What if... 64 Team World Cup

Discussion in 'FIFA and Tournaments' started by mrliioadin, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. mrliioadin

    mrliioadin New Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    Hagerstown, MD
    I've been thinking a lot about the quality of some of the teams left out of major competitions so I decided to put pen to paper and look at what a 64 team world cup would look like.

    I'm assuming they would go with 16 groups.

    First, You double the groups therefore doubling the number of groupstage games. More of these could be played concurrently so the timeframe wouldn't really need to be expanded. This would require more venues however. Poorer nations might not be able to host. South Africa probably wouldn't have gotten the bid under this system.

    In terms of total number of games. Each group plays 6 matches in a four team round robin. 6x8 = 24 games at present. Doubling it obviously means there would be 48 group stage matches. From there you have 32 teams in the knockout stage which means 32 matches. Each team is eliminated once and a 3rd place match is played.

    Rather than 64 games at the world cup you would be looking at 80 matches. Not that many more assuming I did my math right.

    In terms of alocated spots. We wouldn't see the Netherlands sitting at home on the couch as in '02. To stay with the current pace of UEFA getting just under half of the seeds I estimate they would get about 27 spots. My recommendation would be to give them 24 spots and have three teams play a playoff against another confederation. The top seeded team could play OFC's winner. UEFA's 26th and 27th could play CONMEBOL's 10th and 9th.

    So:

    UEFA - 24 spots & 3 playoffs
    CONMBEOL - 8 spots & 2 playoffs
    OFC - 1 playoff spot

    - UEFA 25th vs OFC 1st
    - UEFA 26th vs CONMEBOL 10th
    - UEFA 27th vs CONMEBOL 9th

    CONCACAF - 7 spots
    AFC - 8 spots
    CAF - 13 spots

    Numbers could be adjusted with more intercontinental playoffs to decide the exact number that gets to go.

    The teams I had in mind when I came up with these numbers are listed below. Teams in () are the teams I expected might get a playoff spot. Of course there is no way to know unless the games were actually played.

    Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Colombia, (Bolivia), (Chile)

    Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Czech Republic, Croatia, England, Turkey, Romania, Scotland, Bulgaria, (Denmark), Greece, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Israel, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, (Slovakia), Switzerland, Sweden, Ukraine, (Wales)

    (New Zealand)

    USA, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica

    Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Australia, Korea Republic, China, Qatar, Uzbekistan

    Angola, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Mali, Egypt, Congo DR, Guinea, Morocco, South Africa

    Anyway, I fully understand that FIFA isn't likely to do this any time soon. Maybe years down the road. But I thought I would throw the thought out there and see what people thought of the idea.

    They had talked about going to 36 teams or something but it really wouldn't make a difference in my opinion.

    Discuss!
     
  2. vancity eagle

    vancity eagle Member+

    Apr 6, 2006
    As a spectacle, I wouldn't mind it. I personally can't get enough international soccer and we have to wait every 4 years for a WC, so why not, but logistically it would be a real mess, and like you said only a few nations would be able to host, and even for them it would probably be very tough. I wouldn't want the WC to always be hosted just between a few countries, that would kind of discredit the whole thing.
     
  3. glennaldo_sf

    glennaldo_sf Member+

    Deportivo Wanka, Semen Padang, Dinamo Bender, Fotballaget Fart
    United States
    Nov 25, 2004
    Doha, Qatar
    Club:
    FL Fart Vang Hedmark
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Nice to see Sepp Blatter has become a Bigsoccer poster :p



    I think they should make it 128 teams. Nah, screw it... hand some places to non-official countries, the 50 US states, some breakaway republics of breakaway former soviet republics and invite some other planets along and make it 256 teams!

    Seriously guys though... the world cup has, in my opinion reached a threshehold of 32 teams for the time being.
     
  4. JLSA

    JLSA Member

    Nov 11, 2003
    I'm pretty sure than 6x8 is 48. So twice that would be 96.

    Total games in a 64 team world cup would be 128 (if you have a 3/4 playoff).

    To put that in a bit of perspective, the total number of games in the Premier League over 9-10 MONTHS is 380, so you are planning roughly 3 times as many games per day in this tournament.

