Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: SoccerInsider and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  Sports e-mail alerts  |  RSS
Posted at 10:13 AM ET, 03/ 3/2011

FIFA makes no major changes to 2014 World Cup bids: CONCACAF again with 3 automatic slots, one playoff entry

By Steve Goff

CONCACAF, the region encompassing North and Central America and the Caribbean, will receive three automatic berths in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and send an additional team to a qualifying playoff -- no change from recent tournaments. The organization had been lobbying FIFA to eliminate the playoff stage and grant the confederation a fourth automatic slot.

What will change is the process of determining the playoff opponent. Instead of pre-set matchups, an open draw will decide the pairings. For the 2010 World Cup, fourth-place Costa Rica faced South America's fifth-place side, Uruguay, which won the two-leg playoff and ultimately advanced to the semifinals in South Africa. In the other playoff, Oceania champion New Zealand defeated Bahrain, Asia's fourth-place nation.

Under the new system, the CONCACAF representative could play a team from South America, Asia or Oceania. It's unclear when the draw would take place.

The allocation breakdown:
Europe 13 teams
South America 5 (including host Brazil), plus a playoff team
Africa 5
Asia 4, plus a playoff team
CONCACAF 3, plus a playoff team
Oceania no automatics, one playoff team

In other news, Canada was awarded the 2015 Women's World Cup. Zimbabwe had also expressed interest but later withdrew.

By Steve Goff  | March 3, 2011; 10:13 AM ET
Categories:  2014 World Cup, CONCACAF, FIFA, U.S. men's national team  | Tags:  FIFA, World Cup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Special 1 TV: Mandela ("LMFAO") and It join Jose, Boy and Cabbage
Next: Weekend soccer TV listings: Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Mexico

Comments

Wow, travel from Oceana to the Americas (or vice versa) when you need a result...ouch

Posted by: JkR- | March 3, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: OWNTF | March 3, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm fine with this, except that I don't think Africa should have 5.

Posted by: Reignking | March 3, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

What's the reasoning for Asia getting 5 slots total? Seems one slot too many, but maybe I'm missing something.

Posted by: nairbsod | March 3, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Was Australia considered under Oceania or Asia? If Asia, then which countries are under Oceania?

Australia and New Zealand played in World Cup last year.

Posted by: HobbesLionheart | March 3, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Australia has been in the Asian Confederation for several years.

I like this new drawing idea. Makes things a little more interesting.

It all seems fair enough to me.

Posted by: fedssocr | March 3, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Australia switched to the Asian confederation.

There are basically three automatics out of Asia -- Australia, Japan and South Korea. Having another slot allows for some actual competition within the confederation. They don't have four slots any more than CONCACAF has 4 slots. The playoff slot isn't an extra slot unless the team goes through.

As for Africa -- while it's true their teams were underwhelming at this WOrld Cup, there are an awful lot of countries there that take football really seriously, and the continent produces some great talent. Eventually, that will translate into success in the finals. Given the number of countries involved, and the general level of talent, I think Africa deserves more slots than Asia or CONCACAF.

I think, for a change, CONCACAF got this right.

Posted by: fischy | March 3, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Fischy,

Asia has 4 automatic plus the playoff, so they could get 5.

Posted by: Wyrm1 | March 3, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The Aussies jump to Asia because the competition level was stronger. New Zealand is Oceania i think

FIFA doesnt care for Concacaf.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | March 3, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Did someone say "Canada"?!

"The days grow shorter and the nights are getting long
Feels like we're running out of time
Every day it seems much harder tellin' right from wrong
You got to read between the lines

Don't get discouraged, don't be afraid, we can
Make it through another day
Make it worth the price we pay..."

Triumph, "Fight the Good Fight"

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | March 3, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Last time I cite a news report out of Canada.

I'm skeptical that Asia deserves a full spot more than CONCACAF, but otherwise not too much to argue with here.

The extra half spot would've been nice to guard against the nightmare scenario for the US that I outlined in a previous thread, but the fact that if we end up in the playoff, we're likely to draw against either the Oceania winner or Asia fourth-place team -and avoid a South America squad - is a bit of consolation.

