June 28, 2003

Oceania loses World Cup place.: "At a meeting in Paris, FIFA decided extra teams would cause scheduling difficulties. It reneged on a decision to guarantee the region headed by Australia a place in Germany. Like before, the Oceania group winner must play off against a South American team. South America's soccer association had protested losing its playoff place, which would have left it with a maximum four teams at the next World Cup, and proposed adding four more entries to the tournament. As a compromise, it got its playoff back."

I'm glad that the tourney is not getting bigger, but this kind of leaves me with a bad taste in the mouth. What kind of a decision is this? Why promise Oceania a guaranteed place and then go back to where you were just because S. America complains (and uses a very clever tactic of providing an even worse solution)? Was this the best decision?

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 10:51 AM - 11 comments

What I meant to say was: Stupid FIFA!

posted by worldcup2002 at 10:52 AM on June 28, 2003

When was the last time the Oceania champion beat the fifth place SA team to make the finals? Quality or compromise?

posted by billsaysthis at 11:55 AM on June 28, 2003

Good point, bill. I'm not sure about the history, but I'd have to say it was pretty rare. Looks like New Zealand was last in it in 1982 so that was 21 years ago. However, FIFA was still stupid for coming out with that "guarantee" in the first place and then capitulating after the Sud Americanos came up with their own absurd option. If it was so easy to renege, what was the reason to offer it up?

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:02 PM on June 28, 2003

It was an odd decision to start with, they should actually be reducing the Oceania representation, or forcing the likes of Australia to compete in more competetive groups.

posted by Fat Buddha at 03:02 PM on June 28, 2003

I don't see why Australia deserves an automatic place. If they can't beat the 5th place in South America they don't deserve to go.

posted by salmacis at 05:27 PM on June 28, 2003

Seems odd to determine places in the final by geography anyway. They should consider a new format for the qualifying stages: 1. Seed all the national teams that care to enter 2. Divide the teams into four groups (o1) or eight groups (o2), the way the NCAA does for the Big Dance. 3. If o1, top eight teams go forward, otherwise top four. This might lead to fewer spots for Asia and Oceania region countries but better teams sent through and no more mumbling about fairly dividing the spots among regions.

posted by billsaysthis at 08:34 PM on June 28, 2003

billsaysthis: With your model, the 2002 World Cup would probably have been without Sth Korea, Japan, (but then again they were hosting so they'd probably have been there), Turkey or USA... all who exceeded everyone's expectations. Why should Oceania be the only confederation without at least one guaranteed spot at the World Cup? If it doesn't deserve a spot, it doesn't deserve confederation status and should be disbanded with it's members going into the Asian confederation... now lets see the political uproar from the Asians when they have 9 more teams vying for the Asian spots in the World Cup. It's not an issue of whether Oceania (not Australia) deserve a spot... it's why was it "guaranteed" a spot seven months ago?

posted by keks at 08:08 AM on June 29, 2003

keks: Fair or unfair, the spot was pulled and I was just speculating on a future configuration that would put such politics aside. As to why Oceania should not be guaranteed a spot, I believe my previous comment answered that with "quality." I'm not familiar enough with the politics to tell you why the promise was made last year. I also disagree that my options would have left the US or Turkey out since both are in the top 10 rankings and almost certainly have come through the qualifying tourneys. Most likely the last teams to qualify from CONCACAAF, Africa, and South America would have been at risk from European sides that just missed out. I suppose my scheme would need an adjustment to account for the host nation. Easiest would be to include that country in the seedings list and then which ever qualifier they fall into would have one spot in the Finals pre-assigned.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:18 PM on June 29, 2003

Aw, just increase the world cup to 64 teams! Everybody wins! Even Scotland might qualify then.

posted by BigCalm at 10:25 AM on June 30, 2003

Hell, Wales might qualify..

posted by salmacis at 12:57 PM on June 30, 2003

Hell, Australia might qualify. Hey, waitaminute ...

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:31 PM on June 30, 2003

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