn’t make sense because they receive more money from uefa than they would from the afc. Thats why kazakhstan switched recently and Uzbekistan are talking about doing the same (both being ex soviet states).

        I think new Zealand will probably join the afc soon as well if they have any ambition.

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  8. Those twelve European teams (plus the World Champions Spain) are there because they deserve it. Europe is by far the strongest/toughest continent in football.

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  9. Yeah! We (southamericans) will love to have a qualification groups against countries such as: Faroe Islands; Luxembourg; San Marino (this last one scored their 1st goal in their history this year); etc. Any big european team will struggle to deal with all southamerican teams and qualification system. Also, think about a worldcup leaving out countries like: Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay on behalf of mighty teams such as: Thailand; Mozambique; Pakistan; etc…

    Nevertheless, your point is valid whilst taking about “fairness”, but “footbally” wise is just stupid.

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    1. Although Europe is made up with about 10 diddy teams, teams like France/Ukraine or Portugal/Sweden miss out because the qualification system is so difficult.

      If we were talking about football wise then we would have almost no teams from outside Europe and South America (maybe five) because that is where the quality footballing nations are from, however you have to strike up some sort of balance to represent the smaller nations and give them a chance and incentive to improve, but that shouldn’t be at the expense of nations which deserve to be there more, which is happening currently. It is hard because there is no correct answer, somebody is always going to be annoyed about not having enough places.

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  10. Dude honestly im African and looking at dis fifa are almost right for me ofc should get 1 automatic place at world cups (cos its a world cup) and have u forgottn that TAHITI NOT NEW ZEALAND ARE OFC CHAMPS AND WHERE IN BRAZIL THIS YEAR. That said south america shud have an extra spot also cos they have quality, and asia 4 and N.america 3 besides with that mexico wudnt hav qualified

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    1. I do recall Tahiti playing in the Confederations Cup, and I also recall them getting totally outplayed in the three games they played. Part timers shouldn’t be playing in the biggest competition in the world, and if New Zealand don’t make it that is what you would get if you give Oceania a spot to themselves.

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  11. And by the way im in a good mood because NIGERIA IS GOING TO BRAZIL YES YES YES YES YES
    SO FOR ME AFRICA,5 AND EUROPE,13 REMAIN THE SAME, SOUTH AMERICA=5 OCEANIA=1 N.AMERICA,3 ASIA,4 NO INTERCONTINENTAL PLAYOFFS AND 1 SPOT FOR THE HOST NATION AND I FEEL AUSTRALIA SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN THE 2022 BID AS ITS GREAT FOR FOOTBALL THERE

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    1. Congrats on your qualification, and you would basically keep the system the way it is but eliminate cross confederation play-offs, which is fair enough although I still think five is too many for South America.

      I personally would have given the 2022 World Cup to the USA because football is set for an explosion of popularity over there and a World Cup is all it would take to set it into over drive. I also agree that Australia would have been a great World Cup host and would have been my second choice, because nobody throws a tourny like the Australian’s. The country I definitely wouldn’t have given a major international event to would have been Qatar, but then again maybe if they gave me some money I would change my mind too.

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      1. I agree with you on Qatar. But I also think that ,ideally, Russia shouldn’t have gotten World Cup hostness either. There is a lot of racism there. Also, countries with hooliganism problem (such as Turkey, Greece, Serbia) shouldn’t be chosen as hosts until they solve this problem, at least to a satisfactory degree.

        But, of course, we all know that not many people in high places in football care about such stuff !

        Cheers,

        Jem

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      2. The 2018 world cup should really have went to england, they havent had it since 66 and every other big nation has had it at least once (Germany and Mexico twice). I at least can understand why they gave it to Russia (despite the social problems) whereas I dont understand qatar getting it at all.

