Asian World Cup struggles

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nzfooty
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Asian World Cup struggles

Postby nzfooty » Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:21 pm

Asian World Cup struggles showcase problems at home

By Patrick Johnston
BRASILIA, June 23 (Reuters) - Eight matches gone and still Asia waits for a first win at the World Cup, with the struggles of the continent's four teams in Brazil demonstrating the coaching and administrative failings going on throughout the region.
Australia predictably bowed out after two defeats against tough opposition, while Japan, Iran and South Korea look set to follow them after each have managed only one point so far.
If that plays out, then Asia are likely to be the only one of the five FIFA confederations competing in Brazil not to have a team in the knockout stages.
"Asian teams year after year keep making the same mistakes, so they'll never be able to be on the same level as Europe or South America," Iran boss Carlos Queiroz told reporters.
"It's because of the competition system, the training and organisation. You cannot copy Europe because the day you think you are close, they are one step ahead because they also progress.
"But the officials persist in copying Europe and year after year the gap is higher and higher. It is a pity because 60 percent of the money in football comes from Asia and they have the worst conditions."
Asian champions Japan have proved the most disappointing of the quartet in Brazil, despite the investment and burgeoning health of the domestic J-League.
"I would really like Japan to do well on the pitch as they tend to do everything right off the pitch. The Japanese model is the one to follow in AFC," Englishman Steve Darby, who has coached throughout Asia from Australia to Bahrain, told Reuters.
"Japan has long-term goals - unlike many countries who have such short term ones based purely on immediate results - a strong league, underpinned by an organised systematic youth development program.
"Far too often the coaching positions in youth development are "given" to people and it is such an important role."

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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby SteveW » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:13 pm

A fairly stinking series of results for UEFA in my cross-confederation spreadsheet means they have actually dropped below Africa now in the table.

Not sure if FIFA are looking at adjusting the qualification quotas for each region but if they are then the AFC could well be at risk. Not sure who warrants an extra place though - the CONMEBOL team worse than Ecuador? The CONCACAF team worse than Honduras?

Africa probably have the best claim but its hardly convincing given the middling performance of their teams at this World Cup.

One idea would be to have a little mini tournament similar to the confederations cup but with the best 'almost made it' from each confederation playing for one or two places at the WC.
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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby eujin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:45 pm

Whoa, whoa, a flock of dead swallows does not the end of summer make.

UEFA have provided 7 of the last 8 World Cup semi-finalists (six different teams). That they do badly in the Americas is as old as FIFA itself, but I'm not buying that the CAF deserves more spots yet. When Uruguay's fans can out-number and out-sing England fans you know that England are a long way from home. Even Algeria sounded like they had more fans there than Korea which ought not to be possible.

The AFC have underperformed (so far) but no one's knee should be jerking. It's not the AFC's job to put out decent teams at the World Cup. It's the individual federations' job and the worst thing that could come out of this is the AFC trying to micromanage youth development or fitness training across the continent. They organise an Asian Cup, which is a sensible thing, and they organise a champions league with all of the strong teams and none of the dross, which is also a sensible thing. If they want to run some clinics and seminars for coaches and the like then all well and good, but their desire to empire build should not be given space.

Japan are doing many of the right things. They've got a good long-term coach, a well run league, good youth development and players getting experience overseas. The Chinese and Arabs are throwing money at the problem and that's what they are well positioned to do. Qatar don't have a snowball in the desert's chance of winning the World Cup in 2022 but Asia is doing just fine IMHO.

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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby SteveW » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:04 pm

eujin wrote:Whoa, whoa, a flock of dead swallows does not the end of summer make.

UEFA have provided 7 of the last 8 World Cup semi-finalists (six different teams). That they do badly in the Americas is as old as FIFA itself, but I'm not buying that the CAF deserves more spots yet. When Uruguay's fans can out-number and out-sing England fans you know that England are a long way from home. Even Algeria sounded like they had more fans there than Korea which ought not to be possible.

