How many teams should be in the World Cup?

Have not seen this in the other threads here.
32 is a ridiculous number to have. They only have that many becuase FIFA presidents have to promise more places to get elected.
Almost everyone said it was a mistake to go to 24 in 1982. It was. 32 is just crazy. The tournament is too long and there are at least 10 teams that have no chance of winning. They get listed at 500-1 chances. They should be at a million-1. Teams like Costa Rica , Togo, and Saudi Arabia. All of them can put up a few good performances, but they should not be there.
The sheer number of games is exhausting.

The format I most like ran from 1958 to 1970. 4 groups of 4. Top 2 go to quarterfinals.
Problem is that I see there must be more than 16 teams, but certainly much less than 32.
I would say 3 teams from Africa,3 from Asia(all Oceania in here also), 2 from North/Central America, 4 from Sth America and 8 from Europe. Problem is how to deal with 20 teams. Maybe 5 groups of 4. Top team, plus 3 best runners-up make it to quarter-finals. That makes 37 games. It also makes every game important. Rather than getting games like Germany and Ecuador just recently when Ecuador did not even bother to play to win.
Not of course forgetting to eliminate the 3/4th play-off.

32 teams is perfect.

I like the current format. I agree that there are some teams that have no business being there; their only purpose is to try to 0-0 tie a game or two.

However, I’d favor more teams than fewer since strange things do happen. Soccer is a game where a mediocre team can really come together and put up a big performance. Give 'em a chance on the world stage and see what they can do.

I fully recognize that, as a yank, my opinions aren’t worth all that much. :wink:

I think 32 is a good number. Don’t want the competition over too soon so the winner having to play 7 games to win the cup seems about right to me.

If the whole thing was up to me I’d scrap the world cup and have the European Championships every second year with Brazil and Argentina invited as special guests and two other wild card invites (this year I’d invite Mexico and South Korea).

Although in saying that I really enjoyed the USA’s performance against Italy and the Aussies against Brazil…

I like the current format, too. 32 teams means there’s a clear progression, i.e. the top two of each four in a group, rather than convuluted formulas about highest-scoring teams, or silly play-offs. The idea of the competition being filled with no-hopers ignores the number of times teams have been surprise successes. (No, it’s not all about winning. By any measure other than Brazil’s, Korea was successful in 2002.)

And only 8 teams from Europe? Eeek, you’re going to lose a huge audience, lots of star players, and some of the best teams.

In my scenario. Korea would have qualified in 2002 and probably 2006.

You do not know much about soccer/football in Europe if you think that in the countries that did not make it, there are people not watching the World cup. Any fan would be. Sure they may sure lose the fair weather fans.
No matter what format you have there will be teams that miss out like current European champions Greece.
And great players who have never been to a World cup like Ryan Giggs and George Best.
Not going this time are Cordoba, Recoba, Eto, Forlan,Duff, Basturk.

So your argument does not hold

Hint: check ‘location’ field.

Yes I know that Portman Road is Ipswich Town FC’s home ground. Perhaps becuase Ipswich have no chance of playing in Europe, you have no knowledge of European football fans.

And you have some sort of telepathic link with European fans down there in Australia?

Turn your TV off until the second round. Let the rest of us cheer on the minnows in peace.

There’s really no need to be this rude. If you’re going to accuse anyone who disagrees with you of having “no knowledge”, then there’s no chance of having any sort of discussion. I might equally accuse an Australian of having no knowledge of football, seeing as how his team has scored a whopping three goals in World Cup football in the history of the world. But it’d be nice to just assume we’re not all idiots, and actually have a chat. Eh?

The skewed qualification from continental groups is largely what is responsible for no-hopers qualifying for the World Cup at present; you already get anomalies whereby relatively strong teams from Europe don’t make the finals in favour of the Togos of this world. I actually think this is a tolerable compromise in the name of broadening the world’s balance of power in football terms, but if you want to limit the number of European teams to 8, you’re going to miss out (as GorillaMan rightly points out) on some of the game’s giants. This is to the detriment not only of the audience in those nations, but of the tournament as a whole. Furthermore, if you really believe that a nation’s participation doesn’t affect the interest and audience in that country, you’re just not being realistic. There’s a reason why I see people queuing 5 deep around pubs when England are playing, and not when they aren’t - it’s because people want to see their team play. Sure, some people will watch regardless, but a huge number won’t, “fairweather fans” or no. If you want to have an argument about “real” fans, I don’t know what to say. Is there a blood test or something?

Sounds like those problems solve themselves quite nicely. Just don’t watch the games that aren’t worth watching, and you’ll get exactly as much football action as you want. And those who want to see more, or who want to cheer on their 1 in a million team, can do so.

Yup, I must’ve been delusional, thinking that Ipswich had once played in Europe. Maybe it was in the distant past. Like, errrm, four years ago. :rolleyes:

The NCAA men’s basketball championship, which is held every year, has a field of 65 teams, at least half of which don’t have the faintest whisper of a prayer of winning the championship…and every single time there’s a thermonuclear storm of controversy about the teams that didn’t make it.

Sports aren’t just about winning, winning, winning. It’s an honor to be there. It’s a rush to advance out of the round robin. It’s an incredible achievement to finish second or third. Look at Korea. They benefitted from the most brazenly partisan soccer officiating I’ve seen in my life in the Italy match…and went on to finish FOURTH. And in the end acted like it was the time of their lives. Because it was.

Furthermore, there are no free rides. Saudia Arabia doesn’t belong on the same field as you? Let’s see it. Talk is cheap. Right now Ghana…Ghana, for crying out loud…is still in it, while Group E front-runner Italy is still on the bubble. Chalk means nothing once the game actually begins. Ask any longtime Seattle Supersonics fan.

This is the world’s premiere soccer event and the experience of a lifetime for a lot of nations. For that, I can take a little exhaustion.

Oh, forgot to add to my reply to blinkingblinking - next England match, look at the flags, and see how many Chelski & Man U ones you can count. Then see how many you can count from places like Dagenham & Redbridge and Aldershot. Then come back and tell me again that lower-league fans don’t know anything about international football.

I was not being rude. Just joking around with the Ipswich supporter. Maybe I have to put in those smiley things.
By the way, I am not Australian. I just live here. And I support any team playing against Australia. Guess my nationality.


One problem about having so many games is that the organisation is so difficultand expensive. This precludes many countries having any chance of hosting the World Cup.
My point about exhaustion is not just about beng a fan. The players get exhausted. The unfortunate thing about the world cup is that on many occasions the best team does not win or even make the final. I would like the format that gives the best chance to the best teams.
Many people would say- Brazil was the best team in 1950 (came 2nd)
Hungary was the best team in 1954 (came 2nd)
Netherlands was the best team in 1974 (came 2nd)
Italy was the best team in 1978 (came 4th)
France was the best team in 1982 (came 4th)
Italy was the best team in 1990 (came 3rd)
Brazil was the best team in 1998 (came 2nd)

I think the tournament structure is beautiful. I’d like to see some american sport run something similar). It has a nice symmetry to it, and gives underdogs a chance, but isn’t so random that a favorite is going to be eliminated.

You know your team is going to have a few games to play, and they’re always still alive going into that second one. A LOT of teams still have a chance of advancing going into that third game (like the US today).

And 3 games is enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Then, the tournament starts in earnest with an exciting single elimination. If you liked the old 16 team format so much, just pretend that the Group Play is another form of qualifying for the tournament, and don’t pay it any attention.

The rest of us like watching two weeks of soccer where (for the most part) every game counts.

It’d have made the world of difference, I think.

South African? :smiley:
Seriously - you’re a Kiwi, aren’t you?