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  12. After watching the farcical game that was Mexico v All Whites (NZL), farcical in the sense that a team ranked 24th in the world should not be playing a side ranked close to 80 for a place in the finals (and i am a Kiwi, who supports all teams Kiwi no matter what, but this was just stupid).. but anyway after watching that game NZFF needs to apply to FIFA to apply to move to the AFC sooner rather than later oh and they need to dump Ricky Herbert as coach, what fool plays a 3-4-3 formation against a side like Mexico and does nothing but defend, defend and defend.. oh a question on that.. if they do dump Herbert, who do you think would be a good replacement for a team like the All Whites

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    1. I think that the best thing that New Zealand could do is move to the AFC, because look how it has helped Australia’s World Cup qualification hopes (2/2 qualifications). Plus it will allow for Australia and New Zealand to renew their rivalry (dependent on the draw of course)

      I don’t really know enough about New Zealand football to truly comment on their coach, however from the outside looking in you could really do with trying to get a more established coach. I know this isn’t easy because of where New Zealand is, but the best example I can use is Scotland who went through a number of cheap option coaches and paid the consequences for it, until they hired Strachan and almost instantly the team began to turn results around. If New Zealand have ambition, then they should pay for a quality coach who can help develop the squad and national identity, plus with technological advances he doesn’t necessarily have to live in New Zealand.

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      1. ” If New Zealand have ambition, then they should pay for a quality coach who can help develop the squad and national identity, plus with technological advances he doesn’t necessarily have to live in New Zealand”

        couldnt agree more with this..

        but i was thinking someone like a Michael Laudrup would be good, he is up and coming and look what he has done with Swansea….

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      2. I’m pretty sure Laudrup wouldn’t be interested, but somebody along that line or probably more preferably someone who will not be inclined to try and use the job as a stepping stone and knows the international game is what New Zealand should be looking for.

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  13. Germany,France,Spain,Italy,Argentina and Holland are in the world cup 2014

    Fair or not … those are the only teams I want to watch aside from the hosts Brazil

    I don’t want fucking Jordan in the world cup… I say feed them to the dogs (Suarez) and if they survive than they deserve to be in the world cup … But its not like Uruguay will have it easy just because they qualified by beating a weak team like Jordan … in fact I think Uruguay will fly out of the world cup very quickly just like teams like US and Mexico

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  14. Look if you want to know something that’s true is that no conference is rated fair. Europe gets too high of rating considering their depth of challenge in groups. Look at Israel, Moldova, and even Andorra. Are they really better than mexico, costa rica, usa, peru, or even african nations. such as south africa, ivory coast etc. Rankings are corrupt and you can’t say that Uefa is too good because they aren’t look at Commebol, a real conference where every could get eliminated and/or win the world cup possibly. Concacaf have teams that could qualify in europe, african, and commebol confederations as well. Quit underrating too many teams, some europeans teams even have some of the easiest groups to qualify in such as the swiss and england

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    1. Yeah, if you think that a CONCACAF team could qualify through most of the UEFA groups then you are pretty deluded. Every team in the CONMEBOL could possibly win the World Cup? Dude come on, we all know that is a ridiculous claim. When I talk about European teams missing out even though they are better than most of the non European/South American, I unsurprisingly am not talking about Andorra’s but rather Sweden’s and Ukraine’s. Yes there are a lot of diddy teams in the European qualification, but either of the two teams I mentioned would walk through any of the other qualification systems (South America excluded). I’m not under rating the other conferences, the simple fact is that there are two excellent conferences and then there are four really weak conferences.

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  15. Mexico spancked africa’s finest (ivory coast) 4-1. They can’t even handle concacaf teams and watch usa and costa rica do well in the torunament

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    1. I’m sure I’ll watch USA and Costa Rica go out at the group stage, and Mexico won’t do much better but due to their easy group will probably get through the first stage and then get spanked in the knockout round because they are a very poor side.

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  16. I think the best way to get close to the best 32 teams would be to introduce more play-offs between teams from different continents. For example, if there are ten qualifying groups in Europe, why not make it that the ten teams that finish 1st automatically qualify, and the ten 2nd place teams play teams from other continents (rather than each other). Three could play teams from Africa, three from Asia and so on.

    That way, anything from 10 to 20 teams could make it from Europe, and nobody could argue whether they deserved to make it or not.

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    1. I really like that idea because it would allow for more teams from a continent which deserves it, and this would happen organically. Based on this you would no longer see teams make it through just because they have an easy qualification campaign. I really like the idea but I can’t see it ever being put in place, sad but that’s just how it is.

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