    J
     
  5. mrliioadin

    mrliioadin New Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    Hagerstown, MD

    Ha you're right. I guess I wasn't paying attention. The principal stays the same though. If they were to do it instead of 2 games per day you would play for example. If they didn't increase the number of venues though, I'm sure the fields would be in pretty rough shape by the end of it.

    If you're going to argue against an idea try an actual arguement. Not to mention if you read the post I clearly state that I have no illusions of FIFA adopting this format in the near future.
     
  6. Leopejo

    Leopejo New Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    Finland
    An actual argument apart from logistics and adding half a week to one week because of the first playoff round?

    1. You'll take away all the drama from two years of WC qualifications, at least in Europe.

    2. With today's format, as much as some strong teams don't make it every time, especially Europeans, some definitely weak teams make it, especially Asian. Having twice the teams means more weak teams and useless games.

    3. Another lesser argument: one of the strengths of the FIFA WC as it is now is that you can potentially see all the matches live, apart from the third round in the group phase (for fairness purposes only). If you want to limit the time increase to that 0.5/1 weeks mentioned above, you'll have to play multiple games at the same time.

    4. Finally, I wouldn't like having 16 teams seeded as the strongest ones. With today's system, the two strongest teams may meet in the quarterfinal round. With your system, the two strongest teams may already meet in the 16-team round - unless you introduce some tennis-like seeding.
     
  7. Rig1964

    Rig1964 Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Nottingham
    Club:
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    They are not left out.
    Everyone has the opportunity to enter the qualifiers, if they fail to qualify that isn't being left out, that's not being good enough.
     
  8. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Any more than 32 teams and the tournament just becomes unwieldly...if there were 16 groups, most people aren't going to be following most of the action in the group phase, so the excitement will be somewhat dispersed. There will be great games, comebacks, upsets, and heroic efforts by no-hopers that most people won't have seen. It will be that much harder for any compelling storylines to develop early. In general, fans worldwide won't be on the same page until the knockout rounds.

    Also, the qualifying campaigns will be much, much less interesting and exciting. Basically, if you're a decent team with your act together, you should qualify without too much trouble. That's boring.

    And while I'm a US Soccer fan and I stick up for CONCACAF, I'm thinking that if my region sends six teams to the WC instead of 3 or 4, that's not going to increase the level of play, to put it kindly. And how many more teams could South America send? There's only 10 teams in COMNEBOL; would letting Peru AND Chili AND maybe even Bolivia make the tournament better?

    It's not an awful idea, but I don't think it would work.
     
  9. mrliioadin

    mrliioadin New Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    Hagerstown, MD
    First of all, I told glennaldo_sf to present an arguement in his post. You hadn't posted yet. You'll notice I quoted him.

    I agree there would be less drama in Europe. But I also believe there are more than 13 teams in europe capable of competing at the world cup and many are eliminated by FIFA's choice to limit their spots. In a 32 team tournament 13 is about the highest they could be awarded fairly though. I'm more concerned about the African nations who are eliminated by simple math.

    You can call asia weak all you like but Iran, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Korea Republic, Japan are all stronger nations than they are given credit for. If you look at 5 spots awarded to asian teams 2 of them reached the knockout stages since 2002, One reached the semifinals and while Saudi Arabia and Iran didn't have the greatest cups in the last couple of years, they are coming along and more world cup appearances creates better teams.


    I have no idea what you are talking about in your third arguement. Of course I mentioned you could keep the time frame identical to the 32 team tournament and double the number of matches played per day. So instead of 2 matches we would see 4.

    As far as your fourth arguement. I would have thought the idea would be to have the best two teams play each other in the final. But that doesn't always happen no matter how much planning you do.

    So... Egypt, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Guinea and Morocco, Tunisia could all qualify for the same world cup? If there are 9 teams that are of a high enough quality to compete at the world cup it is FIFAs decision to leave 3 or 4 of them at home. 8 deserving teams are forced to compete for only 5 spots.

    You could say that is the case now. Of course with any sport the majority of attention is shown in the later stages. How many Americans don't watch the NFL but always sit down for the super bowl?

