News: New World Cup Qualifying Format For CONCACAF

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Sebsasour, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. dlokteff

    dlokteff Member+

    Jan 22, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    OK.

    Using the July 2020 FIFA rankings they will just take the top 6 and put them in the Hex. This is almost guaranteed to include the USA (Mex, CR, JAM are also pretty much locks already).

    This Hex plays out as normal, with the Top 3 advancing to Qatar.

    The remaining 29 teams are split into 8 groups (of 4 or 3). They play H&A matches and the group winners advance.

    Those 8 then play H&A eliminators to reduce to 4, than, 2, than 1.

    That 1 team then plays the 4th place team from the Hex. It appears it's one game (site unkown) that the winner then gets the last half spot for CONCACAF. That team then has to play NZ/Uruguay/Saudia Arabia or whoever.

    Sounds great, right?
     
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  2. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

    Oct 30, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Friendlies are going to happen regardless. If we're playing friendlies, it's better to play strong opposition. The problem is that European teams now have a lot fewer open FIFA dates than before (and fewer than anyone else), which takes away a lot of worthwhile friendly opponents.
     
  3. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

    Jul 16, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    I guess CONCACAF is not confident that we'd survive a semifinal round at this point.

    I'm sorry but this comes across as a big, unfair help to us. They lost revenue with our absence from Russia, so of course no one is surprised.
     
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  4. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    How does this help us qualify through the Hex? That was the problem, not wrt qualifying for the Hex, no?
     
  5. chad

    chad Member+

    Jun 24, 1999
    chicago
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The idiots in charge of CONCACAF are idiots.
     
  6. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

    Jul 16, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    We're already in the Hex if this change of format is real.

    Also, there is a good chance of three out of Panama, Canada, Trinidad and Haiti not making it.

    It's a big help: we don't have to play the very risky semi round, and we're likely to get Honduras and El Salvador in place of teams that are much more dangerous to us.
     
  7. gogorath

    gogorath Member

    None
    United States
    May 12, 2019
    The only thing that really bothers me is the permanence of the rankings. If the ranking system reset at the end of the World Cup so that the Gold Cup and Nations League were the primary or only source of the rankings, I'd be fine.

    CONCACAF needs to send it's best teams -- our # of teams in the World Cup is constantly as risk, and our general overperformance in the last few WC (not this last one) has really saved CONCACAF's # of bids over the years, I'd bet. (You can bet CONMEBOL tries to grab some of our slots every chance they get).

    But the biggest downside of this model is that there are some clear up and comers like Canada and Curacao, etc., that deserve a shot. You shouldn't have to build up over six years to go to the World Cup. It should be based on this cycle.

    I'm not in love with a straight tourney setting for it (like using Nations League alone or Gold Cup alone). It's too likely to send a talented team with bad injuries or bad luck home without a shot -- and like I said, CONCACAF needs to send its best.

    But using the combined results of box to get into the hex makes sense. What doesn't is using results from five years ago to determine rank.

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

    People that want to combine with CONMEBOL are insane. Competition can drive you to improve, if you play a step up in competition. But there's a reason you don't play 8 year olds with adults -- if you repeatedly get crushed, it's not helpful.

    Missing a bunch of World Cups as we "challenge" ourselves is not going to improve the program. Having an easy route to the World Cup is great -- and we need to find other ways to challenge ourselves.

    But until things like Nations League and the Gold Cup are a walk, I think we should notice that we still have challenges at home.
     
  8. CMeszt

    CMeszt Member+

    SUM Cabal Executive Director
    Jan 9, 2004
    3 blocks from "SoccerHouse", Chicago
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Plus, CONMEBOL is also a shitshow in terms of how it's run.
     
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  9. CMeszt

    CMeszt Member+

    SUM Cabal Executive Director
    Jan 9, 2004
    3 blocks from "SoccerHouse", Chicago
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    As a long-time government employee I can say that what appears to be a conspiracy is usually just simple incompetence.

