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Posted at 10:57 AM ET, 01/17/2011

Poll: Does CONCACAF deserve a fourth guaranteed berth in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil?

By Steve Goff

On Sunday, CONCACAF bosses announced that they would lobby FIFA for a fourth automatic slot in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. In the two most recent cycles, the region received three guaranteed berths while a fourth nation was sent to a playoff. Before you vote, let's examine how CONCACAF teams have fared in the playoff and the actual World Cup and where they stand in the FIFA rankings' top 100:

PLAYOFFS
2010: Costa Rica lost to Uruguay, 2-1 aggregate
2006: Trinidad & Tobago defeated Bahrain, 2-1 aggregate

WORLD CUP
2010: USA first in group, lost in round of 16; Mexico second in group, lost in round of 16; Honduras 0-2-1 in first round.
2006: USA first round, Mexico round of 16, T&T first round, Costa Rica first round.
2002: USA quarterfinals, Mexico round of 16, Costa Rica first round.
1998: USA first round, Mexico round of 16, Jamaica first round.

FIFA RANKINGS (as of Jan. 12)
18. USA
27. Mexico
56. Honduras
59. Jamaica
62. Cuba
67. Panama
69. Costa Rica (huh?)
84. Canada
87. Trinidad & Tobago
90. Haiti
94. Grenada

Let's take a look at Asia, which receives four automatics. In last year's World Cup, South Korea (1-1-1) and Japan (2-1-0) reached the second round, Australia (1-1-1) and North Korea (0-3-0) were out in the group stage. FIFA rankings:
26. Australia
29. Japan
39. South Korea
65. Iran
78. Saudi Arabia
79. China
93. Bahrain
98. Iraq
99. Kuwait

Vote:


By Steve Goff  | January 17, 2011; 10:57 AM ET
Categories:  2014 World Cup, CONCACAF, FIFA  | Tags:  CONCACAF, World Cup  
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Comments

Wait! You're telling me Qatar isn't ranked in the top 100 yet? They just crushed Kuwait! Appalling. Absolutely Appalling!

Posted by: TCompton | January 17, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Costa Rica 68th? Jamaican me crazy.

I have a good feeling Grenada will explode onto the scene this year.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | January 17, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

61 days until United's first 2011 league match!

Posted by: Curious99 | January 17, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I never knew that Asia had 4 automatics. A playoff between them and us for the 4th spot would make sense. But all that 4th team will do is provide 3 points to a group winner.

Posted by: wanker82 | January 17, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Trinidad & Haiti above ES? Last I checked ES whipped Haiti in qualification and ES finished above Trini in the hexa. Oh well. I do believe Concacaf should receive an automatic fourth spot.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | January 17, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

With three MLS teams by 2014, Canada will win the World Cup.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 17, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

If Concacaf stays at 3.5, it is competing with Oceania for the advantage of playing an Asian country in the playoff (as happened for 2006 World Cup, instead of having to face a S. American country (as occurred last time around).

Or even better Concacaf, could face the Oceania winner!

Posted by: olinto | January 17, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

65. Iran

I'm pretty sure A Flock of Seagulls charted higher than #65.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 17, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm not convinced CONCACAF has enough talent to justify four guaranteed spots.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | January 17, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

If it comes down to either concacaf or the asian fed getting 4 automatics then concacaf should get the fourth automatic bid. If the decision is going to be based on matching federations that are competitivly balanced than I think concacaf should get three and play the asian fed for a chance at a fourth. I admit there is not much of an edge between the two feds but I feel that coccacaf holds a slight edge. I would be interested to see what concacaf's W/L record is against the asian fed in all matches. Probably a short list.

Posted by: jjfooty | January 17, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

Posted by: dccal | January 17, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I'd say CONCACAF deserves the slightly easier playoff against the 5th Asian team, as opposed to the 5th CONMEBOL team. However, there's no justification for us getting a 4th spot (unless you're Jack Warner and you're trying to stay popular).

Our region still has just 2 truly good teams. There are a handful countries capable of being considered "not awful" if they have a strong generation of players. There is no consistently good 3rd team, much less 4. Would the 2010 edition of Costa Rica really have added anything to the World Cup? What about the 2002 Honduras side? Other than giving some powerhouse the chance to score 4+ goals and show off, the answer is no.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 17, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

There was no World Cup in 1984.

