Asian fringe ready for World Cup expansion: Japan FA boss


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Rubbish. Iceland beat England because they were a decent team who qualified for the Euros the right way. No point quoting Iceland when you are asking for a bye into the finals. Iceland got into the Euros on merit which is why they were good enough to beat England.

World Cup qualifying used to be a big deal (and should be) but it is yet another example of the watering-down of football tradition by FIFA. For example, the FA Cup, the UEFA Cup, the Cup Winners Cup - all ruined by big money televised Champions League and Premier League. Now they are going to make World Cup qualifying more or less redundant.

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“In the past, tournaments were more about Europe versus South America, but now, many other national teams have become stronger,” he said.

That's probably one of the clichés I disagree with the most. Honestly don't think that Japan, Oz, the us and now China, Qatar or any other 'newish' football nation are better than say Nigeria/Cameroon in the early 90s, Mexico in the 70s and 80s etc. Not even sure Japan or SK are better in 2017 than they were in the late 1990s or early 2000s?

We all know that countries outside Europe and SA do play some quality football and have been doing so for a very long time. This is imo not the issue. The problem many have is with the 48 nations format itself. Very, very few big football nations have made it to all WC (eng and fr didn't qualify to US94, the Netherlands to J/SK 2002 etc) and we were all fine with it. That's what was unique about football, the fact making it to the final tourney was an achievement of its own. Will no longer be the case.

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China is on the line for spending HUGE amounts of money on their soccer plan, which is ultimately to have them win a WC some day. They've promised the people to soon qualify for a WC first, though, but with their performance in the qualifiers they are under fire. Much cheaper just to pay FIFA to let them in, which is effectively what they are doing. If there were any doubt, just look at yesterday's statements about the "economic potential" that opening up and giving Asia more teams presents. Not about the sport, it's about the money.

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A European or a South American team will win anyway.

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