The AFC have underperformed (so far) but no one's knee should be jerking. It's not the AFC's job to put out decent teams at the World Cup. It's the individual federations' job and the worst thing that could come out of this is the AFC trying to micromanage youth development or fitness training across the continent. They organise an Asian Cup, which is a sensible thing, and they organise a champions league with all of the strong teams and none of the dross, which is also a sensible thing. If they want to run some clinics and seminars for coaches and the like then all well and good, but their desire to empire build should not be given space.

Japan are doing many of the right things. They've got a good long-term coach, a well run league, good youth development and players getting experience overseas. The Chinese and Arabs are throwing money at the problem and that's what they are well positioned to do. Qatar don't have a snowball in the desert's chance of winning the World Cup in 2022 but Asia is doing just fine IMHO.


Surely the job of the AFC is to develop football in Asia and one way to measure that is the performance of Asian teams in global competitions.

Not sure where the 'Japan is doing the right things' theory comes from when their club teams are not competitive in Asian competition and their national team is not competitive at the World Cup. I think at best you can say Japan 'appear to be doing the right things' but the proof can only be in the pudding.

I don't think the AFC should be micromanaging things either but they need to look at why Asian national teams largely seem to be going backwards relative to the competition.
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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby eujin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:54 pm

SteveW wrote:Surely the job of the AFC is to develop football in Asia and one way to measure that is the performance of Asian teams in global competitions.

It's possibly in their remit (is it?) but I think it's better done at the national level. The AFC should stick to organising tournaments. By all means help the Indian Federation develop the game in India or support Bhutan getting a league, but once they start ordering Indonesia and Singapore what to do they've gone too far. If their federations are turning out crap teams it's not their fault.

SteveW wrote:Not sure where the 'Japan is doing the right things' theory comes from when their club teams are not competitive in Asian competition and their national team is not competitive at the World Cup. I think at best you can say Japan 'appear to be doing the right things' but the proof can only be in the pudding.

For the reasons I gave above. It's hard to see what they could easily do better. There's a danger (that even Greg Dyke suffers from) of overreacting and making things worse. England do seem to be on a long-term downward spiral. I'm not sure the same is true of Japan (I'm actually willing to bet money the same is not true of Japan). A couple of bad results at a tournament a long way from home can happen to anyone. If the bath water has to go, the baby should stay.

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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby SaintsCanada » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:22 pm

Why are Japanese clubs so rotten? Honest question. I don't understand it. Big population, rich country, good soccer crowds... ??

On current form, CONCACAF deserve an extra .5 spot, which would mean Mexico (not Honduras, btw) wouldn't have had to beat New Zealand. Mexico's been one of the better teams in the tourny so far, so I don't think that's unreasonable.

After the first set of matches, Africa was stinking it up too, so I was thinking CONCACAF and CONMEBOL should each go up by .5 and Africa and Asia down by .5 which would mean next time teams like Mexico and Uruguay would qualify without a need for an intercontinental playoff, Jordan would not have made it to the intercontinental playoff, and New Zealand would have played the worst of the African qualifiers (Africa would need a different format to produce that team).

That sounds pretty fair to me, actually.

Although, to be fair, in the second set of matches, Africa is performing better.
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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby Holyjoe » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:31 pm

I like SteveW's suggestion of a mini intercontinental playoff tournament, I'm sure FIFA would too if there was $$$ to be made. Is there any formula to how they determine who plays who in the playoffs? For 2010 it was AFC v OFC and CONMEBOL v CONCACAF, this year it was AFC v CONMEBOL and OFC v CONCACAF. Why not just lump the four of them in with a UEFA and CAF side as well and have two teams qualify, could be fun.

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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby eujin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:01 pm

I think the idea of a mini tournament is also a good one and must surely have $$$ to be made. The longer half-rate teams like Denmark and Sweden can stagger on the better I say.

