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With the qualifying draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil just 6 days away, I figured it would be a good time to start a discussion that will hopefully run at least three years!
Yes, qualifying has technically started as a number of smaller countries have been involved in kinds of pre-qualifying games, but qualifying will get underway in earnest following the draw in Brazil on July 30th. For more information on the draw procedures, you can reference the following site: http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/preliminarydraw/drawformat.html. This page provides an overview and the links to the PDFs on the right provide detailed information for each continent.
I, for one, cannot wait for the qualifying begin. With my Serbia unlikely to qualify for Euro 2012, I'm looking to Brazil 2014 as the next stage for us to make a run on. I also consider the month of the World Cup as the best in any four-year stretch
I know it's reaaaaaaly early, but who is everyone else rooting for and how do they see their team's chances?
The teams I root for are: USA (of course, I live here), England and The Netherlands. I was never really into soccer in the past, but my best friend is from England and he got me into the World Cup in 2006. After that, I ended up living with some kids from the Netherlands at college and really enjoy Queen's Day, so I root for them too!
Geez... USA, England, and The Netherlands - you're setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment slim! Poor old Netherlands should have won it in 1974 when they had the best team in the world but they lost in the final.
Speaking of 1974 here is one of my favourite ever world up moments from Brazil vs Zaire. It is comedy gold.
Of course I hope Australia do well but I don't think we will have the same quality of team as we have had at the last 2 cups. Most of our best players are getting towards the end of their careers and the younger players just aren't at the same level.
One team I will be watching out for is Japan. They have a strong league, some highly skilled players, they have won the Asian Cup and recently the Women's World Cup, so they have an excellent system for developing players set up. With a bit of luck they could be semi-finalists and then after that who knows. They would be a very long shot to win it though!
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Well, if you ask me, anyone who doesn't root for Spain these days is setting themselves up for a lifetime of disappointment Not even the traditional powers of the world like England, Italy, France, Argentina, or Brazil are playing particularly well now. It's all about the Spanish, Dutch and, yes, Uruguayans!
I can't blame any fans of the Dutch - I mean who doesn't enjoy Total Football? Beats Italian Caetannacio as far as entertainment goes, doesn't it? Now if only they could get just along with one another...
Okay, so I grew up in the States which would lead one to think I might be a big fan. Now, I wouldn't say I'm not a fan, but for a long time I was against rooting for them because I'm of European origin and think football is not taken as seriously as it should be in the States. After awhile, though, I came to realize that the team actually has a cool, likable image akin to an up-and-comer trying to prove itself on the world stage. The players themselves are also as classy as they come.
Barbados - how do you view their chances in 2014?
England is probably my least favorite team in the world, and it's all due to their media which I cannot stand. Perhaps I channel my frustration with British media to the team itself.
I think Japan is a very smart pick to do well the next time around. They performed well above expectations last year, and, like Ed pointed out, a strong league that seems to be producing more and more top-class talent (think: Keisuke Honda).
I also think Mexico might make some waves in Brazil. They manhandled the US in that Gold Cup final and looked pretty good doing it.
I fear the same for my Serbia as Ed does for Australia. The best players have passed or will have passed their prime and the new crop does not look as promising. Plus, we're always about 50-50 just to make the tourney only because we have to survive qualifying in Europe...
I'm not keen of sports betting mainly because I'm not keen on sports, but the video was the funniest one I've ever seen on a football pitch LOL
Australia played their first WC2014 qualifier the other day and almost didn't beat Thailand! Australia looked like they were going to try to aerially bombard the Thai penalty area all game. And then Thailand scored with a classic counter attack that was just about the only attack they made in the first half. 2nd half Australia were better (but still looked ordinary), but managed to squeak in an equaliser and a late goal to win it 2-1. A win's a win but it was terrible to watch! Nobody would have been happy after that game - Australian supporters couldn't believe our team could play so bad and the Thais would have been annoyed that they didn't get at least a point out of it.
That was supposed to be an easy home game and tonight we play away against Saudi Arabia who are now coached by Frank Rijkaard and its supposed to be 35+ degree heat. I'm not expecting much...
Sometimes a stumble out of the gates is a good thing because it gives the coach ammunition to rail on his team a bit and ruffles the feathers of the players a bit to wake them up and take things more seriously. Often, that comes in the form of a loss or tie, so be happy that it was a win!
This may sound a little Euro-qualifying snooty, but I have to ask: do you see any way that Australia does not qualify for the 2014 World Cup, or every World Cup for that matter? I mean ever since they were moved out of Oceania and into Asia it pretty much became a sure thing, right?
world cup winners will be Holland
Amazingly they were a totally different team and whipped Saudi Arabia 3-1 so I think you are right BB84. The poor game against Thailand was the kick up the pants they needed.
As for qualifying, it is unlikely we will miss out this time as we are still fairly strong compared to the other teams. The way Asia is structured, in the final round of qualifying there is two groups of 5 teams (we're not at that stage yet this time). The top 2 in each group go through and 3rd in each group play off for the right to play off again against a team from another confederation. Its definitely possible in the future as there is a lot more money in Asian football now, particularly in the Middle East, China, Japan, and Korea and standards are improving all the time. I could see us finishing 3rd behind Japan and Korea for example if we were drawn with them and had a few bad results, and then if you draw a playoff against South America its a pretty tough one to win.
