Soccer Magazine

How World Cup Qualifying Should Be

By Simplyfutb01 @simplyjuan11

How World Cup Qualifying Should Be
Ladies and Gentlemen, the unnecessarily drawn out, player exhausting process of determining the 32 teams that will participate in The Great Tournament has begun. I love The World Cup but the system of qualifying is ridiculously long, the quality of national team play suffers, and the fans lose interest & intensity like a horny teenager at a senior citizens’ nude beach.

Therefore, instead of writing another article criticizing the World Cup qualifying process, I offer a solution that would save the legs of the overworked players and put more excitement into qualifying. I will present a series of articles breaking down how each confederation should do it and how qualifying should be connected to their respective continental tournaments (i.e. Copa América, Euro 2012, Gold Cup, etc.). The fans interest would intensify and  a situation like 2010 when the African Cup of Nations Champions, Egypt were not present at the first African World Cup would never happen.

First up, the 2014 World Cup host confederation, CONMEBOL.

CONMEBOL (South America) = 4.5 spots. 5th place team will face 5th place Asian team.

How World Cup Qualifying Should Be

CURRENT SYSTEM:
There is one table with each country playing each other twice over a grueling 2-year span which sees the vast majority of players having to fly transatlantic to play 16 WCQ matches (Brazil’s hosting means two less matches for this WCQ cycle). The traveling and the quality of opposition make CONMEBOL the most competitive and the most physically taxing for the players of all the FIFA confederations.

SOLUTION:
This is the easiest to fix because CONMEBOL has the fewest number of FIFA member nations. South America should connect World Cup qualifying to the Copa América; One tournament, one summer, one host nation. In the Copa América, you have 2 groups of 5 (No special invitees like Japan or México). Each team plays each other once, the top two teams in each group advance to the semis & the tournament continues as normal to determine the South American champion & those semifinalists are the 4 WC automatic qualifiers. The two 3rd place teams play in a “5th place match” to determine the participant in the Intercontinental playoff.

In the event that the WC host nation makes it to the semis of the Copa América then the winner of the 5th place match gets the 4th automatic qualifying spot & the loser goes to the Intercontinental playoff.

EXTRA NOTES:
The Copa América finalists would have played 6 matches & 5th place team would have played 5. That’s 10-12 matches less and nearly 1,000 minutes less of wear and tear on players’ bodies. Thousands of miles less of jet lag and the coaches & players would take the tournament more seriously. Copa América should not be viewed as a “World Cup qualifying tune-up” like some coaches and players (the ones that lost) stated after the 2011 tournament.

The presentation of an exciting & intense solution to CONMEBOL’s long drawn out World Cup Qualifying process has been laid out. Next article will be breaking down CONCACAF’s World Cup qualifying system.

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