2022 FIFA World Cup Discussion Thread

Away from the contest thread.

First up: the (clubs federations, confederations) have STILL not agreed on the Club schedules for 2022-2023. According to this article, World Cup is about 600 days away.
I’m still guessing they’ll start three weeks early and end three weeks late. And 2022 MLS and other nonconformists will just start and end early.

Second, protests enter WC Qualifying:

“Real Sports” had a story on this several years ago (wondering if HBO Max has these in its vault) regarding the work conditions. But there is also Qatar’s anti-homosexual laws that might trouble a lot of people.

And now, discussion of a boycott from the Norway fans, who own the clubs and can decide on a boycott by the Norway FA:

Among the reasons against:
“But the money we’ll lose for not participating!”
“If we boycott, migrant workers (in the future) won’t get jobs (that they might die at)!!”

All points to, “Have the World Cup in places where stadiums are already built to FIFA standards.” And as I’ve pointed out, the USA could host three or four World Cups in a row and not use the same stadiums twice.

Uhh, Germany just lost to North Macedonia at home?

So, (in snob voice) some non-soccer country wants to study holding the World Cup every two years.

So, my preliminary study:
Not even sure how this would work with existing Confederation Cups and Nations Cups, which would have to move to odd-numbered years. So, my guess is that it wouldn’t, as it takes some Confederations two years for WC Qualifiers. Either they’d incorporate their Confederation and Nations Cup competitions as part of the WC Qualifying (“Top four in Euro, and you automatically qualify for WC,” which would mean the top teams would unfairly get to rest), or they’d halt those lucrative (to their own Confederations) competitions, essentially giving that money to FIFA.
Any country that gets more money from FIFA (even when not qualifying for WC) than their own Confederation will vote for this proposal. Lots and lots of tiny nations: all of Asia, South Pacific, Africa.
Also, it probably pushes Soccer out of Olympics.
With less time to qualify, World Cup might have to increase to 64 teams and squeeze all that into two months. Or just schedule it during the top clubs’ league schedules.

Hey Uruguay, you are NOT a four-time World Champion. Please take two stars off your uniforms.

This seems pretty petty.

Good news for poorly represented countries, as it evens the field. Other leagues have the same issues.

I think if worse comes to worst, WC qualifiers will be held over the summer break. All of them. South America has it worst, with ten countries playing home-and-home, and only six games so far played. They’d play 12 times over, say, 48 days.
Leagues can then compactify their schedules, playing through canceled international breaks. They could be done ten weeks early. Sucks to be in a league not on the traditional calendar, though.

A compromise would be:

  1. Cancel two international breaks;
  2. Make the remaining ones longer so players can quarantine afterward;
  3. Leagues play during these canceled breaks, moving the matches that were scheduled just after the remaining breaks to the canceled break time;
  4. Push the canceled break matches to Summer.

Seems like the beginning here. What if the players go anyway? They won’t get paid for the games they miss? I understand the league’s stance here but also wouldn’t blame a player for defying it.

The re-scheduling of games seems reasonable, but that means coordination between many leagues and FIFA. I can’t see that happening.

Well, yes, the best ideas are usually only theoretical.
Probably too late to change any of them. September break is right around the corner.

The leagues could postpone all league matches in the ten days after the break, on the condition that the October break would be postponed to June. Then, the postponed matches could be played in that now-open time. Not sure what to do about the other three breaks.

8 games so far in Group D in UEFA. 2 wins for France, 6 draws. If Ukraine draws again, I’ll be pulling for them to get to the 2nd round at 0-10-0.

Wow Iraq holds South Korea to 0-0 in Seoul. Then Oman defeats Japan 1-0 in Osaka. What a way for the Asian final groupings to begin.

Total WC qualifiers completed so far today: 9
Total goals scored in those games: 10
Maximum number of total goals scored in any game: 2 [though Australia have 2 on China, and we’re only 26’ in so there’s hope!]

Makes watching paint dry look appealing.

Anything major out of the UEFA matches today? Sweden beat Spain 2-1 to go on top of Group B. Italy draws with Bulgaria, which leaves the door open for Switzerland to find a way to top Group C with a pair of wins. Otherwise, looks largely ho-hum. England beats Hungary to cement its lead in Group I, Poland wins and moves to 2nd on GD. Germany scoots to 2nd in Group J with a win, while North Macedonia (which would have topped the group with a win) drew with Armenia (who now tops the group).

Brazil / Argentina has my vote for “most bizarre reason a match has been abandoned.”

Morocco / Guinea has my vote for “most bizarre reason a match has been cancelled.”

Yeah it’s interesting (hypocritical, maddening) that the Brazilian government has an issue with visiting soccer players not following COVID protocol.

Alphonso Davies just got injured again so Canada’s path to qualification just got a bit harder. Will be interesting to see how quickly Davies is able to resume playing with Bayern however…

If you had Azerbaijan as the first country eliminated in UEFA qualifying, congrats!

More surprises today than all the other days, I think. Sweden loses to Greece, Switzerland draws with Northern Ireland, England and Poland play to a draw. Albania are currently 2nd in Group I, but still have to play ENG and POL.

Israel has a decent shot to finish 2nd in Group F and get to the 2nd round. A win over Scotland would go a long way, since the Scots and Austria still have to play Denmark.

Belgium practically clinches Group E.

Albania is 2nd in Group I, but that will be short-lived.

San Marino are out, joining Azerbaijan. 10 others can’t win their group, including Ireland.

What’s this 2nd round format, with 2 Nations League winning teams coming through? And they’ll pair off into 3 sets of 4 that each play for one spot? Weird. Well, sorry Albania, you won’t get the 2nd-chance entry here.

They’ll always have Eurovision 2011

FIFA pushing for biennial World Cups.
So, one third of the countries, UEFA and CONMEBOL, are against it, but FIFA will throw dollar bills at the rest of the less-important countries. Even CONCACAF wouldn’t be able to throw a Gold Cup anymore. And Nations Leagues??
UEFA and CONMEBOL are threatening to simply sit out the World Cup. Would they sit out every time, or just every other time? Would FIFA allow them to do the latter?

Not sure any compromise is acceptable.
Idea: If FIFA wants to put on a “B-List World Cup,” perhaps of teams that didn’t qualify the prior time, maybe with the incentive of “Top 4 qualify for the next World Cup, and their places take up a spot reserved for their Confederation,” that might work. Would suck to have four Euro spots taken away by their 12th-15th teams, but oh well.

Not sure I like the idea of a biennial WC. Maybe I’d warm to it, but I’d rather see a B-level WC with a chance for automatic qualification. What I kind of expect if we see a WC every other year is that all the other continential competitions would become biennial affairs as well, joining the Gold Cup which is already biennial.

Qualifying for '22 started back in June 2019, or 11 months after WC2018 ended. Not that I think it couldn’t be sped up a little, but you’re probably talking wiping out group stages in a handful of cases unless we’re doing a 2-3 month window and knocking out a couple rounds at a time. Put that in the middle of a club schedule, and you’re asking some players to play a shitload of games. Maybe it puts a premium on depth, forces countries to reach deeper than say 16-20 guys. Might not be a bad thing.

I think I need to see details on how the schedule gets set up and how confederations might adapt qualifying in response to give a better opinion.