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5 Reasons Why The European Football Championship Is Better Than The World Cup

argentina-1978-world-cup-logo.gifAsk any soccer fan about their favorite World Cup memory and you’ll immediately see a smile on their face and hear the enthusiasm in his or her voice. My favorite memory was my first World Cup when I saw Archie Gemmill go on that incredible run to score against Holland in 1978 in Argentina.

Over the years, the World Cup has become more about the experience and less about the football. There are many reasons for this, but a major one is the over-commercialization of the sport. UEFA’s European Football Championship is not immune to selling out soccer either, but the competition is far superior to the World Cup in many ways. Here’s my top five list of the reasons why the Euros are better than Copa Mundial:

  1. No third place final. I’ve watched almost every World Cup match from 1978 to 2006, but in all of those years I think I’ve only watched the third place final once. The match is a waste of time for the players, the fans and the TV audience. Thank heavens UEFA skips this meaningless match.
  2. Fewer teams competing. Sometimes less is more especially when you consider that Euro 2008 features 16 teams, while the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will feature 32. With 16 teams, you have the best teams who deserve to have qualified for the tournament. With 32, you usually end up with several minnows that get thrashed in the opening round and that don’t deserve to be there.
  3. Better quality football overall. It used to be that you looked forward to the World Cup to see the contrasting styles of play and how the different countries displayed their football characteristics against other nations. But the game has become one giant melting pot and what comes out of the other end is a similar style of football played worldwide. As a result, the World Cup matches have become less interesting while the games involving European countries are more enjoyable to watch (Italy versus Spain, and France versus Romania aside).
  4. Less burnout for players and fans. Every four years soccer fans get so excited at the prospect of the World Cup but due to the sheer number of games, TV watchers get burned out. There are only so many games on consecutive days that you can watch. And the same applies to players. After a long season, it’s difficult for footballers to maintain the highest levels at a World Cup. At least the Euros are much shorter and less physically stressful.
  5. Less hype. The amount of media coverage of each World Cup is mindboggling. The hype builds up so much that it’s often impossible for the actual football games to live up to the expectations of the media and fans. In contrast, the European Football Championship generate lots of media exposure but nowhere near the levels that Copa Mundial produces.

Do you agree or disagree? Share your feedback by clicking the comments link below.

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  1. Sanjay

    June 27, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Also, for those claiming that European football is the most exciting, how about this..
    The Champions League final had just2 goals and had to be settled by a penalty shoot out, while the first leg of the Copa Libertadores had 6 goals and was a very exciting game and dare I say it even more exciting than Man United v Chelsea.
    We just have to face it, nothing and I mean nothing can really compare with South American football as far as excitement is concerned. I think theres just something about the mentality of the players which shows in how committed they are while attacking..

  2. Johnathan Starling

    June 26, 2008 at 12:07 pm


    Please do the entire world a favor…AND GET OVER IT! Quite frankly the more Kartik ignores you the more I am going to laugh.

  3. Kartik

    June 26, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Nothing would make me happier than to see the Kiwis win that playoff. The Aussies were so arrogant in their move to the AFC simply assuming they’d have no trouble winning trophies and qualifying.

    I should also point out I have seen a number of CONCACAF teams advancing to the next stage in person within the last year and a half. The US several times, Mexico once (vs the US), Canada once (vs Panama), Honduras three times (vs Columbia, vs Switzerland and vs Venezuela), Guatemala once (vs Panama), Haiti (vs Jamaica) and Jamaica (vs Haiti and vs Columbia). While we no longer have MLS in south florida we get more non Mexican/American friendlies than any other place in the country so I’ve seen all the above mentioned teams and have made many of my assumptions based on actually watching these teams unlike many of you who base it on the reputations in the media and biases of the British media in particular.

  4. Sanjay

    June 26, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Yup, your right, there is a playoff between the OFC and the AFC. It could very well be New Zealand vs Australia!