    The fanatics will follow all of the games. The leisurely viewer would watch as they pleased and would be as likely to miss a great game with 32 or 64 teams.

    That's a fair arguement. But it also depends on the region. Africa would be much more entertaining I believe with a few more spots to play for. It's a very deep continent. CONMEBOL and UEFA wouldn't be as thrilling but I think it would be a bit more fair.

    I always believe that Guatemala would be a very interesting appearance in the world cup. I don't like their style. I think in many cases they are just out to hurt somebody but you have to admit, it makes the game tougher to play and it's something that the world cup hasn't really seen. We know teams like Trinidad and Tobago can play in the world cup. Jamaica is good enough and with more world cup appearances they would see more players in more european leagues which ultimately increases a nations ability.

    Canada has a very strong team with a sturdy midfield and pretty good strikers. Their are a few holes on the team but they are certainly good enough.

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

    The other arguement I wanted to make here is this. Rather than picking exactly how many teams from each continent belong in the world cup finals. Let them play and decide for themselves. This is the idea with the awarding of half a spot. But I think more places than that could be contested.

    What if, in a 32 team tournament:

    UEFA was awarded 7 automatic spots. with 7 playoff spots
    CONMEBOL was awarded 3 Automatic spots with 5 playoff spots
    CONCACAF was awarded 2 automatic spots with 2 playoff spots
    AFC was awarded 3 automatic spots with 4 playoff spots
    OFC was awarded 1 playoff spot
    CAF was awarded 4 automatic spots with 5 playoff spots

    That gives you 19 automatic spots going to the best of the best in each region. Then, with 24 playoff spots and 12 remaining places at the world cup you allow the teams to prove that they belong at the world cup rather than just assuming that the 12th best team in Europe is more deserving than the 6th best in Africa.

    Europe would have to prove they are more deserving of all of the spots they recieve and would have the potential to gain a few more. They could in theory send 14 teams. But this way Africa would have the chance to prove that they deserve to send up to 9 teams.

    Perhaps this is a better solution than simply expanding the tournament.
     
  10. Leopejo

    Leopejo New Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    Finland
    I won't reply, but at least I'll try to explain one point better:
    Right now, all games are played at different times (apart from the third gameday of each group, because of fairness). This means one could sit in front of tv and watch 56 games live - and 8 from the tape.

    To fit those 64 games in the 32 days taken by a World Cup, you need to have 3 games a day for the group phase, 4 games a day in the last game days of the group phase and 2 games a day in the first playoff round.

    You just can't double the matches per day if you want to have all games played at different times. The first game has to start at 3 pm or 4 pm, the last not after 9 pm. That's 3 games a day.
     
  11. mrliioadin

    mrliioadin New Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    Hagerstown, MD
    Ok, that's fair. If you did double the number of matches per day they would have to run concurrently therefore a viewer would have to watch on tape delay.

    I think we are years away from a 64 team tournament. It was just an idea I wanted to throw out there but the idea of the playoffs system I actually like a bit better. Let the teams prove they belong rather than assuming that they do or don't
     
  12. ragan

    ragan New Member

    Jun 23, 2008
    64 is too much. if they would ever expand WC, which i can't see in a long time, they'd do it one of two ways: 40 teams (8 groups of 5 teams [the most likely scenario due to only a 25% increase in number of teams]), or 48 teams (12 groups of 4 teams or 8 groups of 6).

    in a 40 team system they'd give OPL one guaranteed spot, give uefa one or two more, concacaf 4, 1 more to africia, and they'd have a bit more extra qualification between confederations. anyways to the tourny, they'd have 5 teams instead of 4, increasing the length of the tournament to 3 more days. having one more team would make it a lot more interesting. a stumble early would allow a team to come back, and the power houses of the world would have a more difficult time advancing, making sure the best of the best 16 would advance. very few though teams like turkey would advance into knock-out rounds. that's the only downside.

