Tuesday, October 30, 2007

England 2018?

If you're reading this blog, chances are you follow CONCACAF somewhat closely. And if you do, you know damn well that this region is not the greatest. Okay, it's pretty bad. Let's face it - the U.S. and Mexico pretty much get a pass into the World Cup. I can't imagine either the U.S. or Mexico not qualifying for a World Cup and sometimes I wonder if Mexico's 2001 campaign really happened, and I usually ask myself 'How the hell did that happen?'

Costa Rica is a strong nation and some team usually steps up and makes things interesting (Honduras in '01, Trinidad in '05) but even the Ticos are separating themselves from the rest of the pack.

So when the World Cup rotation was set to head to North America, I was pretty excited. Much like the easy path the U.S. and Mexico have to get to the World Cup, this region had a similar challenge in hosting a World Cup, which would be great for soccer fans on this side of the world.

I was 10 in 1986 and 18 in 1994, so I didn't truly enjoy those tournaments so I've always kind of hoped for a World Cup in this part of the world, one that I could drive to instead of take a 10-hour flight to. I was happy with either Mexico or the U.S. hosting, though I must admit hanging in Guadalajara the night before, say, Germany-Scotland would be awesome. I mean, think about the amount of Estrellas, Sols and Jimador tequila that would be consumed! Fantastic!

Well, those thoughts are now simply pipe dreams. The rotation system is no more and 2018 has been opened up for the world to bid on.

Honestly, though, I thought the rotation system was lame. The way I see it, the World Cup should alternate between Europe and elsewhere, which is how it's been for the longest time.

In 1958, Sweden hosted. Four years later it was in Chile, then England, then Mexico, Germany, Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Italy, US, France, Korea/Japan, Germany, South Africa.

Brazil 2014 will snap that streak. There's no way the World Cup will be away from Europe for three consecutive World Cups. I don't see it, and honestly that's sacrilegious.

Let me be the first to congratulate England for hosting the 2018 World Cup. If Brazil deserved to host the 2010 edition, surely England deserves the 2018 tournament. We can hold out hope that 2022 will be in either the U.S. or Mexico.


Anonymous said...

I, too, was looking forward to the WC in North America again. I must, however, disagree with you that every other WC should be held in Europe. I think that's an important reason as to why Europe is thought to be and is so good in soccer - they have a huge home bias when it comes to the most important sporting event. The fact that home field advantage is a large factor in the world cup can be seen by a look at how well all the home teams seem to do when they host, relative to when they don't host; even the nearby nations get a significant boost (only South American teams have won it all outside their home continent).

Plus, staging the event always improves the sports' popularity, inspiring more interest. Thus, the world cup hosts (and nearby nations) are double-benefited, and Europe has reaped far more of that benefit than any other continent.

I believe that the combined events of 2010 and 2014 will be a good measure for how good Europe truly is, relative to the rest of the world. I think a rotation of: Europe, the Americas, Asia/Africa would be a bit more fair than every other tournament in Europe, and this would take into account factors such as population and nations that are able to host it.

JT (Chicago) said...

I like the idea of a three way rotation as suggested by anon (5:56am). You need to grow the game but you also should respect tradition. It'll probably end up that way anyway, 2010 South Africa, 2014 Brazil, 2018 England, 2022 India. So it looks like we won't see the WC over here until 2026.

Those U6s you see in the park today better be ready.