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As far as we're concerned, the main difference between 2014 WCQ and 2010 WCQ is this:

Last time we played a 2-game series against one minnow.

This time we play a 6-game round-robin against three minnows, and need to be better than them all.

This time can only be better for us, as it gives us more games to get rolling before we hit the semi-final.

Yeah, and the only way Canada gets better is playing as much as possible.

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This new format is awesome come to think of it...

Guys lets be serious Guatemala should be the least of our worries, Im not saying they should be overlooked but if we can't beat them in a home and home we don't deserve to be in the World Cup... the USA goes into these countries and gets results and they are a World Cup team.

We have spent our past two matches having close matches with two European sides who have qualified for the World Cup in the past 5 years on the road with sides that have pushed our depth. We are expecting a competitive match vs. the USA in June so lets raise our expectations a bit now.. I doubt any of this group are intimidated by Guatemala.

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This format solves nothing. Its not better for a side like Canada because it still means that you could play 2-4 games over span of 4 weeks and already be eliminated already. You need to play international matches to get better as national side and no, friendlies dont count and dont fully prepare you.

It looks the whining from the americans paid off for them. So let me get this straight:

a)we had a system that sides like Canada and Jamaica didn't like,

b)a new one was proposed that addressed those problem,

c) the americans complained because they cant pad their coffers with ticket sales to Mexican fans,

d) a watered down approach was introduced with an 8 team final round,

e) Americans still didn't like

f) now we are back to exactly what we had before

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This new format is awesome come to think of it...

But how different is it than before? We have regressed big time as national side as a result ( Yes, I know there are other factors) of this format. We have not been able to built support or moment for WCQ because our qualifying campaign was too short due to the fact that we were all but mathematically eliminated by September. Playing important international matches has immense value for team building and individual improvement that can be carried forward from one world cup cycle to the next. You have guy like Atiba who has been in the program for 10 years but how much experience from important matches has he gained over that span? he might have played in 2-3 senior team matches that really count for something. Dont say the Gold Cup because we know that in this region, its WCQ that counts. The other sides dont take the GC seriously and treat like a friendly.

So how do you persuade a player with two passports to play for Canada when, if he has a European country passport, he will play half a dozen to a dozen important international matches in any given year whereas in Canada he might play four important games every fourth year? so now we play more games. But against minnows.

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People are thinking this format is awesome because we'll give the likes of Antigua and Barbados a good beating???

What exactly do you get from those games? And unless a disaster happens, we'll get back to the same point we were in 2008, 2004, 2000....in semis that includes 3 group of 4. Yes, thanks CONCACAF.

Apart from giving the little minnows more games (which I'm all for) and the chance to see games between theUS and Mexico, there's nothing to be excited about.

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I'm not overly opposed to that, Canada needs to be pushed, or we will never get out of the hex.

Canada has no chance of making a World Cup until we can win a group when Guatemala is in it. That's a disgusting situation when we are afraid of Guatemala cause if that's so we shouldn't even send a team. It's pathetic.

I see this as a good chance to put heavy emphasis on early stages of the tourney, and more CONCACAF Friendlies. I don't want Canada to be handed berth's into competitions where they will be demolished because they qualified by beating Grenada or some other country the size of Kitchener. Lets get some balls here and start playing to our potential.

I totally disagree this. I believe that it misses the point and crux of the argument that was brought forward by sides like Jamaica and Canada. Its not about wanting or needing to get a push. One needs to play important games to get better as national side. The current system is holding us back and hindering the growth and following of the MNT. Do you realized that we have been eliminated from WCQ (every time for that past 11 years) before the rest of world even starts thinking about WCQ? Even supporters in San Marino or Luxembourg get to enjoy WCQ for about two years.

BTW we lost to Guatemala at home 2004. In a short two legged affair, a side like them is good enough to enough shock even the mexicans and american. It doesn't mean they are better than the Yanks or the Mexicans.

A format that ensures more games are played was IMO critical for this cycle. Not because I thought that we would have great chance for 2014 but rather that i believe that we will really have great shot in 2018. And, that that playing experience for players like Nicholas Lindsay would have been extremely valuable in 2011 for 2016.