  5. Kartik

    June 26, 2008 at 9:31 am

    A great sit down with JP Dellecamara, if you want to understand the American Soccer mind a little more from

  6. Kartik

    June 26, 2008 at 9:30 am


    Perhaps it is because I am American and I support my national program. I’m just stating my opinion about the current state of the program compared to where it was 5-10 years ago. By the way I am far from alone in my opinion. Many think I am “too soft” on the USSF in my blogs and on my radio show. I get more complaints about complimenting the effort of individual players in losses than I do from people like you who assume a national team is like a club team and you can root for whomever you want. That’s not how it works. You root for your country!

    In fairness the listeners to my show are like me> Driven by the national team first and foremost and not as interested in the daily working of club football. even when I watch “Yanks Abroad” it’s with an eye towards the next hurdle for the national team. So perhaps we all have a tendency to hyper analyze every game and every opponent. But the fact remains many think I am soft on the team in particular after this last qualifier. Others like my CSRN colleague Johnathan from the Third Half aren’t so kind on his blog and on his show. I happen to disagree with him strongly about of a few of his assessments but find some others spot on.


    I agree with your list. Does OFC playoff with the AFC now? if so how ironic if Australia finishes in that play off position!

    I agree with Simon. (not the impostor Simon whose posts have been rightfully deleted.) We’ll finish in the top 3, probably third perhaps 2nd if second choice sven tanks mexico as it is possible he will. Sven is going to have more trouble than people think with El Tri.

  7. The Gaffer

    June 26, 2008 at 9:07 am


    Sammy Patel has been banned from future posts on EPL Talk. He logged on last night and posted several messages under the names “Kartik” and “Simon Burke” trying to instigate trouble.

    Those posts where he pretended to be Kartik and Simon Burke have been deleted, and Sammy has been blocked from posting anymore.

    Thanks for your patience.

    The Gaffer

  8. Sanjay

    June 26, 2008 at 3:54 am

    Kartik, You may have made a few very valid points regarding CONCACAF and the USMNT. But, I’m sorry when I’m ranking different geographic regions based on the depth and quality of football, CONCACAF comes 4th and some might say 5th.
    This is what I think.
    1)UEFA ( some might say CONMEBOL but I think UEFA has more depth)

    What do you’ll think about the comparison between say Asia and North America? Personally, I think North America is much better but there a few Asian teams like Australia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, and maybe Saudi Arabua which could give most North American teams more than a run for their money.

  9. nas

    June 26, 2008 at 12:10 am

    kartik, bro why do you talk so much trash about the US team yet in all of your posts use the term “we” when talking about the team. let the real US fans use that term and go jump on bandwagon of some other team CONCACAF team that you talk so highly of.

    I’m not saying the US is the a great team more like an average team but they way your talking that they are minnows is complete garbage.

  10. Travis

    June 25, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Some of your points are valid and worth justifying but the fact remains that the U.S. is the defending CONCACAF Gold Cup champs which means they got it done on the field. In every tournament you can make points to show where a team got lucky (remember italy vs australia 06?). Was there luck involved to win the Gold CUP? Absolutely, thats part of the game.

    And yes, I am aware not every team was at full strength but you can only beat the team in front of you and thats what the U.S. did.
    As for many more times must we beat them before people will admit we are the better team…not the more skilled team…the better team!

  11. Simon Burke

    June 25, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Sorry Sonya – isnt the idiot – the one above, Sonya beat me to the post 🙂

  12. Simon Burke

    June 25, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    This last fella is an idiot.
    Indian, American, English – who cares?
    Take your shocking grammar and spelling to a flame blog. Moron.

    Kartik as for Honduras, they do have Suazo and a reasonable record in recent years over the US but despite that 3-2 win at RFK (where 2/3 of the crowd cheered Honduras and through urine at the rest of us) I will say that Honduras never went on to qualify. A league table never lies about your overall quality and Honduras didnt cut it then and I doubt they will now.

