Although it was a massive blow to watch the European leagues come to a halt and have to suffer through international qualifiers a few weeks ago, there have been some very interesting stories to come from the qualifying and there will be many more stories to burst forth once the playoffs have finished. However, as elections for high ranking officials in world soccer loom on the horizon, new ideas are being put forth that challenge some of the oldest footballing ideals. The biggest? To expand the World Cup to accommodate 40 teams instead of the current format of 32.
To think that some great international squads might miss out on the main event that only occurs every four years always makes intriguing build up, but the Cup will suffer once the tournament actually arrives. To think that Ibrahimovich or CR7 will be missing the Cup in 2014 is something that scares the average fan and something that scares the wallets of all those invested in the World Cup. Adding eight more squads would make sure that all of the best can qualify and still allowing a few smaller teams the ability to sneak into the biggest competition in football. Plus, more teams would equal even more games and every fan of football would be a fan of having more fixtures. Let’s make this happen asap!
Although the idea of forty teams in the World Cup would make you think that the better teams would have an easier time qualifying, you might end up being wrong. Most of the FIFA higher-ups think that a forty team expansion would give more qualifying spots to Asia and to Africa…two continents that (with the exception of Ghana and the Women’s World Cup) rarely put teams into the competition that impress or make deep runs. Do any of the CONCACAF viewers feel that more of our qualifying teams should qualify? Not if you actually watched the games. Although the World Cup is supposed to include groups from across the world, the premise of the competition lends itself to having the best squads battling it out. If that means it looks shockingly like the Euro’s, then so be it. Expanding would water down the competition and the qualifiers would be even more droll…keep things the way they are!
The World Cup is currently fighting to be seen as being on equal footing with the Champions League. Until the past decade, there has been no doubt that the World Cup was better…but, the Champions League is now seen by some players and managers as the ultimate footballing competition. In order for the Cup to rise back to the top, there are definitely a few issues that need to be addressed. Will the World Cup rise again? Or will it continue to fall as the Champions League continues to rise above the international competition? The times…they are a changin’…