Edited by Free kick
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People are thinking this format is awesome because we'll give the likes of Antigua and Barbados a good beating???

What exactly do you get from those games? And unless a disaster happens, we'll get back to the same point we were in 2008, 2004, 2000....in semis that includes 3 group of 4. Yes, thanks CONCACAF.

Apart from giving the little minnows more games (which I'm all for) and the chance to see games between theUS and Mexico, there's nothing to be excited about.

Totally agree. I didn't even bother going to the St Vincent and Grenadine matches. Do people not realise that these are tiny island countries with populations akin to many small towns in canada? Realistically, they cannot be competitive. What fun can one derive from beating opponents who is such huge underdogs.

Edited by Free kick
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Playing Minnows is'nt really good for us other than boosting our fifa rankings and cap tieing players. I don't really think this gives us much more, we need competitive games and we need games at least vs teams that will create more of a fan following, and playing minnows is'nt that. Playing minnows and having to run up the score to assure qualifying may actually hurt us as a team vs stronger opponents.

They need to find a way to expand the 2nd group phase at least if not both the 2nd phase and the last phase therefore giving more games and at the same time maximizing the chances of the most deserving teams qualifying. I'm happy that the minnows get more of a run out, but the mid level teams in our range are still realistically in a ****ty spot and more of a chance to get knocked out before meaningfull games. I'm not saying that we should'nt play tough games and we should beat the teams around and above us, I just want meaningfull games not more games vs minnows.

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Playing Minnows is'nt really good for us other than boosting our fifa rankings and cap tieing players. I don't really think this gives us much more, we need competitive games and we need games at least vs teams that will create more of a fan following, and playing minnows is'nt that. Playing minnows and having to run up the score to assure qualifying may actually hurt us as a team vs stronger opponents.

They need to find a way to expand the 2nd group phase at least if not both the 2nd phase and the last phase therefore giving more games and at the same time maximizing the chances of the most deserving teams qualifying. I'm happy that the minnows get more of a run out, but the mid level teams in our range are still realistically in a ****ty spot and more of a chance to get knocked out before meaningfull games. I'm not saying that we should'nt play tough games and we should beat the teams around and above us, I just want meaningfull games not more games vs minnows.

Even then, we need to play minnows in friendlies before the draw. WCQ games against minnows means almost nothing on our ranking because the only one that matters will be in approx. 4 years after we played those games.

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Playing Minnows is'nt really good for us other than boosting our fifa rankings and cap tieing players. I don't really think this gives us much more, we need competitive games and we need games at least vs teams that will create more of a fan following, and playing minnows is'nt that. Playing minnows and having to run up the score to assure qualifying may actually hurt us as a team vs stronger opponents.

They need to find a way to expand the 2nd group phase at least if not both the 2nd phase and the last phase therefore giving more games and at the same time maximizing the chances of the most deserving teams qualifying. I'm happy that the minnows get more of a run out, but the mid level teams in our range are still realistically in a ****ty spot and more of a chance to get knocked out before meaningfull games. I'm not saying that we should'nt play tough games and we should beat the teams around and above us, I just want meaningfull games not more games vs minnows.

I can see both sides of the argument. I think we are all divided because we just want Canada to qualify for a world cup finaly! If nothing else playing the minnows may not only gets the ranking points. It also will finally give teams like us a chance to face these bloody carribean teams that are ranked higher than us just because they play in the Carribean cup wich counts for a lot of ranking points. We can expose them for what they are. In other words, this added pgroup stage will give a us way of getting some points back because we have no sub regional tournament to play in (like the carribean and central americas do).

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I can see both sides of the argument. I think we are all divided because we just want Canada to qualify for a world cup finaly! If nothing else playing the minnows may not only gets the ranking points. It also will finally give teams like us a chance to face these bloody carribean teams that are ranked higher than us just because they play in the Carribean cup wich counts for a lot of ranking points. We can expose them for what they are. In other words, this added pgroup stage will give a us way of getting some points back because we have no sub regional tournament to play in (like the carribean and central americas do).

