A Few Thoughts on International Futbol
Association Football known world-wide as football or futbol but tagged with soccer in the United States is the world’s game by any measure. I have my own complicated relationship with the game which has meant different things to me at different points of my life. Right now it’s World Cup qualification season across the world. In each of six regional confederations, tournaments are ongoing to determine which teams will make the final cut of 32 nations at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. (England may claim to be the home of the game because it propagated the rules the World follows, but Brazil is the heart of the game where improvisation raises joga bonito to a level of beauty.) I offer a few modest comments on the various confederations’ qualification tournaments, the structure of the confederations themselves and some ideas on how to improve the overall system of qualification. Basically stuff FIFA will never ever, never, never, never ever do. Asian Football Confederation: The AFC is huge with 47 members in it. It ranges from the Middle East to the Far East to the ‘Stans. It has hosted one World Cup — the 2002 edition co-hosted by South Korea and Japan. Two former members, Israel and Kazakhstan, both left the AFC to join the European Confederation. Australia, formerly a member of the Oceania Confederation, recently joined the AFC. AFC has 4 and 1/2 qualification spots this time around (the 1/2 refers to eligibility to play a team from another Confederation for a spot at the World Cup). Every confederation determines the structure of its own qualification tournament. Not all of them are really effective, particularly if the goal is to send the best clubs to the World Cup (and not reward political allies which sadly is rampant in the world […]
Watching EURO cup: England vs Italy
Halftime-ish at England vs Italy and no goals so far. Been perhaps the most competitive quarterfinal so far. Winner has to play get many though – not much of a prize. Update: well that turned out to be a bit of a bust of a game. Italy deserved the win for dominating the game and yet – letting things slide to PKs was inexcusable. I really hate PKs as a tie breaker. MLS: The DC – NY game was entertaining at stretches but disconcerting to see the DC midfield sliced up so effectively. DC did not play well enough to win but still keeps a slight hold on first place. Let’s hope this is a massive wake-up call to them.
Originally published at Tannline.com Tuesday, September 24, 2002 2002 Soccer ReCap Another year of soccer and although I didn’t get to see as much MLS soccer as I would have liked, thanks to the miracle that is TIVO I saw just about all of the Korea/Japan World Cup. There’s not much you can add about the World Cup: a great cup, dramatic upsets, a solid final between two futbol giants and a nice performance from Ronaldo that caps his return from the still bizarre disaster of a performance in the France 1998 final. The United States made tremendous strides at the Cup. What’s interesting is the MLS season where from what I can gather the league’s quality of play continued to improve and the league’s popularity for the most part remained stable. Which is not necessarily enough as it clearly would be better for MLS to increase attendance and television ratings share. We’re heading into the play-offs for MLS this week which may or may not be on tv. They start this Wednesday though with Colorado versus Dallas (safe pick – Dallas to win that series); Los Angeles versus Kansas City (LA will win); Columbus versus San Jose (SJ, of course) and on Thursday with Chicago versus New England (NE, just because you got to have one upset prediction). DC UNITED had another horribly frustrating year. With new coach Ray Hudson though, the year feels somewhat positive though and I am much more optimistic about the teams future than under Rongen. Looking back on the season there were a few highlights. DC United opened its 2002 campaign with a non-MLS home and home against Comuniccacion of Guatemala. We got screwed in Guat and brought home a solid victory in RFK. If the CONCACAF could actually run a tournament where anyone cared who won (And […]