    in a 48 team system just keep giving away spots to confederations. even at 48, instead of 64, if you're somewhat average, you're in unless you F up bad. more feel good countries would be into the tourny, which is a good thing. as far as the tourney, 12 groups of 4 means we'd have to have a weird setup though. either we'd play it like normal till knockout, 24 teams advance, with the best 8 teams in regards to points (than goal differental, than fifa rankings) get a 'bye' into the second round, and they join the other 16 teams (the 8 who advanced) in the 2nd round, and it would start off like a normal knock-out setup. this is a really unlikely scenario however. it be too much BS and unfair if a country got into a shit group and went 9 points and went +10 GD.

    if it expands it will be 40 teams. i can't see 64, unless we start seeing england, spain, germany, italy, france, us, mexico, brazil, argentina, to start severally strugling to get into WC, if missing it all completely. first time we see brazil/argentina, us/mexico, and 2 super powers from uefa missing the tourny in the same year, is when we'll expand it to 40 teams to make sure it never ever happens again.

    not a bad idea though with 64 teams. its just that way too many teams for WC, only a handful of countries could host it unless they change their rules with venues. and it wouldn't be that good for the game.
     
  13. Sagy

    Sagy New Member

    Aug 6, 2004
    Since 1990, 14 non-host AFC teams (excluding 2006 Australia) have played 43 games they have 4 wins 8 ties and 31 loses that's a winning percentage of 18.6% (no other Confederations is below 34%) and a GD of -69. I would call that a weak performance.

    So you think that AFC teams have done better in the last three WC (since the expansion to 32 teams)?

    The 10 non-host teams (again without Australia) have played 30 games and they have 2 wins 6 ties and 22 loses, winning percentage of 16.7% (again, no other confederation is below 34%) and a GD of -53 (that's -1.77/game!).

    Last two WCs?

    The 6 non-hosts (still, no Australia) have played 18 games with 1 win, 4 ties and 13 loses winning percentage of 16.7% (still, no other confederation is below 34%) and a GD of -36 (-2.00/game!)

    Even if we add Australia we get (over the last two WCs), 7 non-hosts, 22 games, 2 wins, 5 ties, 22 loses, winning percentages on 20.5% and a GD of -37. Better than before, but still much worse than any other confederation's non-hosts performance.

    Out of all these teams, only Australia (2006, qualified via OFC and a playoff with CSF) and Saudi Arabia (1994) have advanced out of the group stage. On the other hand , 10 of the 14 non-host teams (15 if you include Australia) have finished the group stage either last and win-less or 3rd with a single point.

    All these teams might be "stronger nations than they are given credit for", but with the exception of Australia (1 WC), their overall WC performance has been poor.

    We all believe (I think) that CAF has great potential and deserving teams. But for some reason, as a whole, they under performed. Based on what? in the last 3 WCs CAF had 15 teams, the expected performance is for 7.5 to advance and about 3.75 teams to finish last and win-less or 3rd with a single point (actual is 23/96 so for 15 teams we would expect 3.59). How well did CAF do? 3 teams advanced (less than 1/2 the expected value) and 6 had the poor performance (about 2/3 more than the expected value).

    Did CAF had strong teams left behind? Maybe/probably, but that should be fixed by changing the CAF qualification format, not by adding more spots. BTW, over the same time period, CONCACAF had the same percentage (40%) of poor performing teams, but CONCACAF had twice as high a percentage of teams advancing (40% vs. 20%), the over winning percentage is (35.7% for CAF and 34.3% for CONCACAF; last two WC is about reversed 34.8% vs. 36%) . I don't think that there is anyway to justify more spots for CONCACAF and on the field they not done any worse than CAF.

    I agree with the concept that the intercontinental playoffs is a better solution. However, I don't like the distribution at all. In effect your suggestion has done the following:
    UEFA: 7+7/2 - 13 = -2.5 spots
    CSF: 3+5/2 - 4.5 = +1 spot
    CONCACAF: 2+2/2 - 3.5 = -0.5 spot
    AFC: 3+4/2 - 4.5 = +0.5 spot
    OFC: 0+1/2 -0.5 = 0 spots
    CAF: 4+5/2 - 5 = +1.5 spots

    I can understand CSF getting one more "spot". I could also see why CONCACAF should lose a 0.5 spot. I find it hard to understand (based on objective criteria) what has CAF done to earn an extra 1.5 spots. There is no WC based data to show that their teams have meaningfully outperformed CONCACAF teams (their is data to support CONCACAF has out performed CAF in the last 2,3,4,5 WCs).