    Seems like CONCACAF failed to plan ahead then looked at the match calendar and realized "Oh shit, we don't actually have enough dates available for two Nations League tournaments and qualification at the same time" so they had to rig up something ridiculous like this.
     
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  10. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    #85 juvechelsea, Jul 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
    your reading comprehension problem, not mine. two separate issues. one issue is objective tournament structure. should all teams be treated alike? should some be favored for prior quality? how deep? should the good teams have to play minnows at all, as a matter of structure? not because it will help or hurt their capacities, but because of fairness or even handedness in the system. it's not, is it a good idea as training to play minnows. it's, is it fair to skip them.

    if for 2026 they go to several groups starting with all teams, they would likely do like every tournament does and pot them. it would not be just a pure draw. but if every team gets an equal chance but the groups are potted to vary based on the prior quality, then you will have variety and at least two quality opponents. just like UEFA. every game in UEFA is not killer. they have minnows too. the only body that doesn't, is CONMEBOL, and that is not because they have come up with some genius way to deal with their minnows. it's the historical accident that their minnows are part of Concacaf, There are several teams in CONCACAF that are on South America or islands next to it. Guyana is on South America. So is Suriname. Trinidad is less than 10 miles away. But Brazil doesn't face that minnow because they went with us instead.

    it is then a distinct issue, if we create this ranking based structure -- having answered the first set of questions -- how a self centered country playing within the rules would maximize their ranking. minnows would not help that because the algorithm wouldn't give much heed to braining bad teams. nor are minnows good preparation for tough competition.

    but losing a lot to good teams -- like last year -- would hurt you too. so the obvious strategy would be, line up middling teams you can beat, with maybe a sprinkling of sporting tests from good teams, as preparation and/or limited risks to improve rank (maybe you upset). but a whole row of brazil england colombia ireland losses wouldn't work. not as ranking bait and from what i have seen, not as team building either.

    i think a lot of eurosnobs confuse the work teams do with their roster, and coaching, and such, to prepare for their difficult schedules, with the schedule itself doing the work. you don't get better from playing brazil. you get better by being motivated by the prospect of a game to get the right players, coaches, etc.

    i think tough games are useful as tournament prep for good teams who need to test themselves. but you have to already be a good team that just needs a test, for it to be worthwhile. otherwise, you really only need one such game periodically to show your young or lackluster team what they need to aspire to. there is no point in getting drilled over and over. you want your team to learn how to win, and how to execute the scheme, and to show who can play. if everyone looks bad and the team is under too much pressure to execute the game may be a wake up but it serves little team building purpose. when you need that team building is when you are first in the region and want to go deeper at the World Cup.
     
  11. owian

    owian Member+

    May 17, 2002
    San Diego
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    First I accept that any format Concacaf goes with is going to have it's problems no matter what. But seriously this one?

    My first major issue and really the one that is a non starter for me is the use of FIFA rankings straight into the HEX. Using them for entrance into the Semi-Final or seedings is fair enough but to use them as a free pass for six clubs straight into the HEX is incredibly unfair.

    Second issue is I actually like WCQ. Yes watching the US under dim flood lights in the middle of the Jungle or on a cricket pitch in the islands may not be everyone's cup of tea but you can't argue it's not a challenge. These games aren't pretty or even enjoyable for fans or players, but they are truly competitive in every sense of the word. Now we're losing 6 of them from the calendar. Bummer.
     
  12. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    teams that finished ahead of us last qualifying played african and asian sides. we even used to do that. more of our arrogance talking.

    if playing uefa and conmebol solved our problems it would already be done.
     
  13. Mantis Toboggan M.D.

    Philadelphia Union
    United States
    Jul 8, 2017
    If we needed more "official" international games, how about a single elimination cup played over the course of each 4-year cycle? Base it on the FA Cup, matchups and hosts decided by blind draw (minnows without funds to travel can get subsidies from FIFA or if they're playing a big name team host in a 3rd country for a money grab), higher teams in the FIFA rankings enter in later rounds as necessary to make the brackets work.

