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CONCACAF to overhaul ‘archaic’ World Cup qualifying format

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16 hours ago, One American said:

I can see a 12-team, 2 group final round. But a full-out UEFA system would suck. It sucks for UEFA.  And going to the World Cup shouldn't be earned by how badly you beat up on Dominica. 

A reasonable rotation would go Gold Cup, Copa, WCQ, WC. 

Dominica wouldn't be in a final 12.  A final 12 would be equivalent to the third round we currently have.. Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, ES, Jamaica, T&T, Canada, Haiti and Cuba would be the most likely participants but you could have teams like St. V&G, Guyana, Grenada, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Belize, Curacao, Nicaragua etc. challenging for a spot once in a while. 

Get it down to 12 teams in 2 groups by September 2020 and just run on the same schedule as UEFA.  Top team in each group qualifies for the World Cup.  2nd place teams play a playoff, winner qualifies directly, loser has to play for the .5 spot. 

 

 

Edited by Keegan

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Playoffs are always fun, and that 1/2 spot is of course the proverbial wild card isn't it?

Can't see how Mexico and USA have anything to complain about with a Twin Hex.  They are for the foreseeable future going to be seeded 1-2 in CONCACRAP so Twin Hex wouldn't hurt their chances of qualifying for the Finals. Top two have to be seeded into separate Hexs of course.  

And it's not as though a Twin Hex would demand anything more from teams in the way of fixture numbers, unless of course they finish as runner up.  And if that's the case you should count your lucky stars that there is a playoff.

I like it.  Its a reasonable expansion of qualifying which doesn't overly diminish the merit of qualifying.  I would say it recognizes CONCACRAP's reality (2 regional powers) without prejudicing the 2nd tier teams chances of qualifying while expanding the number of teams which progress to the later rounds of qualifying.  Win-win-win.

Aside from a somewhat "watered down" quality in each Hex (for the favourates anyway) I don't see a down side.  All for the greater good.

Edited by Cheeta

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3 hours ago, Keegan said:

Dominica wouldn't be in a final 12.  A final 12 would be equivalent to the third round we currently have.. Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, ES, Jamaica, T&T, Canada, Haiti and Cuba would be the most likely participants but you could have teams like St. V&G, Guyana, Grenada, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Belize, Curacao, Nicaragua etc. challenging for a spot once in a while. 

Get it down to 12 teams in 2 groups by September 2020 and just run on the same schedule as UEFA.  Top team in each group qualifies for the World Cup.  2nd place teams play a playoff, winner qualifies directly, loser has to play for the .5 spot.

Current FIFA rankings:

15 Mexico

18 Costa Rica

22 USA

http://m.fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/ranking-table/men/index.html

Which means that with two groups of 6, Mexico and USA could end up in the same group. Which would mean the other 4 teams in that group get screwed by the draw.

This is why I think it is important for the 3rd place teams in each group to be included in a playoff. I'd suggest a preliminary 2v3 playoff round (2nd in one group vs 3rd in the other group) with the two winners playing off as you have described. I'd also suggest that the 2v3 playoff should be a single game with the 2nd place team at home.

I certainly agree that two groups of 6 is a very good format but I'd also seriously consider three groups of 6 (makes the playoff trickier as I would not be in favour of giving the three full places to the three group winners - I made a suggestion on how that could work in an earlier post).

Edited by Lofty

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2 hours ago, Cheeta said:

 

Can't see how Mexico and USA have anything to complain about with a Twin Hex.  They are for the foreseeable future going to be seeded 1-2 in CONCACRAP so Twin Hex wouldn't hurt their chances of qualifying for the Finals. Top two have to be seeded into separate Hexs of course.  

 

Except that Costa Rica has been ahead of the US in the FIFA rankings ever since their World Cup run.  

 

I like the double hex but I would prefer if the repechage involved both 2nd and 3rd place finishers in each group.  It would negate any imbalance in the draw and would make for fewer dead rubbers toward the end of the group games.  With the intercontinental playoffs taking place in March 2022 you can play a full 6 game repechage group stage in September through November of 2021 preceded by a double hex from September 2020 through June 2021 (yes, there are enough match days).  This would require 16 match days in total leaving the remaining 14 match days from March 2019 through June 2020 for an expanded preliminary group stage to give the minnows a run of games.        

Alternatively, a 10-team CONMEBOL style round robin could start as late as June 2020 and still finish by November 2021 (9 windows, 18 match days) before the March 2022 intercontinental playoffs.

 

edit: DSQPR read my thoughts lol

Edited by CanadianSoccerFan

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64 teams, single elimination. No group stage.  Like March Madness.  Doesn't increase the number of games for the final 2 teams. You'll get some poorer teams there for sure but they'll be eliminated quickly, again like in March Madness.  And you'll get some great upsets, again like March Madness.

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As of 15th Sept, 2016, according to the FIFA Rankings we are currently 13th in CONCACAF!! (So not in the top 12!)

http://en.fifaranking.net/concacaf/ranking.php

But according to the World Football ELO Ratings we are 7th (this shows rankings for "America" - I couldn't find a way to list only CONCACAF)

http://www.eloratings.net/america.html

(Note that the World Football ELO Ratings for the teams placed 6-11 in "America" are currently incredibly close, with 6th separated from 11th by only 21 points! Which I think lends considerable weight to the argument that CONCACAF WCQ should be expanded.)