Posted by: BooThisMan | January 17, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Overall we don't deserve four spots, but when compared to Asia, of course CONCACAF deserves four.

Posted by: jake77 | January 17, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

We don't deserve the 0.5 spot we already have, and it's arguable whether we deserve more than two.

Posted by: mrdot | January 17, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Kenny Cooper signed with Portland. Not that it's a big surprise.

http://portlandtimbers.com/news/2011/01/timbers-sign-forward-kenny-cooper

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 17, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

If the system truly is corrupt (which I believe it is) then CONCACAF will be awarded the 4th slot to placate us for the obvious corruption we were victims of in the World Cup host selection...

Posted by: alan19 | January 17, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I responded 3.5 with a playoff against a European team. I belive the WC still remains too Eurocentric and I believe the Euro "minnows" who are on the bubble are overrated.

Posted by: griffin1108 | January 17, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

CONMEBOL should have four automatic slots besides Brazil, since the Cup is being hosted in South America, just like Africa kept five slots plus South Africa in 2010.

I'm guessing Europe and Africa will keep their previous allocations.

Europe - 14
Africa - 5
S. America - 4
Brazil - 1

That leaves 8 slots left. If my conjecture is correct, and if Oceania remains in existence, then FIFA's big decision is whether Asia or CONCACAF sends its 4th place team against New Zealand in a playoff for the final spot. (Does anyone seriously believe that the Kiwis won't win the Oceania qualifying tournament?)

My guess is that FIFA politics favors four automatic slots for Asia. There's more room to "grow the game" (and more money for payoffs) in the world's largest continent. New Zealand vs. the 4th place CONCACAF team should be a pretty even match.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | January 17, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

If the system truly is corrupt (which I believe it is) then CONCACAF will be awarded the 4th slot to placate us for the obvious corruption we were victims of in the World Cup host selection...
Posted by: alan19 | January 17, 2011 3:45 PM
=========

How does corruption beget justice?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 17, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I270, if you use the wealth of unrighteousness to make friends for yourself, that might work. Or not.

Posted by: dccal | January 17, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

In terms of comparing CONCACAF places versus Asia you must remember that Asia does have over half of the world's people. If it were just a question of taking the best teams, like it or not, FIFA would take more European teams. The quality of European 'minnows' is more a reflection of the dumb UEFA qualifying process which ensures that a handful of strong teams don't qualify while teams from weak UEFA qualifying groups do.

Posted by: Nahm | January 17, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

In terms of comparing CONCACAF places versus Asia you must remember that Asia does have over half of the world's people. If it were just a question of taking the best teams, like it or not, FIFA would take more European teams. The quality of European 'minnows' is more a reflection of the dumb UEFA qualifying process which ensures that a handful of strong teams don't qualify while teams from weak UEFA qualifying groups do.

Posted by: Nahm | January 17, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Qualitfying for the World Cup should just be a GLOBAL tournament.

It would have to be a mix of single elimination and group, like Champions league.

Posted by: MrCerniglia | January 17, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

CONMEBOL should have four automatic slots besides Brazil, since the Cup is being hosted in South America, just like Africa kept five slots plus South Africa in 2010.

The situations aren't quite parallel, as Brazil is guaranteed to qualify anyway, and SA would have been somewhat of a long shot in 2010. On that basis there's a better case for taking away one of CONMEBOL's spots, and leaving them with 3.5. However, their showing in 2010 clearly justifies bumping them up at least half a spot, if not more. So they should get either 4 or 4.5 + Brazil.

I'm guessing Europe and Africa will keep their previous allocations.

Europe - 14

Europe had 13 spots in 2010. So if they keep their 13, and CONMEBOL gets their 4 + Brazil, there's still an extra spot floating around.

Posted by: BooThisMan | January 17, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

alan19 has stated what popped into my head immediately. Jack Warner involved in a "scratch my back" scheme? If Vegas has odds on such things, bet on the extra spot going to CONCACAF. Gosh, could T & T possibly benefit from this luck? I blame Paul Caliguri, and his wondrous goal in 1989. Jack and T & T got their revenge on the US, finally.

Posted by: jojosbo | January 17, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

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