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Expanding the Euros to 24 teams is a terrible, horrible, no-good idea

Jun 21, 2012, 5:30 PM EDT

Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (C)

These Euro games have been great, huh? Like all of them. High quality. Entertaining. Attack-minded. Spectacular goals. Awesome in general.

Well, don’t get used to it. UEFA, in their infinite wisdom, is ruining it all by expanding the tournament to 24 teams starting in 2016. I understand it’s all about money — there will be at least 20 more games, meaning more ticket sales, more TV rights, more concessions sold, etc. — but it’s still awful.

How is this bad? Let’s count the ways.

1) Quality: One of the major calling cards of the European Championship is the quality. At 16 teams, it’s a better tournament than the World Cup. At 24? Heck. and No.
2) Length: It’s such a nice size right now. Twelve days of games, a break, the quarters, break, semis, break, final, and we’re done. Two dozen teams means there’s a round of 16 and almost a full extra week of play. Too much, too much.
3) Confusing format: You thought figuring out the scenarios was difficult this time around? Try 24 teams for 16 spots. UEFA’s general secretary Gianni Infantino said that the new format was “not ideal.” The general secretary!
4) Who the heck is going to host?: Maybe no one.
5) More for sure: What did I miss?

So congrats, Platini. You ruin everything. I don’t need video replay to make that call.

  1. congocash - Jun 21, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    The euro cup could improve if it was renamed, euro-south american cup….

  2. farvefromover - Jun 21, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    I don’t mind more teams being in the tournament. I don’t give a rats ass what you say, it’s more soccer that I get to watch.

    • handsofsweed - Jun 21, 2012 at 9:16 PM

      I couldn’t agree more, favre. 2016 is gonna be epic.

  3. sampulls - Jun 21, 2012 at 9:24 PM


  4. ndnut - Jun 21, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    I want to know what format will be used to make 24 go to 16. Is it 4 6-team groups with the top 4 advancing from each group? Is it some other wacko idea? This seems interesting and there are too many questions for me to support it.

    • handsofsweed - Jun 22, 2012 at 12:11 AM

      Six groups of 4, All group winners (6) and 2nd-place teams (6) get into the Round of 16, along with the 4 best of the 6 third-place teams. I believe that the 1994 USA World Cup had only 24 teams, also.

      If I’m right, the 8 extras @ this EURO would have been: Estonia, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro (All 4 of the playoff round losers), while the 4 best 3rd place teams were Hungary, Armenia, Israel and Norway.

  5. iainrwb - Jun 22, 2012 at 2:02 AM

    If it means Scotland qualify, I’m all for it. I could care less about quality and competitiveness. There’s been a bunch of rotten games so far this year anyway – all of Germany’s games, all of Greece’s games (bodes well for tonight) and even last night’s game sucked.

    England v Ukraine, Spain v Croatia and Italy v Ireland were also pretty dire.

    Teams like Scotland, Switzerland, Belgium, Serbia, Turkey, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania would be just as competitive as teams like Poland, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark.

    • handsofsweed - Jun 22, 2012 at 12:12 PM

      I’m with you. However, of all the teams you mentioned, only Turkey would have qualified for 2012 if 24 were taken.

  6. hjworton46 - Jun 22, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    Greed is good in Platinis world. 16 makes for a perfect tournament. UEFA suck big dogs knobs.

  7. iainrwb - Jun 22, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Sure, but the seedlings and qualifying groups would be organised differently if there were to be 24 qualifiers.

  8. mikeevergreen - Jun 22, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    I’m fine with the Euro at 24 teams. Had they not done that, CONCACAF & CONMEBOL wouldn’t have their new tournament, The Pan Amerrican Cup.

  9. schmutzdeck - Jun 23, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Money. Follow the money.

    For some time now the Champion’s League has been considered to be highest standard of football surpassing even the World Cup. I think the expansion of the Euros is an attempt to pump life back into the national teams by making it a more lucrative event.

    As an American I find the attempts to integrate the CONCACAF teams more with Copa America and the CONMEBOL nations of more interest. I would find such a combined tournament far more interesting than the Euros. It would really raise the stakes for the USMNT, give us two major trophies to play for and in general make the USMNT a more viable World Cup contender.

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