    The worst recommendation is UEFA. In the WC UEFA teams have consistently advanced more about 2/3 of their teams and had only about 1 in 10 teams finish last and win-less or 3rd with a single point. UEFA has earned more than its 13 WC spots (same number they had in 1990 and 1994 when the WC was only 24 teams), it is only politics that have taken spots away from it. At the very least restore UEFA to its 2002 position (14.5 = 10+9/2; yes, I know it was 1+13+0.5). I could even understand a 10+12/2 or 11+11/2; if 6 of UEFA's 2nd tier teams can beat the ROW teams 11-21 teams then UEFA earned having more than 1/2 the WC teams.
     
  14. SJJ

    SJJ Member

    Sep 20, 1999
    Royal Oak, MI, USA
    Club:
    Michigan Bucks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    First, just what is this fascination in taking any kind of tournament, and wanting to automatically double its size? (I've seen these discussions from NCAA basketball to the L.H.U.S. Open Cup.)

    Second, I think this jonesing over seeing more teams can be taken care of with the tournaments that we already have: the Africa Cup of Nations, the Asia Cup (of whatever its called), the Oceania championship (I think they run a WCQ, but not a dedicated cup competition), ...

    These should be shown on TV in the USA. And I'm not even asking to see all group-play games; we should at least see the knockout rounds.

    But considering that every time a Concacaf Gold Cup or Copa America approaches, we wonder if we'll be able to see them (in English), I think I'm being a bit too hopeful on this.
     
  15. midknight

    midknight New Member

    Sep 5, 2005
    Paris
    this might be sacrilegious to say on this board....

    but

    There IS such a thing as TOO MUCH FOOTBALL...
     
  16. Beazley17

    Beazley17 Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    South Florida
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Would take away the importance and excitement of World Cup Qualifying. On top of this, too much money would be needed, more stadiums, more security, everything would be busy, and it would probably take a few months. I wouldn't mind seeing it, but it wouldnt work, and 32 is fine for now.
     
  17. FCK4ever

    FCK4ever Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    In the heart of the
    I wish the world cup were totally knock out. It would be fun watching Norway play Cameroon home and away or the USA play Belgium.
     
  18. BocaFan

    BocaFan Member+

    Aug 18, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Which means the World Cup would last for what, 2-and-a-half months?

    If CONCACAF only got 2 spots, that would make qualifying pretty damn uninteresting for everybody except USA, Mexico and possibly Costa Rica.
     
  19. Leopejo

    Leopejo New Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    Finland
    I wonder why San Marino and Andorra qualifying is so damn uninteresting every time. ;)
     
  20. scaryice

    scaryice Member

    Jan 25, 2001
    First of all, I think that the current 32 team World Cup is absolutely perfect due to the number of groups and teams advancing, as well as allowing teams from around the world to qualify without a huge drop in quality.

    But I do like mock draws. So here goes. This is what the groups likely would've looked like had there been 64 teams in the 2006 World Cup. Remember, this is all hypothetical, based on what I think would happen rather than what I would do.

    Host-1
    UEFA-28
    AFC-10
    CAF-10
    CONMEBOL-7
    CONCACAF-7
    OFC-1

    I mainly doubled each confederation's # of teams, except that I figured CONMEBOL would not get 9/10 so I limited them to 7.

    Qualified Teams

    Host-Germany
    UEFA-Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech, Denmark, England, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine
    AFC-Bahrain, China, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Uzbekistan
    CAF-Angola, Cameroon, Congo DR, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia
    CONMEBOL-Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay
    CONCACAF-Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad, USA
    OFC-Australia

    Took the teams that would logically have been next in line, like for example the top 2 from each group in CAF as opposed to just the winner.

    Seeded Teams

    Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, England, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, USA

    I did not go back and do the math, just guessed who would've ranked from 9-16.

