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Important World Cup reminder: US fans are all CONCACAF fans this month

Jun 12, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT


Several times during a relatively-sleepless night — it all starts today!! — I was reminded of some facts that will behoove American soccer fans during the 2014 World Cup.

Here’s a big one: until the USMNT faces a CONCACAF team, the confederation’s nations are all rooting for each other.

How teams fare in this massive international competition matters a great deal, and we’re not just talking about pride. There’s a European swell of bad vibes for any confederation in the world that isn’t UEFA, and teams like Sweden are grinding their teeth that their inability to beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal has kept them out of the tournament, while Mexico’s playoff was against an “easier” target in New Zealand.

So basically, CONCACAF nations want the bracket to miraculously look like this (with their nation subbed in for the USMNT):


Imagine all CONCACAF teams go out in the group stage; Those losses could be the straw that allows FIFA to move CONCACAF from 3.5 World Cup spots to 2.5, which would make the workload in going to future World Cups a hassle for our entire region.

So root for the U.S., but also root for Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica all the way through the Yanks inevitable defeat of Ticos in the World Cup final.

  1. geejon - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    It should be 2.5 anyway. It’s a joke that the world misses out on Ibrahimovic and an excellent Swedish side while the 4th place CONCACAF team plays a playoff against a joke of a team and advances to the WC.

    Let’s be honest … barring a plane crash that takes out the whole team (sorry for the image just making a point), the USA, Costa Rica, and Mexico will be in every WC going forward. That’s really not fair.

    • tomcatfl - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      Sweden is out because UEFA refuses to seed its groups and especially its playoff round properly. And because they weren’t deep enough behind Ibrahimovic this year. They can stop grinding their teeth and start grinding through training for next time.

      CONCACAF should probably be at 3, not 2.5, in which case Mexico would have been out and Honduras in this year, and at any rate Costa Rica won’t always be a lock, either.

      Asia probably also gets a half spot too many. There’s the extra spot UEFA thinks it deserves. Better yet, just give UEFA one half spot and see if their results in the interconfed playoffs actually justify their complaints. Give the other half to CONMEBOL – they almost always deserve a fifth team, so why not make it official?

      OFC has always been a wildly unbalanced confed – formerly Australia had its spot locked (which made for a good playoff), and now New Zealand does (which makes for a crap playoff unless they hit a particularly weak Asian team, with the current setup). With the Aussies gone, they should probably just merge OFC into AFC, and let the little Pacific island minnows go through extra qualifying rounds like the little Caribbean island minnows go through in CONCACAF. New Zealand would get their shot to improve against better competition (the reason Aussies made the move) and perhaps some of the other islands (Samoa?) could rise up to where Trinidad or Jamaica used to be.

      • wandmdave - Jun 12, 2014 at 3:23 PM

        Speaking of merging confederations. It might be nice at some point for CONCACAF to merge with CONMEBOL. That would give the combined confederation 8 slots for 51 teams. Then have qualifying groups similar to what Europe does. 8 groups of 6-7 teams, winner qualifies. Heck maybe you could snag an extra allocation with so many teams and make 9 groups of 5 or 6. Then we could get in the Copa America every time as well. Give it a cycle or two though so USA would be a top see in one of those groups. 😉

  2. atahualpaoxford - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    Nicholas Mendola probably lives in Colorado or Washington State and has been smoking too much of the funny stuff….
    Us winning the Cup…??? yeah…sure…

    As for the rest of the comments…south american teams have always won when the tournament took place there…this year should be no exception…

    From where I sit, Argentiina, Uruguay o Brasil will take it…
    Enjoy watching…

    • mvktr2 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      ^clearly got poor marks in reading comprehension.

      Not even close to what the article says.

  3. zdeb93 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    If you made it where that Honduras finishes second in their group they would have been on the path to that fourth empty slot in the semis, just saying.

    • mattbman - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      Yup, I saw the same thing.

  4. futbolhistorian - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    So let’s see, Sweden got to play four of their ten games against Kazahstan and Faroe Islands.

    France had it a little tougher. Six games against Finland, Georgia, and Belarus.

    England had to deal with some real powerhouses: Montenegro, Maldova, San Marino. Yes San Marino of one goal scored and 54 allowed.

    How about Bosnia? To get to their first World Cup, they had to get past Lithuania, Latvia, and Lichenstein.

    Portugal? Luxembourg, Azerbijan, Israel. At least they beat Sweden. Well, Ronaldo did anyway.

  5. mattbman - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    I understand the sentiment, but actually there would be a better bracket for CONCACAF – it is possible (via the bracket, not very likely though) – that it could be an all CONCACAF semifinal – if Mexico and Costa Rica both finish in 1st or both finish in 2nd in their groups and Honduras finish 1st and U.S finish 2nd or Honduras 2nd and U.S. 1st in their groups, that would put them in 4 different parts of the bracket. The allotments are determined by how far they get, not whether they finish 1st or 2nd in their group.

    • Nicholas Mendola - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      Hmmm, but would it better than all four teams winning their groups? I have no idea the answer, but…

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