Only 32 teams are invited to the World Cup finals that you are watching now. How did the 190 or so teams get whittled down to these? Well, there are 3 years of intra-continent tournaments that deliver a few finalists. Here’s how the allocations break out:
1 Host Country
13 European Countries
5 South American Countries
5 African Countries
4 North American / Central American Countries
4 Asian Countries
So, is Europe deserving of 13 spots? Is Africa worthy of 5? Let’s look at the first round of games. (For this comparison, we’re putting the host Brazil with the other 5 South American teams)
North/Central America (4): 3 wins, 1 loss. Vs Africa 2-0-0. Vs South America 1-0-0. Vs Europe 0-1-0.
South America (6): 4 wins, 2 losses, 0 ties. Vs Europe: 3-1-0. Vs Asia 1-0-0. Vs North America 0-1-0.
Europe (13): Total record: 6-6-1. Record vs non-European teams 3-3-1: Vs South America: 1-3-0. Vs NA: 1-0-0. Vs Africa 1-0-0. Vs Asia: 0-0-1
Africa (5): 1 win, 3 losses and 1 tie. Vs North America: 0-2-0. Vs Europe: 0-1-0. Vs Asia 1-0-1.
Asia (4): 0 wins, 2 losses, 2 ties. Vs Africa 0-1-1. Vs Europe 0-0-1. Vs South America 0-1-0.
So what does this tell us?
– The only African or Asian team to get a point against a non Asian or African team is South Korea, with a tie against Russia.
– South America has been as good as advertised, other than Uruguay.
– North America has been pleasantly surprising.
– Europe could not be more neutral.
Clearly the African and Asian teams are struggling, while Sweden and Ukraine are sitting at home. Maybe we should be allocating some of their spots to Europe.