Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CONCACAF Blows It Again

I'm shocked (SHOCKED) to find that CONCACAF has made a terrible decision for changing their qualification process for the World Cup.

For those who don't know, previously there were two knockout stages to determine the 12 countries that would make it to group stage. Every country played at least one knockout stage game, with the top 13 getting byes to the second round. For the group stage, the top two teams from each of the three groups would progress on to the final group of 6, lovingly called The Hex. The Hex was a full home-and-away tournament with the top 3 teams qualifying for the World Cup.

Now, they will expand the group stage to 32 teams. There will initially be 8 groups of 4. The top two from each group will move on to 4 groups of 4. Again the top two from each group move on to 2 groups of 4. The winner of each group automatically qualifies for the World Cup and the two second place teams have a playoff for the third automatic qualifying spot.

So what sucks about this? It's not that there are more teams in it now. That's actually a good thing because it will give teams like the US more easy games, which means more opportunity to try out youngsters.

It's that, under this new format, it's highly likely that the US will never play Mexico in a meaningful WCQ match. Unless something drastic happens the two of us will remain as the best two CONCACAF squads meaning we will never be put in the same group.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty disappointed to know that I will never be able to travel down to the Azteca and watch the USMNT play a game like the fans in the video below.

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