Fifa changes prompt suspicions but Australian benefits will become apparent

In 2015, in a hotel restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Iran coach Carlos Queiroz was talking qualification. In Asia, he said, there are three countries with a credit card that produces an automatic World Cup spot with just a simple swipe: Japan, South Korea and Australia. His Iran were always competing with Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and perhaps North Korea and United Arab Emirates for the fourth and last automatic berth. And the other near-40 nations of Asia? The former Real Madrid coach just shrugged.

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While the Portuguese may have intended to stress his own achievements with Iran cheap canada goose, he was stating a simple truth. With South Korea, Japan and the Socceroos usually making it, that leaves one spot for the other 43 — for the vast majority in the world’s biggest continent. The dream is as distant as relations between Sepp Blatter and Gianni authorized canada goose outlet Infantino. Talk to heads of various federations around Asia and hear the variety of “Project 2022s”, it is almost cruel to point out that 15 other nations have similar grandiose plans and one, perhaps, will achieve it.

But not for much longer. Having four automatic spots gives perhaps eight or nine a realistic chance but an improved quota of eight really opens it up. Even if the big four (the three credit card holders and Iran) have their spots, that leaves four for the rest in a much more open field. It gives best mens canada goose jacket eight or so a genuine opportunity, the same number an outside chance, and more still a dream.

Take Thailand. The country is buy canada goose jacket ebay doing all the right things: investing in the league, grassroots, producing decent players and aiming for as much overseas experience as possible but the World Cup is still some years away, if at all. Expansion brings the competition firmly within touching distance and if Thailand can do it, there is huge motivation lower down the rankings. Having to compete with South Korea, Australia and Japan is not an option for many in authorized canada goose outlet the short to medium term but fighting it out with Jordan for the last spot? That are plenty canada goose coat 1000 calorie a day meal plan who would fancy their chances.

Perhaps quality at the World Cup will suffer (though there hasn’t been a decent tournament for some time) but few in the AFC will be too concerned about such abstract issues when they finally have a chance, slim or otherwise, of actually making it, especially given the history of the tournament. Being blocked from the World Cup for most of the last century did the development of Asian football no favours are there any canada goose outlet stores as Europe and South America gathered the spots, competition, experience and riches for themselves.

Greater exposure to the global game can only benefit Asian teams. Japan and South Korea have demonstrated that the more you play at the World Cup, in general, the benefits of canada goose jacket better you get. The more opportunities your players have to go overseas, the more excitement and money there is all round. Increased revenues, with the obvious caveat that transparency is necessary, promised for the smaller nations to develop can only help further down the ladder. Eventually, Asia becomes stronger, as does the Asian Cup, the domestic leagues and the Asian Champions League. And what is good for Asian football is good for Australia too.

There are concerns expressed in Australia over whether qualification could now become a relaxed stroll rather than an intense battle. It may early on, but Asia is slowly improving, as we have seen along the road to Russia, and the final round would still be full of tough ties overseas against teams can you wash a canada goose coat that suddenly have a genuine chance to qualify. Over time, facing more and more competitors with World Cup experience can only be of benefit.

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The format is more of an issue. Sixteen three-team groups is far from ideal for a number of reasons that have been well-documented, manipulation in the final game being a major one. If a way can be found to reduce that likelihood, it could work. The group stage may be a game shorter than usual but having an extra knockout-round should offer plenty of excitement.

It is understandable for fans in those nations that expect to qualify – like Australia –to view expansion with suspicion but they should remember that only 11 of the AFC’s 46 full members have ever been to a finals, and only six have done so more than once.

As it stands, average cost canada goose jacket a considerable proportion of AFC members had never even considered the possibility of appearing in the biggest sporting tournament. Expansion may throw up some practical issues and concerns but it also enables much of Asia to dream for the first time.

Ноябрь 21st, 2012

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