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Discussion in 'Gold Cup' started by JYDA, Jan 8, 2017.
This is HUGE for teams like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic - and in line with tournament expansion worldwide (see: World Cup, Euros, Asian Cup, Copa América). And importantly, it means that CONCACAF will no longer be able to rig the knockout-round bracket to avoid the US and Mexico running into each other before the final. For instance, some of you may remember the vociferous complaints of Panama having to run into Mexico in the 2013 Gold Cup semifinals after besting them in the group stage; with 16 teams, Panama winning the group would kick Mexico to the other side of the bracket and potentially give the canaleros a path to the final free of North American opposition.
Having said that: the Gold Cup expanding to 16 teams means RIP Copa Centroamericana. CONCACAF can handle the distribution of berths in one of four ways (here I'm assuming that the US, Mexico and Canada are going to automatically qualify for the Gold Cup ad infinitum).
1: Have all UNCAF teams qualify directly, with the Caribbean Cup producing the remaining six qualifiers.
2: Have all but the worst UNCAF team (based on FIFA ranking) qualify directly; the top six in the Caribbean qualify for the Gold Cup, and the 7th-place team would face the worst UNCAF side in a playoff for the last berth.
3: Have a joint UNCAF/CFU qualifying tournament for 13 berths.
4: Hand out guest berths to CONMEBOL teams and set up a cheap, albeit immensely profitable, imitation of the Copa América Centenario.
CFU had 25 teams try to qualify for Gold Cup 2017. UNCAF (6) and CFU had 31 teams try to qualify (it would have been 32 if Guatemala wasn't suspended). The bottom teams could play each other to reduce the amount of teams to 24, and then there could be 6 groups of 4 (maybe there would be enough FIFA matchdays to make it double round-robin rather than at one site) with the top two in each group and the top third place team qualifying.
...or, if they wanted to reduce the number of games each team plays (if not the number of matchdays), the 24 could be broken up into 8 groups of 3. Group winners + best 2 runners-up qualify directly for the Gold Cup, with the remaining 6 runners-up paired into playoffs for the last three berths.
Is the Copa Centroamericano not worth keeping around? I imagine that edition they held in the States did alright?
Unlikely to survive attendance has always been awful even in the states though that was better attended than Panama's especially for non host games. I think if they had tried it in Nicaragua they might have seen decent numbers attendance wise hopefully we still get a chance to find out.
A part of the problem is it doesn't happen during the international break so teams send watered down sides but I suspect even if that wasn't the case we still wouldn't see Navas in one. I haven't seen a single host country take it to seriously. They all just host all the games in one stadium on the same day. Not much promotion or financial backing for it. Some even complain after the fact about hosting and the local fans never show up for games without the host country and despite the close distances fans never travel for their teams.
Not the worst idea, but the Gold Cup needs to become an "every four year" tournament, instead of an "every-two-year" tournament. Otherwise, Mexico and the USA will send "B" teams because of the conflict with WC qualifying and the Confederations Cup in 2021/2025/2029, etc..
Mexico and the USA aren't the only teams in the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying. With World Cup 2022 being played later in the year and World Cup 2026 having more teams, we don't know when CONCACAF will play World Cup qualifiers and how many teams will be in the last round. The Confederations Cup only has one CONCACAF team, and it might be eliminated.
I'm not entirely certain this will be the case, but even if so this may not be such a bad thing. The CONCACAF region still has tremendous room for growth among member nations that could eventually take this event to some truly appealing new highs. Canada, Guatemala, Honduras and others certainly have the population base and the means to grow stronger sides, and the expansion of the World Cup itself will provide the impetus for them to aspire for such. Combine that with a growing affinity for the game (and an improved understanding of these events) in the States and I see no reason the 16 team edition won't be anything but at least a modest improvement over the current model.
Then again it's easy for me to think this way seeing as I am an optimist in all things but my love life!
So Univisión Deportes' Adriana Monsalve is interviewing Victor Montagliani on Facebook as we speak...and she was kind enough to ask him my question about whether this rumored expansion is true. The man himself responded that it's in the works, without giving a 100% confirmation; Monsalve followed-up by asking about the possibility of guest teams, and he unequivocally shot that down, stating that it will have to be a CONCACAF-only event. Later on, he noted that CONACAF would also consider spreading out the hosting duties - no, not moving the entire tournament outside the U.S., but sending a matchday or two out to the Caribbean and Central America (like they did with Canada in the last edition).
