Too Many Poor Teams In the World CupDecember 5, 2009 at 5:52 am | Posted in General Football, World Cup 2010 | 10 Comments
Today was the draw for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. While I have become a bit disenchanted with the World Cup because the tournament has been rather poor the last couple of times, I must admit I found the draw to be very exciting.
The World Cup, however, now has too many weak teams in the finals which dilutes the quality of the football. I far preferred the WC when there were only 24 teams. Even when there were 24 teams there was always a team or two that had no hope (Canada being one in 1986). This time we have multiple teams with absolutely no hope of doing any damage whatsoever.
North Korea is a very poor team indeed and should simply not be allowed to play in the finals. I can only imagine how terribly they are going to get beaten by Brazil, Cote d’Ivoire and Portugal. True, they did make it to the Quarter-finals in 1966 in the English World Cup, but they have not been in the WC since and will surely embarrass themselves by being mere cannon fodder for the other teams in their group. Because they are in the “Group Of Death” this time around, the other three teams will be merciless in running up the score against them because second place may well be decided by goal difference. We can also look for the entire team to defect so they can escape the prison camp that is North Korea. Wait, no, they will play poorly because they will be so worried about the threats made to their families back home if they do defect that they will be in no mood to worry about the score.
Another loser team will be New Zealand. Then there is Algeria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Honduras, and the host nation itself, South Africa. Were SA required to qualify they would not have made the World Cup at all. They are a poor team that is in a shambles. Unless they get their act together they may just embarrass themselves as well. Frankly, none of these teams deserve to be in the finals. None of these teams is going to quicken our pulse as football fans.
The first World Cup that I watched with interest was the 1982 World Cup. That World Cup had 24 teams and was superb. 1982 featured two group stages and produced some astonishing Football. The 1986 World Cup also had some stunning moments. It all went downhill when 32 teams were allowed in the Finals in France 1998. Germany 2006, with 32 teams in the tournament, featured games which were so abominably poor they were not worth watching. Poland v Ecuador was one such riveting match, and Ukraine v Switzerland was enough to put you off of football for good.
I fear we will see some very poor matches indeed in South Africa 2010 because too many poor teams have been allowed in to the tournament. When the standard in these games is below that of games we might see in the English Championship, one has to wonder what FIFA is thinking about (other than money, of course!). The tournament should go back to 24 teams. I know there is a snowball’s chance in hell this will happen, but if it did happen it would guarantee quality games and a quality World Cup.
I know I am dreaming, but the World Cup should be about football excellence, not mediocrity.