    It would be a fun tournament, lots of weird and unique matchups, opportunities for road trips we would never get to see otherwise (USA @ Thailand or Macau anyone?), without adding too many games to the schedule and they could play the final in places like Dubai or Singapore to get a money grab without having to give those places a full World Cup.

    You could even have an additional money grab in the form of a Super Cup played between the WC and knockout cup champions of each cycle, similar to the Charity Shield.
     
  14. Mantis Toboggan M.D.

    Philadelphia Union
    United States
    Jul 8, 2017
    I hadn't seen that it's a one game playoff.

    I'm now suspicious that CONCACAF schemed up this whole thing to try and rig a high-stakes playoff game between two teams with large US immigrant populations which would then of course be played at an NFL stadium with tickets starting at $80. Jamaica vs El Salvador in DC, something like that.
     
  15. Casper

    Casper Member+

    Mar 30, 2001
    New York
    Basically completely eliminating the semifinal round of qualifying, trading it for a 29-team tournament for the chance to be a higher ranked team for the chance to beat a higher ranked team to make the world cup.

    The gap between #6 and #7 in the FIFA rankings is incredibly huge in this format. But it does guarantee home and home US-Mexico games in the Hex.

    And if you're psyched because you're currently #5 or #6 and automatically get in the Hex ... just wait until you're #8 next time and feel like it's nearly impossible to make the World Cup.
     
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  16. manfromgallifrey91

    Swansea City
    United States
    Jul 24, 2015
    Wyoming, USA
    Club:
    Southampton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My guess is this was one of the reasons of the change. US/Mex having to go to Honduras or T&T and play in a not so ideal situation. But thats what makes CONCACAF hard to qualify from, so eliminating that and theres actually a better chance of getting the best teams to the WC.


    If it were me making the qualifiers, I think Id go with the top performing teams in some way, and if they chose FIFA as their basis I am not super upset. I think Maybe top 4 straight to the hex(I like ELO better, but its all subjective unless you come up with a new formula strictly based on Nations League/CONCACAF results) with the next 6 making it to the knockouts with the top 2 of the next group. Play h/a in that group and the top 2 go to the hex. Then let the traditional hex play out. But as others have stated, with the Nations League there may just not be enough dates to do it. All in all, its not really fair but its not necessarily bad.
     
  17. gogorath

    gogorath Member

    None
    United States
    May 12, 2019
    That's why my biggest issue is how far back FIFA rankings go. I'm fine using some kind of rankings, but they should allow for the teams that performed better recently.
     
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  18. Mantis Toboggan M.D.

    Philadelphia Union
    United States
    Jul 8, 2017
    Is that really a danger though? Mexico/US/CR have never failed to make the Hex, and once you're in the Hex it doesn't matter, still the same 3.5 spots out of 6 (this change wouldn't have made us qualify last cycle or keep Mexico from being seconds from not qualifying the cycle before).

    This has the biggest impact on the Jamaica, Honduras, Panama, Canada, T&T type teams in that three of them will arbitrarily be granted passage to the Hex and the others will have an Everest-sized hill to climb...when they should decide it amongst themselves on the field.
     
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  19. Sebsasour

    Sebsasour Member+

    New Mexico United
    May 26, 2012
    Albuquerque NM
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If we do manage to qualify through the hex, that will be a 14 month gap between our last qualifier and Qatar.

    I'm torn on that. On the one hand that's a really long time between important matches, on the other hand there'll be plenty of time to integrate new players that we're scared to toss into qualifiers
     
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  20. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    I played for a youth club team that won 2 state titles. Against the mediocre-to-bad teams you would routinely hear "wow, we learned a lot playing you," as you went through the line after beating them. Those teams generally didn't join the elite the next season just for that experience. It cannot possibly work that way -- that the teams that play up improve -- because not everyone could as a matter of fact. There is always a winner and a loser. Not all the losers can get better for playing winners. And the reality is that the teams that closed the gap went out and got a different trainer/coach, or upgraded their roster. The teams saying they learned so much usually actually didn't, and stayed down the table. Bluntly, it sounds like loser talk to me.