    Costa Rica are decent in Costa Rica only and are pitiful in World Cups barring the time they beat Scotland who are pitiful anyway (yes I am English).

    End of the day, the US have got a better draw for now – but they’ll be thrown in with the other group top 2’s in time and I wager will finish top 3 there.

  13. Sonya

    June 25, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Kartik’s entitled to his opinions. Although, I must put in my two cents and simply say I think the US team have a fighting chance in terms of qualifying.

    And Sammy Patel’s personal attack had absolutely no relevance to the question of whether Euro is better than WC, so I think he’s more vulnerable to mockery than Kartik is.

  14. sammy patel

    June 25, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    as i have said before, i will repeat myself again,..
    kartik when will you embrace your indian roots?

    your last name gives it all away.

    ill tell you this my friend, concacaf is not the hardest region, the hardest region is afc. this is where your home nation plays. why do you keep denying your ethnicity? look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself repeatedly, “i am not the american i think i am”. you may have been born here, or maybe you were just naturalized i dont know, but one thing i know is that you need to embrace your ethnic culture. it is very rich and you should be proud. having said that, please stop promoting concacaf, it does not make you any more american. it only makes you look a bit douchy. just a bit. so i wag my finger at you my friend.

    kartik why do you ignore this subject? is it a sensitive one for you? what harm has india done to you? hvaing such a rich culure must have only made you a much more richer person. india has done no harm, so please do no harm onto it. please embrace where you came from. do not shy from it. be proud my friend. be very very proud.

  15. Kartik

    June 25, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    FACT: Mexico made the Semifinals of Copa America and has advanced out of the group stage of six consecutive Copa Americas and four consecutive world cups. The US has advanced out of the group stage in one Copa America (1995) and only two world cups since 1934.

    FACT: Mexico has defeated Brazil three times since 2005. The US has defeated Brazil once in our history, in 1998.

    FACT: Mexico defeated Germany in 2005, the most recent meeting. The US has lost three consecutive meetings against the Germans after winning two in a row when we had a MUCH better team than now.

    FACT: Mexico is ranked higher in the FIFA World Rankings.

    I will point out I think Sven’s hiring is a big big risk. Things could blow up if he doesn’t grasp the culture of mexican football quickly.

    FACT: Honduras reached the final of Copa America in 2001 and defeated the US at RFK the same year in a qualifier.

    FACT: Honduras absolutely dominated the US for 80 plus minutes in the 2005 Gold Cup before the US scored two very late goals. Honduras has not played the US since but the Hondurans have since improved led by David Suazo of Inter while the US has regressed.

    FACT: Costa Rica finished ahead of the USA in the first qualifying group for the 2002 WC and in
    the Hexagonal.

    FACT: The US needed pks to defeat Canada in the 2002 Gold Cup and Panama in 2005. Then in 2007 Panama scored a goal against the US down a man. The US only scored its two goals up a man. Then in the semis the US got a gift pk call to take a 2-0 lead but then gave up a goal and was fortunate that the ref absolutely blew Gooch’s backpass that led to what should have been the tying Canadian goal. Besides the US was the host country and yet still struggled to beat Canada and Panama.

    Canada has a better squad than the US if you compare player to player. Landon Donovan is better than any Canadian player, but after that a huge dropoff occurs. DeRo, DeGuzman, Rob Friend, Atiba Hutchinson and even Ali Gerba are all better attacking players than the 2nd best US attacking player.

    I could be wrong but right now I’d take Canada’s team over the US. But they are of course hamstrung by an inept CSA, and being in the group of death.

    I actually hope you are right. Nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong and us be able to look back and say US Soccer was so strong in the late part of this decade. But I don’t see the players we used to have on a technical or tactical level. The fact that Canada, Honduras, even to a certain extent Costa Rica and Jamaica have developed these players is a huge cause for concern as time goes on.