Posted by: BooThisMan | March 3, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Rather, "Asia fifth-place team".

Posted by: BooThisMan | March 3, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

If we end up in the playoff, we'd worry less about whom we play than when Bradley will be tarred and feathered, drawn and quartered, hung, shot, burned at the stake, and waterboarded (in that order).

With all Sepp's talk about spreading soccer across the globe, it's a wonder that he still ignores Oceania when it comes to a full slot. I hope one of the OFC members nominates Grant Wahl for FIFA President.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 3, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

@Wynn -- Yes, they could get 5, but right now only have 4. Which compares to CONCACAF. As I wrote above, Asia has three automatic qualifiers. The 4th spot allows a middle eastern team in to the finals, unless they get beaten by the North Koreans. That 4th slot creates a space in the finals from a large area in that would probably miss out if Asia has one less slot.

CONCACAF has the 3 slots, one each for the USA and Mexico and then a toss-up between the Central American and Caribbean sides (or Canada, someday -- I suspect when Canada become a regular solid contender, CONCACAF will get a confirmed 4th slot.).

I think they've got this right.

Posted by: fischy | March 3, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see the World Cup field opened to 36 nations, with 3 additional slots awarded to Europe. Arguably, the European Championship is more competitive than the World Cup. I'd also like to see the South America and CONCACAF playoff slots made permanent. Asia and Oceania should be the only confederations competing for a playoff slot.

Posted by: Brokenbil | March 3, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I'm surprised no one has mentioned that its South America that seems to be over represented with 5 plus a playoff.

Remember SA has only 10 teams. The host Brazil plus the top four mean that the top 5 out of 10 qualify. In addition the 6th team has a shot against potentially Oceania - i.e., New Zeland. That could very easily mean that 6 out of 10 SAs team are in the Cup. That seems way too much.

Posted by: dcufan531 | March 3, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, wait, 36 doesn't work. The number of teams in the tournament has to be divisible by 8. Unfortunately, I don't think there are 8 additional nations that are competitive enough to be included in the World Cup finals. Maybe if they awarded 5 more slots to Europe, gave the other confederations 1 additional permanent slot, and had Africa, Asia, CONCACAF, and Oceania compete for a single playoff slot. Thus, the allocations would be:

Europe: 18
South America: 6
Africa: 5 + playoff team
Asia: 5 + playoff team
CONCACAF: 4 + playoff team
Oceania: 1 + playoff team

Seems like it favors Europe too much. Maybe the World Cup shouldn't expand past 32 teams. Oh well.

Posted by: Brokenbil | March 3, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Arguably, the European Championship is more competitive than the World Cup.

=================

Is that even arguable? It's like the trials for the US Olympic swimming team.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 3, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Blake Buttwarmer has signed! Wait a minute; Brettsticker? Buttsnyder? Dang spellcheck.


Paste: Blake Breattschneider! no Brettschneider. Yes! That's it!

I smell MLS Cup....

Posted by: JkR- | March 3, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Is that even arguable? It's like the trials for the US Olympic swimming team."

Which one, the European Championship or the World Cup?

Posted by: Brokenbil | March 3, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I smell MLS Cup....

Posted by: JkR- | March 3, 2011 1:57 PM

----------------------------

If it comes down to PKs, will he claim the last one will be for "all the tostitos"?

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | March 3, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Even though they could send more than half of the region's teams...I really don't have a problem with SA getting 5 plus a playoff. EVERY team they sent in 2010 (including their playoff team in as the article points out) did well. They ALL either won their group outright or tied for the top spot...the team they tied with...oh yeah, Spain! They went 4-1 in the round of 16, the only loss being in an all SA affair. Not too shabby!

On the other hand...5 slots for Africa is a JOKE!!! Yes, some great PLAYERS come from that continent but, for the most part, the TEAMS...not so much. They got 6 slots (5 plus the host) in 2010...from which a grand total of ONE team made it through to the knockout stage. That team, Ghana, only got through on goal differential (by virtue of Australia getting absolutely waxed by Germany in their opening game). But, FIFA so desperately wants an African team to make a deep run in the tournament that they'll keep trotting them out there until one does.

