Saturday, March 19, 2011

CONCACAF got WCQ right this time

This is a new hybrid CONCACAF qualifying format compared to the 2010 qualifying. The 2010 second round had the top 6 teams participating. This made for unexciting games. 2010 had the top 24 nations play a home and away series to cut the field to 12. This did not develop the sport at all. The big nations walloped the other smaller Caribbean nations. Then some good teams were knocked out in one home and away series. Eg Panama losing 2-3 aggregate to El Salvador. Puerto Rico testing Honduras 6-2 aggregate. Other aggregate scores were non competitive nor exciting. USA 9-0 Barbados, Mexico 9-0 Belize, Jamaica 13-0 Bahamas, Guatemala 9-1 Saint Lucia were a waste of time for both nations.

The 2014 format has the top 6 nations getting a bye. I love this idea. Now 24 nations are broken up into 6 groups of 4 nations. These groups will be much more competitive and exciting. Now 24 nations will each play 6 home and away series. So each nation will have 3 home games and 3 away. This may be the first time some nations ever host WCQ. This is what will develop the sport throughout CONCACAF.

I routinely criticize CONCACAF officials for their laciness but they got it right this time. World Cup Qualifying will touch each country and it will not be just one home and away series. IT will be a home and away series in a group of 4. Even if some nations do not make the Semi-final grouping. They will be able to talk about the 6 games they playing in the round of qualifying for years. They can see where the finally rank in each group and look forward to the next WCQ to see if they can advance from their last qualifying.

My hope is that each nation does host even if their stadium is not FIFA qualified. Belize could not host Mexico last time and had to play thier home game in Houston Reliant. This was very much considered a home game for Mexico. IT would be great for nations like Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Guyana wo host multiple WQC games for their fans.

The Stadium to the right on a picture of the new National Stadium in Managua, Nicaragua. Guyana has a field that was dedicated to them.

1 comment:

Lorric said...

Couldn't agree more, although I still don't understand how this system can possibly be successfully implemented.

But my main gripe, the wiping out of teams by CONCACAF's best in 2 leg playoffs is gone.

Most nations (all but 5) still get at least 6 games.

And the US and Mexico even get their precious qualifying matches back.