On the allocations, I don't think we should judge based on one tournament only and I don't think results should be the only factor. The US and Mexico make up about 80% of CONCACAF's 500 million people. Given that both of them should really be qualifying everytime I think 3.5 spots is fine. Asia is four times the population and has several big countries that never qualify, but even without India, China, Pakistan and Indonesia it's still twice the size of CONCACAF so one more spot than CONCACAF seems OK. If Mexico hadn't arsed up their qualifying, New Zealand would've played Honduras in the playoff and Honduras, despite spanking Canada, haven't exactly set the world on fire their last 5 World Cup matches.

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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby SteveW » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:42 pm

SaintsCanada wrote:Why are Japanese clubs so rotten? Honest question. I don't understand it. Big population, rich country, good soccer crowds... ??

On current form, CONCACAF deserve an extra .5 spot, which would mean Mexico (not Honduras, btw) wouldn't have had to beat New Zealand. Mexico's been one of the better teams in the tourny so far, so I don't think that's unreasonable.

After the first set of matches, Africa was stinking it up too, so I was thinking CONCACAF and CONMEBOL should each go up by .5 and Africa and Asia down by .5 which would mean next time teams like Mexico and Uruguay would qualify without a need for an intercontinental playoff, Jordan would not have made it to the intercontinental playoff, and New Zealand would have played the worst of the African qualifiers (Africa would need a different format to produce that team).

That sounds pretty fair to me, actually.

Although, to be fair, in the second set of matches, Africa is performing better.


if they do want to change allocations (and you can make a pretty good argument that they don't need to) then surely the only reason to do so would be if the teams that qualified changed? So not making Mexico and Uruguay win playoffs wouldn't actually make any change to he tournament.

That was why I looked at the lowest ranked teams in the confederations and said would it be improved if the next best team from there was included.

So you would have Panama from CONCACAF? Venezuela from CONMEBOL? Egypt from CAF. Uzbekistan from AFC. Ukraine from Europe? Or do you include New Zealand from Oceania?

If you go by quality of team and likely results you can probably make a case that Ukraine are the ones who most deserve to be in the Finals. That can't be the only criteria though. Which I why I suggested that the best way to do it would probably be to put all 6 in a mini-tournament.

I think you could make a strong case that Oceania deserves 1 team at the World Cup just to make it truly global and in all honesty I'd be happy to see fewer European sides in it as I find watching these guys to get a bit dull when you also have the Euros. Personal preference I'd rather have New Zealand, Panama or Egypt than Bosnia for example but FIFA need to strike a balance. Look at the hassle they got at the Confederations Cup with Tahiti...

As for Japan's 'downward spiral' I don't think any of the Asian teams have really progressed in the past dozen years. Iran are now the top-ranked country in the AFC and have probably put up the best fight at the World Cup but that seems to be purely based on bringing in a top coach who can organise them to snuff the life out of a game.

Interestingly, where are the top Asian coaches in the game right now? I think the quality of local coaches is something the AFC associations need to look at - the model can't be to bring in expensive foreign managers every time, can it?
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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby eujin » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:38 am

SteveW wrote:As for Japan's 'downward spiral' I don't think any of the Asian teams have really progressed in the past dozen years.

I think Japan have progressed since 2002.

In 2002 they lost to Turkey at home. Now they draw with Greece on neutral ground and feel all bad about losing to the best team in Africa. They've got more players playing at big clubs in Europe and rightly so. Nowadays they're being asked to go out and beat teams which is a lot harder than being the underdog and running opponents into the ground. 2013 wasn't a banner year for them but they ran Italy and Mexico close in the Confederations Cup and beat Belgium away, drew with the Netherlands.

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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby Crane » Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:03 am

eujin wrote:Japan are doing many of the right things. They've got a good long-term coach

Last I heard Zac's leaving after this World Cup. But I agree that Japan have been making the right steps. Australia too seem to be headed in the right direction. But Iran seem to have regressed from the 90s.

As for WC spots, I think it's fine the way it is. Logistically I don't see how such a mini-tourney would be possible, fun idea though it is. And giving CONCACAF 4 spots instead of 3.5 doesn't seem fair when usually the 4th place team would be Panama or Honduras, not Mexico. Given the quality of those teams and the relative size of CONCACAF that seems overrepresenting.