CONCACAF is still slotted about right...as much as it pains me to say it. The 3rd team it sends rarely does much of anything. Honduras was no exception in 2010. Mexico & the USA need to start consistently getting to AND winning the knockout stage games. The region needs a few more teams to be more consistent on a match-by-match basis (Costa Rica, Honduras, Canada) & really pushing the big two in qualifying before it will get more "love" from FIFA.

Posted by: CLBinTX | March 3, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

why you bustin' on Brettschneider? He's already proven he can score against PDL competition. Once we get into the Open Cup that will come in handy. But seriously, might be promising for the future. I assume he's making next to nothing.

Posted by: fedssocr | March 3, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, wait, 36 doesn't work. The number of teams in the tournament has to be divisible by 8.

If you want to do a single-elimination knockout bracket with no byes after the group stage, you actually need the number of teams to be a power of two. Forty teams would give you twenty in the knockout stages, and you'd have to have eight teams "play-in" for a spot in the round of sixteen, with twelve given spots directly.

Posted by: BooThisMan | March 3, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand...5 slots for Africa is a JOKE!!! Yes, some great PLAYERS come from that continent but, for the most part, the TEAMS...not so much

Looking over the last three Cups, I have to say you're absolutely right. Africa has had 16 entrants total, and three of those have made it out of the group stages. I've no idea how they continue to hang on to five guaranteed spots.

Posted by: BooThisMan | March 3, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

If we end up in the playoff, we'd worry less about whom we play than when Bradley will be tarred and feathered, drawn and quartered, hung, shot, burned at the stake, and waterboarded (in that order).

Under the old format, sure - there's really could be no excuse for the US ever finishing fourth in a CONCACAF hexagonal (although I don't see the point in waterboarding him after he's already been killed four times).

But under the new format, all it would take is a little bad luck. One bad game in Saprissa - and when have we had a good game in Saprissa under any coach - could be all it takes to drop us to second in the last group of four. If Mexico similarly fails to win their group of four, all of the sudden a spot in the playoffs looks like a real possibility.

Posted by: BooThisMan | March 3, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

TBH Asia and Africa should give up 2.5 and CONCACAF should give up its .5 for a playoff with 2 Euro teams and probably 1 addtional CONMEBOL team. Look at how strong Ireland and Russia were during the last WC cycle.

I'm all for world representation at the WC, but more balance to ensure the best teams go needs to be found.

Posted by: GypsyDRB | March 3, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

If we're talking about recent performances, then Oceania should get a full slot because NZ was the only team to go undefeated in WC10.

@BooThisMan: It seems that many people think that Bradley should die a thousand deaths for whatever goes wrong. So I'm being pretty lenient.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 3, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

...(although I don't see the point in waterboarding him after he's already been killed four times).
_______________________________________

I think we need to discuss the finer points of medieval torture. The aim was *not* to carry out the earlier stages to the point of death.

Posted by: universityandpark | March 4, 2011 7:44 AM | Report abuse

...(although I don't see the point in waterboarding him after he's already been killed four times).
_______________________________________

I think we need to discuss the finer points of medieval torture. The aim was *not* to carry out the earlier stages to the point of death.

Posted by: universityandpark


You can't really draw and quarter someone without killing them in the process.

Posted by: mcontento | March 4, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

South American should always get 5 automatic slots plus a playoff. The only reason they are getting this number in 2014 is because of Brazil hosting.

The reason why Asia potentially has five (and probably Africa as well) is because these continents have lots of countries and in FIFA it's often one vote per country. Mr. Sepp knows this and spreads the FIFA largesse around handsomely. South America with its mere 10 countries often gets screwed in the process. Remember when a referee from Vanuatu appeared in the World Cup?

Posted by: rightback | March 4, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I have absolutely no quibbles about FIFA apportioned the bids; indeed, I think they nailed it. But it would be nice to have some transparency on how the seven non-host-country seeded teams will be determined.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | March 5, 2011 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company