Friday, June 25, 2010

A Love Letter to European Soccer

Dear Europe,

We need to talk. The world has changed around you and I'm not sure you've noticed.

You see, it's just not your World Cup anymore. While the top seeded teams faired very well whether they hailed from Europe or South America, the unseeded teams from the Continent just weren't anything special. Here's the average number of points scored per game
  1. 2.25 -- CONMEBOL (South America) -- 2.25
  2. 1.16 -- AFC (Asia) 
  3. 1.13 -- UEFA
  4. 1.11 -- CONCACAF (North America, Central America, & Carribean)
  5. 1.00 -- OFC (Oceania, aka New Zealand)
  6. 0.67 -- CAF (Africa)
In addition, other than South Africa, the only seeded team to fail to make it out of group play, Italy, hails from Europe. And the points-per-game rating puts Europe in the best possible light (or, one might say, least worst possible light). Of the ten unseeded teams to advance, three are from South America, two each are from Europe, CONCACAF, and Asia, and one from Africa. But Europe sent eight unseeded teams to the World Cup, while the other conferences sent far fewer.

Going strictly by group play results, FIFA ought reduce the number of teams coming from Europe and Africa and plus up the number from South America an Asia. Had this happened this year, that would have replaced Algeria and Portugal with Bahrain and Ecuador. Now, Portugal did make it to the knockout round, but they haven't managed to score a goal against anyone other than North Korea. Color me unimpressed.
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