Qualification system needs changing.

Discussion in 'CONCACAF' started by DoyleG, Jul 28, 2002.

  1. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator
    Staff Member

    FC Edmonton
    Canada
    Jan 11, 2002
    Victoria, BC
    Club:
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    Many of you belive that CONCACAF deserves and extra .5 a spot or a full spot, the qualifying sytem will have to be changed. FIFA would accept another spot going to CONCACAF as long as their is a new qualifying system in place.
     
  2. thurd

    thurd New Member

    Jul 31, 2001
    Melrose, MA
    whts the new system?
     
  3. Concacaf

    Concacaf New Member

    Feb 13, 2001
    Nürnberg, Germany
    Where did you get that from?
     
  4. Tick

    Tick Member

    Sep 30, 2000
    Rochester, NY
    Simple enough... go to an octagonal instead of a hexagonal.

    Before the Great Post Dump, someone had posted a good qualification system from start to finish that resulted in the same number of games, roughly, and ended with an ocatagonal. Looked good to me.
     
  5. CrewDust

    CrewDust Member

    May 6, 1999
    Columbus, Ohio
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Fourteen game final round is way to many, espically for the teams that would have to play in now.
     
  6. Tick

    Tick Member

    Sep 30, 2000
    Rochester, NY
    CrewDust, that's only two more games, and if you read photar's plan, it's fewer games overall.

    South America has, what, 18 games in its group stage. We can have 14 just fine.
     
  7. blech

    blech Member+

    Jun 24, 2002
    California
    Unless I'm mistaken, it's actually 4 more games (as they are currently playing only 10 in the last round. Also, don't forget that this is the last round, and that there are games that have to be played in advance of it to narrow it down to only 8 teams (if we go to octagonal). It may be the way to go, but if I remember the proposal, it involved byes through most of the early rounds for US, Mexico, etc. Obviously, sorting out those kinds of details will take some time and consideration.

    Perhaps it makes as much sense to split CONCACAF into two groups (with some kind of seeding based on historical performance), have those groups play preliminary rounds to narrow themselves down to 5 or 6 teams each, and then have those 5 or 6 teams play their group finals in a round-robin format. The top team in each group would automatically advance to the World Cup, while the next 2 teams in each group could play a 4-team round robin (or a sudden death playoff) against each other for 3rd and 4th place (3rd advancing and 4th going into the playoff for the half spot). It would seem like this would reduce the total number of games (but could result in good teams being squeezed out on occasion).
     
  8. Tick

    Tick Member

    Sep 30, 2000
    Rochester, NY
    Sorry, I'm dumb. 4 games it is. Anyway, I still prefer photar's plan over any plan with split qualifying groups leading directly to WC qualification.
     
  9. SJJ

    SJJ Member

    Sep 20, 1999
    Royal Oak, MI, USA
    Club:
    Michigan Bucks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In the days of BC (before crash), someone posted an idea to have all confederations run under the same qualifying format. With some tweakings by me, here was the idea:

    Each confederation would have home-and-home playdowns, to get their teams into group play. All group play would be four-team groups, six games. Top two of each group would qualify, with some playoffs as necessary.

    So for Concacaf, if they have 4 bids: three rounds of home-and-home (h+h) rounds to get 35 down to 8. Play two groups of four, top two in each group qualify. (Twelve matchdates, top 3 teams play 10 games.)

    If they have 3 bids, same format to get down to 8, play two groups. Group winners qualify, second-place teams play-off. (Fourteen matchdates, top teams play 12 or 10.)

    If they have 3.5 bids, same format, group winners and better second-place qualify, other second place has play-off with other conferation.

    Even the two group winners could have a h+h for the unofficial champion of the confederation.

    If Eufa has 14 bids, only need one round to get 51 down to 28. Play seven groups, top two in each group qualify. (Only eight matchdates, top teams play 6.)

    The beauty is that each confederation plays the same schedule. All group play is begun and ended on the same matchdates. (Probably fewer games played overall, also, and Fifa has expressed a concern of playing too many games.)
     
  10. Qdog

    Qdog Member

    May 8, 2002
    Andalusia
    Club:
    Sevilla FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Sorry SJJ, but that would never work. It would take cooperation and FIFA and the confederations working for the good of soccer. ;)
     
  11. Tick

    Tick Member

    Sep 30, 2000
    Rochester, NY
    I disagree that it would be for the good of soccer. Splitting qualification groups leads to imbalanced groups and weak teams qualifying.