    Now, one or two games playing up can teach you whether your coach is competent and which players to drop. Or can perhaps teach you to alter how you play to adjust to the level. But the game doesn't make you better. What makes you better is if in the aftermath you change players, coaches, tactics, or go work on your skills or fitness or thought processes. You make you better. If you play that high level team better next time -- you made that happen. They didn't. All they did is show you, you needed work.

    Cause, for example, the idea that what we needed to do is hone this same set of players in the same tactics against a better team......haha.....probably similar result next time. Like definitional insanity. You get better by saying next time we can boom it when need be, Boyd plays, Weah and Sargent get called, Arriola is bench, Pulisic is wide left, Bradley is gone, Ream is gone, Roldan is gone, etc. By literally being a different team next time. Not by trying to force the same ideas twice and "getting better at it." By doing something else.

    Like someone was saying about "a step up," you need to be in the neighborhood of these teams to really learn lessons other than triage.
     
  21. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

    Oct 30, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That would be a fun idea, because of all the opponents we'd normally never see. I've been wanting to see this kind of thing for a long time.

    Of course there are quality teams in Africa and Asia. I didn't say taking away Europe takes away all the worthwhile friendly opponents, I said it takes away about half of them. I'd estimate that about 30 European countries are a good test, and about 30 countries in the rest of the world. Taking away half of the decent friendly opponents has an effect. Also, with all confederations having different qualifying schedules, taking away any confederation from the possible friendly opponents means we're stuck with more friendlies against CONCACAF opponents we already see all the time.
     
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  22. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    We can create and host tournaments of our own. We used to have US Cup. They talked about doing it in 2018 when we were out -- and most of the world wasn't in Russia -- having a tournament with teams like Italy that had their own rough go. We then didn't follow through for whatever reason.

    Now, it wouldn't be an international date, but this team is about half and half where in either January or the summer you can get half the team as offseason.

    For example, Curacao won the King's Cup in Thailand before playing the Gold Cup. King's Cup was a 4 team little minitournament with semis and then the winners play a final and the losers for 3rd place. The teams in King's Cup were meh but no we could probably attract something better.
     
  23. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    #98 juvechelsea, Jul 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
    The US is probably right up there -- or even past -- the most desired friendly locations like London. We have a good team that provides a test for the elite, and someone to punch up against for the second tier. I think it's lame and still kind of Euro-centric or -philic to obsess about whether UEFA is available each time. I think we would have no problem getting games of the desired quality from even a shrinked set. Because we are near top of the list that everyone else wants to go. For the vacation. For the weather. For the soccer.

    Actually, I think it's kind of lazy like the people who seem to want the roster almost picked by where you play club. I don't have to think. I just do the obvious. I think a lot of stuff done recently behind the claim of helping the team is lazy stereotyping for which there is no objective validation it helps one bit.

    FWIW, with a tournament in Qatar, how about we not host everyone for everything? How about we get at least somewhat used to traveling half around the globe and needing to still get a result? And considering how we did in the last Hex, how about some away friendlies in the region? Like we might not advance just by winning home games 4-0. Like we might need to win a game away from home. I realize this would tie down the cash cow, but how about what the soccer team needs?
     
  24. CMeszt

    CMeszt Member+

    SUM Cabal Executive Director
    Jan 9, 2004
    3 blocks from "SoccerHouse", Chicago
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    I'd consider that a good thing, considering guys like McKennie and Adams didn't get their first cap until Couva was over.
     
  25. CMeszt

    CMeszt Member+

    SUM Cabal Executive Director
    Jan 9, 2004
    3 blocks from "SoccerHouse", Chicago
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Unless they try this for the June or January dates, I have a hard time seeing much similarity between the week of FIFA dates and the two months of World Cup camp.

    Ironically, Klinsmann did this, to his credit, traveling to Brazil for a trial run at Sao Paulo's facilities.
     

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