The expanded CFU-UNCAF qualifying sounds a lot like the proposed Nations League. Double round robin would be nice although you have to imagine there would be some matchdays in neutral sites (including the US)
Whatever they do, they need to make this tournament better. Its just awful right now, too many experimental squads. It should be either the year after the WC or after the euros 2 years opposite WC's
How about just moving Belize to CFU and putting the rest of the old UNCAF straight in
Four simple steps to improving the Gold Cup, IMO:
1) Make the tournament quadrennial, not biennial.
2) Expand to 16 teams
3) Use LoN as qualification process.
4) Spread out hosting duties, but leave knockout rounds in the USA.
If we use the LoN for qualifying aren't we diluting one or the other? At that point the Gold Cup becomes little more than a mini tournament within your WCQ campaign with just the same teams.
Granted, given the options for GC qualification there's not much to choose from that would be exciting or make a significant difference. Biggest benefit would come from national teams that use the expanded GC to flourish. Canada, Costa Rica and Panama have god chances in that regard, I feel.
If its 16 teams, they should set specific qualification standards. For example, any team in the Hex, auto qualifies based on their WCQ performance, also let most central american teams qualify based on FIFA ranking. After that however many spots are left, have a qualifiying tourney or round robin for any caribbean team or Central american team not already qualified.
So how would LoN feeding into a separate Gold Cup work? Everyone in Tier 1 (12 teams) plus the finalists from Tiers 2 and 3? I'd hope CONCACAF would have more sense than to give Gold Cup tickets to the kind of teams that would get wrecked by Cuba...
With a 16 team Gold Cup, 8 teams could get in automatically and everybody else could play in 8 groups of 3 or 4 with the group winners qualifying. How many groups had 3 teams and how many had 4 teams would depend on how many teams entered. Doing it this way would avoid the Caribbean having multiple group stages and having to compare second or third place teams from different groups. The qualifying groups could use two matchdays each in September, October, and November of the previous year if the teams didn't have WCQs then.
Well if the Caribbean Cup stays around we might as well use it for qualifying. The Gold Cup should only be quadrennial if we can fill the gap with a joint Copa América
I don't care if the move to 16 lessens the quality because it will eventually improve the quality by giving more smaller countries access to better competition. Which is also why I still like having the Gold Cup every two years. There were 8 CONCACAF teams, then 8 plus an invite, then 9 plus an invite, then they went to 10 teams with 2 invites, 9 teams with 3 invites before moving on to just 12 CONCACAF teams. The jump from 8 to 12 had some CONCACAF teams that I've never seen before that were at "their World Cup". To many of these players, this might be their only shop window to possibly catch the attention of a scout for a bigger club than the one they're currently on so they're giving it their all. I like quality, high level soccer but I love seeing players busting their asses for their country. What can I say? Americans love an underdog.
Also, I don't care if some countries send their B team. I remember some English fans poking fun at the US years ago when we lost to a star studded Dutch team 1-0 because we let a nobody named Arjen Robben score on us. Like I said above, Shop window. I don't need to already know that someone is a star to see them shine. I enjoy finding out "Holy shit! Their #7 is a damn good footballer." or "Man, their D-Mid is bossing this midfield." or "Cuba is playing better than I thought after their key losses to card accumulations and defections"
A 16 team Gold Cup will slightly improve the middle countries of CONCACAF by increasing their quality matches which will provide better competition for the hex regulars. Keep it this way for a looooong time. It took 11 years ('96-'07) for it to slowly expand from 8 CONCACAF teams to 12, waiting 12 years to go from 12 to 16 feels right. If you swap Honduras in group A with non qualifier Haiti, would it really have been much weaker of a 2017 Gold Cup with a group D consisting of Trinidad, Guatemala, Cuba and Honduras? Expanding it to 16 a decade ago would have been ugly but it should be no problem with the continued growth of footy in smaller nations.
Did they do that, because their team whipped the butts of that Dutch team...one could be tempted to believe that.
Well, a 24-team joint Copa America instead of the second Gold Cup every 4-year cycle would leave 14 spots for CONCACAF teams.
Slight downgrade, but the level of competition is higher and would encourage more 'A' teams
True, but I'm not exactly sure CONMEBOL would put up with that "slight downgrade"...or that I'd be in favor of it, seeing what the expansion did to the Euros. I think 16 would be right for the time being, and that (if it's going to be a collaboration) CONMEBOL should only get 8 guaranteed berths, with the worst two teams from the last WCQ table playing off with CONCACAF sides for the last two spots in the tournament.