Realistically speaking in a 32-team tournament you're going to be getting some teams that seem like they have no business being there unless you replace the 4th place AFC team/5th place CAF team/4th place CONCACAF team with a couple teams from Europe, but that wouldn't be _right_ in terms of global representation.

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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby SaintsCanada » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:54 pm

Crane wrote:
eujin wrote:Japan are doing many of the right things. They've got a good long-term coach

Last I heard Zac's leaving after this World Cup. But I agree that Japan have been making the right steps. Australia too seem to be headed in the right direction. But Iran seem to have regressed from the 90s.

As for WC spots, I think it's fine the way it is. Logistically I don't see how such a mini-tourney would be possible, fun idea though it is. And giving CONCACAF 4 spots instead of 3.5 doesn't seem fair when usually the 4th place team would be Panama or Honduras, not Mexico. Given the quality of those teams and the relative size of CONCACAF that seems overrepresenting.

Realistically speaking in a 32-team tournament you're going to be getting some teams that seem like they have no business being there unless you replace the 4th place AFC team/5th place CAF team/4th place CONCACAF team with a couple teams from Europe, but that wouldn't be _right_ in terms of global representation.


Let's say 3 CONCACAF teams all make the knockout stages. What "wouldn't be fair" is there being a chance CONCACAF's entire representation is only 3 next time.

I'm sorry, but I think you you guys are being absurd.

All I'm arguing is that if CONCACAF's great form continues, they should be, very slightly, rewarded. In fact, all the reward would mean is to guarantee they have the same (not more) representation next time. Same for South America.

The strongest confeds should be rewarded, and the weakest should be punished. That's sports. As for population, etc., cry me a river. This is a competition. Win or get lost, baby!
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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby Roarchild » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:49 pm

I would take a couple of spots away from Europe.

That's not entirely fair from a performance perspective but via having so many teams they also provide the most dross. Every group has a European team in the bottom two.
Hopefully that would get UEFA to change their qualifying to a more exciting format or one that isn't so draw dependent. The Euros are a great tournament because of the rivalries and al the teams are strong but we don't really need one every two years. I feel the World Cup should feel different.

I would then make all those half spots into full spots.
South America has justified it and next time Brazil will have to qualify.
North America has done really well and looks set to get stronger (e.g. Canada).
Oceania would add diversity and get rid of their ridiculous playoff structure.
Asia would be a bet on the future. This World cup was disappointing but they seem close to a break through.

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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby eujin » Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:29 pm

Last CONCACAF team to make the semis? USA in 1930?

Since then Europe has had Czechoslovakia, Italy, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Hungary, Spain, France, Yugoslavia, England, Portugal, Soviet Union, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Turkey and Croatia. If you count them differently from Yugoslavia then that's 18 since CONCACAF's 1.

Chuck in Mexico and Cuba's quarter-final appearances if you like, because then there's also Wales, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Romania, Republic of Ireland, East Germany and Ukraine.

How about we count the strongest and weakest confederations like that and I'll cry you a river.

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Re: Asian World Cup struggles

Postby SaintsCanada » Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:32 pm

eujin wrote:Last CONCACAF team to make the semis? USA in 1930?

Since then Europe has had Czechoslovakia, Italy, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Hungary, Spain, France, Yugoslavia, England, Portugal, Soviet Union, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Turkey and Croatia. If you count them differently from Yugoslavia then that's 18 since CONCACAF's 1.

Chuck in Mexico and Cuba's quarter-final appearances if you like, because then there's also Wales, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Romania, Republic of Ireland, East Germany and Ukraine.

How about we count the strongest and weakest confederations like that and I'll cry you a river.


Erm, I'm not arguing Europe should have less. What I'm arguing is that: CONCACAF and CONMEBOL should be guaranteed the same number as at this world cup (with no chance of less), Asia should have the same number as this one (with no chance of more), and the worst African team should have to fight for its spot against NZ. As I said earlier, this is all dependent on the early form holding up.

If Europe is good enough in the groups this time, I'd even listen to arguments for them to have more.
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