    Who thinks China was better than Iran? Nobody, yet China qualified because Asia split their final qualifying groups. It sucks.
     
  12. empennage

    empennage Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Phoenix, AZ
    Good point.

    Single table is the only way to go for the final round of qualifying.
     
  13. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator
    Staff Member

    FC Edmonton
    Canada
    Jan 11, 2002
    Victoria, BC
    Club:
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    The only reason CHina got in was because both Japan and Korea got spots as the host. If only one of those countires got to host, the other would qualify at the expense of China.
     
  14. eldiablito

    eldiablito New Member

    Jun 8, 2000
    in Sagy's shadow
    That's not quite true. The reason China got in was because their group (B) was easy--both Iran and Saudi Arabia were in the other group (A). If Japan was the sole host of WC02, there was nothing preventing Korea from being drawn into group A as well. China could have still qualified. That's just the proverbial luck of the draw, which is why most fans prefer a single group. The more groups you have, the more likely you end up with a group of death or a weak group. Look at European qualifying for several examples.
     
  15. StymieG

    StymieG New Member

    Oct 9, 2000
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I'm pretty sure the top 4 of the final 10 Asian teams (Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and Uzbekistan) were seeded, with 2 drawn into each group. If Korea had to qualify (and Asia had 3.5 slots + host), China would have been drawn with 1 of Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Korea. If they finished top of their group, or won a playoff with the other second-place team, it would be hard to argue they didn't deserve to go to the Cup.

    Sure, an 8-team final group would be more fair than 2 4-team groups. But the reality is that many of the best players in TFC play in Europe, and we need to keep the number of qualification matches played down, not increase it. I know someone a while back suggested a system with an octagonal that required no team to play more qualifiers than they currently do. But I'm also pretty sure (correct me if I'm wrong...) that involved giving some teams byes all the way to the final round. I think that would be even less fair than 2 4-team groups.
     
  16. Captain Canuck

    Captain Canuck New Member

    May 13, 2002
    Unless Concacaf plays 1 single group of 35 teams there is always going to be the problem of having stronger & weaker qualification groups so I'm not sure it a good reason to not go with two groups of 4 for the final 8 teams. In 2000, had Panama not finished ahead of Honduras in their preliminary group, we could have had a semi-final group of these four teams -

    Mexico
    Canada
    T&T
    Honduras

    - with only 2 even making it to the final round.

    Conversely, Panama would have ended up in this group:

    Jamaica
    El Salvador
    Panama
    St.Vincent

    By far a weaker group. What this indicates is that it is very easy - almost probable - for the hex not to actually feature the 6 best teams in the region, because there is already a semi-final group of death (one which has considerably less margin of error than the hex) that can knock out one or two stronger teams than those that do make it to the hex, coming out of a weaker group. If the Hex doesn't feature the best teams in the region playing each other head to head, then it is time for it to be changed in some way.

    I also have concerns about strong teams in the region being eliminated 2 years in advance of the World Cup, which the existing system can do.

    Assuming an extra spot or half is given, I'm in favour of increasing the number of teams that make it to the final round (or a final round, whether it be two groups of 4, 1 group of 8 or even 2 groups of 5) to allow for a greater margin of error in the earlier rounds. I'm sure that a system can be introduced which results in less games overall. And with the Gold Cup now scheduled in the summer, including one for 2005, I wonder if we won't see 2 groups of 4 instead of one group of 8.
     
  17. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    In my opinion, any system that doesn't involve the USA playing Mexico is not worth having.

    Forza Octagonal!
     
  18. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2000
    IOWA
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Absolutely, CONCACAF needs to have teams playing their toughest competition. Remember Portugal and Netherlands competed against Cyprus, Estonia, and Andorra during World Cup Qualification.
     
  19. GIO17

    GIO17 Member

    Nov 29, 1998
    If CONCACAF does get a fourth spot to get a team into the next World Cup, then I have no problems having an 8 team final round shootout. It would be very interesting to see our boys fight out with the stronger teams as well with the weaker teams, playing more matches like they do in South America.

    If there is going to be four groups of four in the semi-final round of Qualifying. Here is what has to be done.

    Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, & USA will get automatic bids. (The three North Zone participants & Costa Rica because they were able to qualify for the World Cup in the Final Round in 2001).