Edited by Lofty

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35 minutes ago, dsqpr said:

As of 15th Sept, 2016, according to the FIFA Rankings we are currently 13th in CONCACAF!! (So not in the top 12!)

http://en.fifaranking.net/concacaf/ranking.php

But according to ELO we are 7th (this shows rankings for "America" - I couldn't find a way to list only CONCACAF)

http://www.eloratings.net/america.html

It only gets worse.  We're dropping to 14th in the October ranking. If you want to see how much the Caribbean Cup skews the ranking, Honduras will fall behind St Kitts, Antigua, and Curacao!!

http://www.football-rankings.info/2016/10/fifa-ranking-october-2016-final-preview.html

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ROUND ONE:  10 teams involved: ( 26-35 RANKED TEAMS) (Montserrat, Caymans, etc)    2 home and away games

ROUND TWO:   12 teams involved: Winners of Round one + teams ranked 19-25     2 home and away games

ROUND THREE: 24 teams involved: Teams ranked 1-18 + winners of round 2  (8 groups of 3) Winners qualify for Round 3

ROUND FOUR: 8 teams (1 group) Top three direct qualification/1 playoff

The advantage of a system like this is that to get to the 'Octo" teams like El Salvador, Canada, Guatemala, T and T, Jamaica, etc would only have to play each other most likely in Round 3 as they would be most likely be teams ranked 7-12. The top ranked teams would only get minnows in round three. Also, the best of the Caribbean teams would get 4 to 8 games. Additionally, if FIFA wanted more games for the weaker nations, the minnow teams could be involved in a mini tourney in Round 1 ( two groups of five/ top 2 advance and the third place teams play off for last sport) for Round 2.

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Sorry Hector, but under that format there's a greater than 50/50 chance we end up playing only 4 games (if we're being honest with ourselves).

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Minor update.  Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated, who had a full blown fanboy meltdown a few years back the last time the precious USA-MEX game was under threat, had a word with Victor.

"Two, he does support changing CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in the next cycle to give more games to smaller countries, but he says he doesn’t want to take away the big USA-Mexico qualifiers that already take place."

http://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2016/10/19/thomas-muller-bayern-munich-concacaf-victor-montagliani-gold-cup-ccl-fifa

 

Not sure if he's politicking or being honest.  If he means that then it sounds like a CONMEBOL style giant round robin.

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Further indication from Vic that the final round will be an expanded single table.

Montagliani wants to potentially expand CONCACAF’s final six-team group — known as the “hex” — by adding teams.

“It might be bigger than the hex,” he said. “You get some of the classic rivalries, like Mexico-U.S. and Canada-Honduras.”

http://www.torontosun.com/2016/12/23/canadian-soccer-boss-supports-world-cup-expansion

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CONCACAF president-elect Victor Montagliani, who’s set to depart the Canadian Soccer Association in May, 

 

I didn't know he was done in May? Hmm.... So we have a president and a head coach to replace? Means were going into the Gold Cup with Findlay as the interim  

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2 hours ago, ThiKu said:

why does the Concacaf web site only list 25 nations? 3 of which are not full members so can't participate in qualifying.

WHich ones? CONCACAF has 35 FIFA members. The 3 North American Countries, the 7 Central American countries and the following 25 Carribbean countries: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, BErmuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin ISlands.

They have 6 non-FIFA members in Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Sint Maarten, Saint-Martin and Bonaire.

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On 2016-10-16 at 11:54 AM, Cheeta said:

They are for the foreseeable future going to be seeded 1-2 in CONCACRAP so Twin Hex wouldn't hurt their chances of qualifying for the Finals.

Interestingly though, I don't think they would have been 1-2 this time around.  At least that's my opinion.

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On 12/24/2016 at 2:12 PM, Blackdude said:

WHich ones? CONCACAF has 35 FIFA members. The 3 North American Countries, the 7 Central American countries and the following 25 Carribbean countries: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, BErmuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin ISlands.

They have 6 non-FIFA members in Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Sint Maarten, Saint-Martin and Bonaire.

concacaf.com

Maybe I wasn't reading the full list - I see it is 35 now.

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43 minutes ago, CanadianSoccerFan said:

Here's a twist!  It won't apply to the 2022 format but for 2026 Gianni Infantino wants CONCACAF and CONMEBOL to have combined qualifying.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-soccer-fifa-worldcup-idUKKBN14S0LL

 

 

Would be great to watch ..imagine playing Argentina, Colombia, Chile etc.. in WCQ. but we might as well forget about qualifying for a WC until 2100 now.

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8 minutes ago, Floortom said:

Would be great to watch ..imagine playing Argentina, Colombia, Chile etc.. in WCQ. but we might as well forget about qualifying for a WC until 2100 now.

That's why I think it won't happen. CONCACAF teams wouldn't benefit from the World Cup expansion.  Reported allocation is 14 berths but only 4 or 5 would go to CONCACAF so hardly an improvement on the status quo.

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1 hour ago, CanadianSoccerFan said:

That's why I think it won't happen. CONCACAF teams wouldn't benefit from the World Cup expansion.  Reported allocation is 14 berths but only 4 or 5 would go to CONCACAF so hardly an improvement on the status quo.

However, CONEMBOL would love it as it almost guarantees 7 - 9 of their teams would make it so I am sure they would all be down for it. Can FIFA force CONCACAF and CONEMBOL to merge for qualifying?

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7 minutes ago, Stryker911 said:

However, CONEMBOL would love it as it almost guarantees 7 - 9 of their teams would make it so I am sure they would all be down for it. Can FIFA force CONCACAF and CONEMBOL to merge for qualifying?

Only if Concacaf continue to insist on having an annual Panamerican soccer tournament

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I think there's an argument that merging CONMEBOL and CONCACAF is actually a good thing long-term for us. Playing teams like Brazil, Argentina, etc will only create more buzz around the sport, which leads to better TV ratings and gate receipts - which ultimately means more money in the CSA coffers that can be redistributed into training and development. 

So while it may be bad in terms of qualifying for a generation, maybe it's better for the longer term. I see both sides of the coin really.

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