    Mock Draw & Groups

    Group A-Germany, Israel, Colombia, Ubzekistan
    Group B-Turkey, Belgium, Togo, Jordan
    Group C-South Korea, Austria, Cote d'Ivoire, Russia
    Group D-Italy, Greece, Australia, North Korea
    Group E-USA, Norway, Nigeria, Bahrain
    Group F-Brazil, Serbia, Ghana, Panama
    Group G-Mexico, Poland, Cameroon, Switzerland
    Group H-Denmark, Portugal, Tunisia, China
    Group I-France, Bosnia, Paraguay, Guatemala
    Group J-Senegal, Hungary, Ecuador, Bulgaria
    Group K-England, Ukraine, Morocco, Iran
    Group L-Spain, Czech, Angola, Costa Rica
    Group M-Sweden, Croatia, Congo DR, Kuwait
    Group N-Netherlands, Slovakia, Uruguay, Trinidad
    Group O-Argentina, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Scotland
    Group P-Japan, Romania, Chile, Honduras
     
  21. vancity eagle

    vancity eagle Member+

    Apr 6, 2006
    wow , no real standout group of death, but even with 64 teams there are still very competitive groups, and in fact many are still tougher than some of the groups we saw in 2006 WC. Unlike what many think, I don't think 64 teams would bring down the quality all that much. It would be interesting to see this for one wC as an experiment.
     
  22. tomwilhelm

    tomwilhelm Member+

    Dec 14, 2005
    Boston, MA, USA
    Club:
    Fulham FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    C and G look like the most interesting groups. Pretty even, relatively speaking.

    Actually, I think P would be a lot of fun to watch. Very interesting mix of teams.
     
  23. AKITOD

    AKITOD Member+

    Apr 5, 2007
    Hobart, Aust
    Club:
    JEF United Ichihara
    Nat'l Team:
    Japan
    64 teams in WC would take out the prestigiousness of qualifying. And drop the standard dramatically. Teams that qualify are somewhat rewarded by being able to play at least one powerhouse nation in their group but you can't do that with 64 teams.
     
  24. rangers00

    rangers00 Member

    Jun 1, 2000
    There is no rule from God saying that games can't start before 3 PM or after 9 PM. For Christ's sake, games in la Liga starts at 10 PM and Beijing Olympics started at 10:15 PM.

    Here is how you play 6 group stage games/day without overlapping:

    12:00
    14:00
    16:00
    18:00
    20:00
    22:00

    There isn't even a rule saying that games cannot start before noon. I've seen games started in the U.K. before noon.

    "If you have one game following another, how do you do pre-game and post-game shows?", you ask?

    Ans: use dual channels (e.g. Skysports1 & Skysports2, BBC & ITV, CBS/CTV & SportsNet, etc.)

    In American college basketball, games are covered wall-to-wall, for 12 straight hours...
     
  25. Leopejo

    Leopejo New Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    Finland
    Right now, there are (crazy, without a life) people who watch all the games. Your proposal is not realistic for them.

    The schedules are also made so that people should be able to assist to most of the games even with normal work schedule, which means leaving a bit earlier if the day's first game is important for them, and not being too late in the evening, considering post-game programs too. Television audience is important you know. And sure, I aknowledge this applies mostly to timezones similar to that of the host country. But that is even more of an issue in other timezones - you may find some hours in awkward times (late at night, early morning, morning at work) to watch the games, but the more the games the more difficult it will be.

    Stadium attendance is important too and while most games will be sold out, it doesn't mean that all those with a ticket go attend a game if it is at awkward times.

    WC is often played in hot weather. Sure, starting at 15.30 is not the best, but 12 and 14 should be avoided - if you don't want to assist to a Brazil - Italy USA '94 final all over again.

    Spain is a peculiar country, where 22.00 is just dinner time. In most other countries 20.45 is the last "acceptable" starting time, sometimes stretched to 21.00, 21.15. The latest starting time in Beijing was at 21.00.

    WC is televised in Europe (and probably much of the world) by national TVs, which often don't have the will or possibility to devote more than one channel to the WC. At the moment satellite TV and terrestrial digital are not widespread enough. Sure this will change in the years (Finland already is digital only).

    With all due respect, American college basketball is not FIFA WC.
     

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