Nothing is gained by playing the minnows. And ranking points are just that, ranking points. As Villius pointed, the current system hurts the mid level sides like Canada, Jamaica, El Salvador and Guatemala because several of these sides are going to be victims of the draw, poor preparation or going with an inexperienced team. As a result, they will have played something like of third or a quarter of the matches and the most important way you improve is by playing matches against opponents with some sort of realistic chance or aspiration. End result is that the cream of the crop in the region get better from WCQ cycle to the next WCQ cycle at the expense of the mid tier who falls further and further back .

If you want more proof look no further than that what happened to Canada since 1997. Hard to argue that we had in each cycle better and better talent on paper and yet the results in the standings were the same . That 1997 team that we had in hex was very easily the worst that I have ever seen in my lifetime of following the MNT, so why was it in the hex ? well, we had the extreme fortune of getting placed in super mickey mouse semi final group. The 2001 team was better than 1997 but poor performance (getting eliminated at the unprecedented semifinal stage) has had lingering effects right up until the present. As i said, the current system lets the rich get richer, allows the poor remain poor but with a roll of the dice chance, and the middle class disappears.

Edited by Free kick
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I can see both sides of the argument. I think we are all divided because we just want Canada to qualify for a world cup finaly! If nothing else playing the minnows may not only gets the ranking points. It also will finally give teams like us a chance to face these bloody carribean teams that are ranked higher than us just because they play in the Carribean cup wich counts for a lot of ranking points. We can expose them for what they are. In other words, this added pgroup stage will give a us way of getting some points back because we have no sub regional tournament to play in (like the carribean and central americas do).

The point we'll get by beating those teams won't count too much in our ranking because the draw is before the WCQ starts. The points will get will be good but their value will go down before the next qualification process starts in 2015-2016.

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I realize its the same format when it counts but the thing I like is that we'll have more matches to play in the build up and more time together as a team and a chance to build confidence. When we go into that semi-final round we'll be much better off than in previous years which is the major difference here. I doubt they will keep this format for 2018.

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Here what would be better:

Top 24 CONCACAF teams in 6 groups of 4 (6 games)

Top 2 teams advances and are placed in 2 group of 6 (10 games), winners gets a WC spot.

Position 2A vs 3B (2 games)

Position 2B vs 3A

Winners of those games meet for the remaining spot and the looser gets the .5

I think this would be possible to do with the FIFA calendar.

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I realize its the same format when it counts but the thing I like is that we'll have more matches to play in the build up and more time together as a team and a chance to build confidence. When we go into that semi-final round we'll be much better off than in previous years which is the major difference here. I doubt they will keep this format for 2018.

But there's a 7 month gap between the 1st round and the SF round, we'll lose alot of the momentum by the time the next round starts.

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But there's a 7 month gap between the 1st round and the SF round, we'll lose alot of the momentum by the time the next round starts.

Still its nice to get those matches in... do you think the CSA would arrange 6 matches otherwise? Nope.. kind of gives them no choice but to play prep matches which is sad to say.

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Well, last time around we played friendlies in most of the FIFA dates prior to the start of WCQ (CR and SA in 2007, Martinique/Estonia/Brazil and Panama in 2008). Would it really change something to our prep playing 6 games against minnows?

I have no problem playing a weak team once in a while but 6 games is way too much and there's a limit to what you can get from those games.

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Not only is there a limit of what you can get from playing minnows, it can actually be a negative because your weaknesses are not being exposed and many times the strategy you need to beat a poor side is much different vs the better sides. Cliff notes, constantly playing minnows creates bad habits. Of course confidence helps, but at what cost?

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This won't be radical to most of us, but it would be a novel idea to the CSA. When faced with that 7 month gap before the next phase of the WCQ, the CSA needs to schedule some friendlies. And they should be against teams like Greece and Belarus who will challenge us. Playing the minnows will help, but then games like Greece will allow the team the chance to fix the flaws before facing the likes of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama.

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I concur with those who think this format stinks, for the reasons already well-covered. The only positive out of it is more opportunities to cap more players, which can't be underestimated due to the number of frickin' defections we have suffered from over the years. Otherwise, it stinks as bad as an un-washed 74 year-old leather jacket that's had an elderly male yak piss all over it.

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