Yup - there is definitely a possibility to not make it out of that kind of structure of qualifying, and especially so if other countries are up and coming. I always kind of compared what the US and Serbia had to through in qualifying and half laughed at the 'significance' of the US's big qualifiers. It's always a loss at the Azteca stadium in Mexico and then wins the rest of the way with a shock result interspersed in there somewhere. There is NO way Mexico and the US do not qualify for every World Cup for the rest of our lifetimes.
Serbia, on the other hand, gets usually a 2nd or 3rd seed and has to usually battle with more than one team that could get out of a WC group phase if it were to qualify. There's always a big European team or two missing from every major tournament only because the continent is so deep when it comes to the beautiful game.
Yes European qualifying certainly can be tough. It raises the old argument of whether the world cup should have the 32 best teams in the world, or the 32 best teams from around the world. I like it the way it is now with a more even spread of teams, but I can see why a European or South American might think that there are too many African, Asian and North/Central American teams. I think over the past few cups that teams like Japan, Korea, Australia, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, USA etc have shown that they are more than capable of mixing it with the best teams in the world though.
Even New Zealand went home undefeated and ahead of Italy in their group in the last one after mastering the art of parking the bus! Despite that it is the only time I have ever supported NZ in anything! There's a bit of a healthy Aussie/NZ sporting rivalry... but they are like our little brothers
Actually if we end up playing each other in the rugby world cup it should be a cracking match. I won't even bother watching the rest of it, just that one.
Find most of the rugby world cup preliminaries non-events with large differences in talent, skill and experience between teams. Keep forgetting when games are on out of lack of interest. Once the finals begin might get with some mates and watch games.
The World Cup on the other hand is a month football feast that every team has had to battle to reach and while there are favourites any team could get knocked out. Usually have games on at some crazy times but sometimes you've just got to watch it live
Even as a bit of an old-world, European aristocrat when it comes to football, I completely agree that the current make-up of the World Cup is more or less as good as it could be. While it is cool to watch the best of the best, it's more fun to see upstarts and unknowns come up and make waves.
I would like to see the third North America turned spot turned into a "half-spot," i.e. a playoff against someone from another continent. Perhaps I would also strip Asia of a spot or half-spot. South America has plenty already (fun fact: the continent only has about 10 countries) and four and half is plenty for them. Maybe another spot for Europe, but then they have something like 14 which is ample enough.
Like a lot of fans, I'd actually love to see more given to Africa. They also have some real hard qualifying groups at times and lots of deserving teams that do not go. I think much of the world feels the same way.
Another fun fact: New Zealand was the ONLY undefeated team at the 2010 World Cup. Even Spain lost a group match...
I can top that fun fact. Here is Australia's qualification record for the 1998 world cup, for which we did not qualify for the finals...
Played: 8, Won: 6, Drew: 2, Lost: 0, Goals for: 34, Goals against: 5
Lots of goals scored and all matches won against the very poor competition in Oceania, we then played against Iran in a two leg playoff. We drew 1-1 away, and were then leading 2-0 at home and completely destroying Iran with 20 minutes to go. Iran jagged a goal from an incorrect "not offside" call and then scored again to draw 2-2 and Australia was out on away goals. I was at that match. Walking out in silence, it felt like everyone in the stadium had just been told their mother had died. I'll never forget it.
That's not a fun fact; that's a sad fact if there ever was such a thing Is there some kind of Aussie-New Zelander rivalry in your trying to top that Kiwi fun fact???
I was certainly one of those who believed that Australia got the short end of the stick by being in Oceania and essentially having to play a home-and-home against either an Asian team or a South American team to qualify for the World Cup. I think having them in Asia is much more fair to them. Plus, it's fair to say that the set of teams making the World Cup is stronger if Australia is in it.
I think that was just a result of....well.....geography. You guys are so far from everything and only 'near' to the Oceania teams so in a way it made sense. It's just hard to accommodate a team that is talented, head and shoulders above everyone else in their region and so far out of the way!
Hahah yes we have to outdo New Zealand in everything, even losing!
Moving to Asia is the best thing that has happened to Australian football for a long time. We get far more regular games now against competitive opposition and also have a longer world cup qualification tournament with more "real" games. It has also helped New Zealand out as they have replaced us as the big fish in Oceania, which helped them make the last world cup.
But longer term the Oceania confederation is silly and it should be absorbed into Asia. One idea I have seen is an East/West Asia split so the Middle East across to say India would go into a west Asian confederation and Japan, Korea, China plus southeast Asia and Oceania form the other one. But the problem with that is that it isn't very commercially attractive due to the small populations in Oceania. Also say you gave 2 spots to each confederation, that would leave the top 3 Asian teams - Japan, South Korea, and Australia in the same confederation, along with China, North Korea, and NZ who have recently qualified. Its clear the West Asian countries currently don't deserve two spots, but they would never agree to something which cuts them down to 1 spot for example. So to handle this the idea I read granted 3 spots to East Asia/Oceania, and 2 to West Asia. But that would require another confederation to give up the "half" playoff spot against Oceania. And I think its safe to say that pigs will fly before that happens!
I think iit's alrdy time for Brasil to win the cup!!! It's great opportunity for them.. as the championship is help in Brasil...
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