Why, why, why…? Dammit Gianni, can’t you recognize a good thing when you’ve got one? The World Cup is perfectly fine in its current state and format. Expansion of tournaments almost always brings about confusion, complaint and a feeling of disappointment. Currently, the World Cup is broken down into 8 groups of 4 teams, each team plays 3 group stage matches, the two teams with the most points move on to the knockout phase. Simple enough. With Infantino’s new format, there would be the top 16 teams already seeded in groups, following by 32 teams playing in 16 “play-off” matches to earn a spot in the group stages. So that means that 16 teams will attempt to qualify for 2-3 years, spend all that money and resources on their team, just to lose in one 90 minute match and be sent home. Can I get things that make you go ‘hmm’ for $1000, Alex?
Infantino’s argument is that it expands the World Cup to countries and continents that don’t usually get it. There is a reason for that! It’s because they’re not good at soccer! The point of the tournament is not to spread the awareness or make everyone feel like a winner. IT IS TO CROWN THE WORLD’S BEST TEAM! Just imagine for a minute, that the United States (FIFA Rank: 22) qualifies but has to play a play-off game against a team like Poland (FIFA Rank: 17) or Turkey (FIFA Rank: 21). Two very good, arguably better teams than the US. With soccer’s popularity in the US at a small number already, how does it help “grow the game” if the US gets beat in the first match of the “play-off”? More importantly for FIFA and the TV networks, that does not build an audience and, most importantly to (for?) FIFA, it doesn’t bring in television dollars. This whole idea spells trouble for FIFA and Infantino who made a cool $5 billion dollars last World Cup.