    In Pot #1 the North Zone countries & Costa Rica
    In Pot #2 Thru #4 are the countries from both Central American Zone & Caribbean Zone.

    o.k. Pot #1 will be used for the top of each Semi-Final Group Group B will have Canada as B1, Group C will have Costa Rica as C1, Mexico will get D1, & the USA will get E1. Then everything else will get picked in Pots #2 thru #4 and fill in the remaining 12 slots in all four groups.

    There you have your Octogonial Final. You spread out the top strong countries as much as possible, because you don't want a USA Vs Mexico in the Semi-Finals, even though it would be nice, but at least you can set up final round of Qualifying with the schedule of having the USA Vs Mexico.
     
  20. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator
    Staff Member

    FC Edmonton
    Canada
    Jan 11, 2002
    Victoria, BC
    Club:
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    You forgot Ireland, which qualified over the Netherlands. In UEFA, even the weakest team cannot be underestimated.
     
  21. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    I have, at long last, come to the conclusion that WC qualifying doesn't need to be rethought.

    Instead, the WC needs to be expanded to 48 teams, starting in 2014.

    Check out the "FIFA and Tournaments" board for my complete proposal.
     
  22. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    The problem with any qualification system is that there are nine teams in CONCACAF that tower over the other 26: Costa Rica, Mexico, USA, Honduras, Jamaica, T & T, Guatemala, El Salvador and Canada. In the last two qualfying campagins, these nine teams went a combined 48-4-2 (W-D-L) when playing the other 26 CONCACAF nations (Panama had one of the wins and three of the draws, Barbados had one win and Cuba one draw). These are the only nine teams with a realistic chance of qualifying for the WC Finals. Since it is unfortunately not possible to have a nine team finals, any qualification system, even an octagonal, is going to leave one of these teams home two full years before the WC Finals.

    However, having an octagonal does at least reduce the number of quality sides watching from home from three to only one. Also, a look at the previous two campaigns reveals that each time one of the nine quality CONCACAF sides was significantly worse than the other eght (T & T in 1998, Canada in 2002). These teams would have been left out of an octagonal (had there been one) each of the last two times, and justice would have been served.

    Also, while those nine teams tower over the rest (with Panama a distant 10th), there are also large gaps between those nine. UISA, Mexico and Costa Rica have demonstrated superiority over the otehr six, while Honduras and Jamaica are noticeably better than T & T, El Salvador, Canada and Guatemala.
     
  23. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    So, even though it would extend the qualification campaign by a few matches for a few teams, here is a revised version of an octagonal that I believe would be the most fair, and come closest to making certain that the 3.5 best CONCACAF teams qualify for the WC Finals:

    Prelims (Nov. 2003-Jan 2004). Home-away knockout, winner of each pool advances to semifinals:

    Pool 1: Panama, BVI, Dominica, T & C, Montserrat
    Pool 2: Cuba, Belize, Bermuda, USVI
    Pool 3: St. V & G, Surinam, Caymans, Puerto Rico
    Pool 4: Haiti, Grenada, Guyana, Anguilla
    Pool 5: A & B, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Nicaragua
    Pool 6: St. K & N, Dom Rep., Neth. Ant., Aruba

    Semifinals (March 2004-June 2004). Home-away round robin, top two from each group advance to the octagonal:

    Group A: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Canada, prelim 6
    Group B: Mexico, Guatemala, Barbados, prelim 5
    Group C: USA, T & T, prelim 1, prelim 4
    Group D: Honduras, Jamaica, prelim 2, prelim 3

    Octagonal Final (September 2004-November 2005). Home-away round robin, top three advance to WC Finals, 4th place advance to playoff.

    Yeah, its longer than the current system, but only for five teams (USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Canada). However, it also takes place over a longer period of time, thus not increasing fixture crowding. It even leaves a time gap for a couple of CONCACAF teams to take part in Copa America.

    Of course, it would only ever work if the Gold Cup took place once every four years, but so what? The Gold Cup should be once every four years (in the summer the year after the WC), and it should have 16 teams. Turning the Gold Cup into a real CONCACAF championship seems like a small price to pay for making the WCQ system fair and thorough.

    So let's get that extra 0.5, and let's do this thing.
     
  24. SJJ

    SJJ Member

    Sep 20, 1999
    Royal Oak, MI, USA
    Club:
    Michigan Bucks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A six-game semi-final, THEN a 14-game final? Yeesh.
     
  25. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    Yeah, just start it earlier.

    It is in the interest of the entire confed for the best 3.5 teams to qualify out of the region. In order to assure this, we need a slightly longer qualifying round that avoids semifinal groups of death, and seminfinal cake walks.
     

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