  16. Travis

    June 25, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I am not dissing CONCACAF…it is a very difficult region to qualify from but that doesnt change that fact that you are still only offering your opinion on why the U.S. is 4th in CONCACAF right now.
    Fact: Within a two week period Argentina destroyed Mexico tied the U.S. (Advantage US)
    Fact: Mexico hasnt beaten the U.S. in 10 games
    (Advantage US)
    Fact: U.S. are Gold Cup Champs…this puts us ahead of any other team purely based on merit. (Advantage US)
    You may “wish” the U.S. is the 4th team but to emphatically make that case would leave you open for mockery.

  17. Kartik

    June 25, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Actually only two of the three can qualify ahead of the US because they’ve all been grouped together.

    Yes, Mexico is suspect right now. Will Sven straighten them out? I have my doubts and have already heard of some serious resistance within the mexican football community to his methods and style.

    Columbia was pretty poor too last year in the Copa. The US, yes a C team!

    Why can you guys not be all as reasoned as Simon in your opinion?

  18. Simon Burke

    June 25, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Based on your analysis then , Honduras, Canada and MExico will all qualify ahead of the US for WC2010. We’ll see…
    BTW, Mexico isnt playing great football and just had o change their coach.

    Copa last year was fine but won by a B team and one of the 12 was a C Team. Peru/Bolivia hardly good sides…
    The football was at times very entertaining but the Euros have been equally entertaining – this semi thats on right now is great stuff.

    As Gaffer says – its all football and its been fun so long as its not got Italy and Spain in it.

    As for the Euros being better than the WC – the WC is more prestigious but this EUro (and certainly not the 2004 cup) has been fantastic.


  19. Kartik

    June 25, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Sorry. Meant more $$$ and a better set up than Canada, NOT Mexico. My bad.

  20. Kartik

    June 25, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    The US right now based on current form and quality of the player in their pool are behind Mexico, Honduras and Canada. Maybe we’re 4th. Without Landon Donovan who so many eurosnobs like to bash we’d be further down the list.

    Now the USSF has more $$$$ and a better setup of youth facilities, training etc than Honduras and Mexico, but I remind you if you actually followed the game in the early part of this decade that the US needed to win its last match in the first group stage to get out of the group in 2nd place, and had to draw its last match of the hexaganol simply to finish 3rd and qualify for the World Cup. And that cycle we went to the WC Quarters, so don’t diss CONCACAF and assume because some no nothing radio commentators in this country say “CONCACAF sucks” that it’s so. I would dare England or Spain to go try and play an away fixture in Central America on a torn up pitch with glass and urine being thrown at them and see how much they like it.

    Dissing Copa America is fine if you are eurocentric. I never once said the South American teams are better. I simply said the football is more entertaining. That’s a reasonable opinion, isn’t it, or does one have to conform to a European standard to be taken seriously. Or do I know nothing about the sport because I prefer a certain style of the game that’s not British or European?

  21. Travis

    June 25, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Katrik, grouping the U.S. with the “minnows” tells me you are either a soccer snob or just want to make flamboyant statements. Not one of the 3-4 best teams in CONCACAF??? That is purely one mans opinion with no available evidence to back this up. If you make a statement like that, please provide evidence to support your point.
    Furthermore, you say Copa America is such a great tournament and better then Euro??? Tell me when was the last time a team from South American made a WC QF other then Brazil or Argentina……..I guess that means that they’re all minnows.

  22. Kartik

    June 25, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Dave the fact that you cite that 2007 Gold Cup match that I was at shows how little you follow CONCACAF.

    In that tournament T&T fielded an entire side of “B” players not one of which was on the squad for the two legs of WC qualifiers. Why? A dispute with Jack Warner about pay disputes after WC 2006.

    The US did not beat Guatemala fairly handily. 1-0. Was at that game also and the Guatemalans effectively employed a bracket of players around Donovan to stifle his service.

    In all likelyhood the US will qualify. But if FIFA’s officials had drawn the US ball instead of Mexico’s in Group B, the US would in all likelyhood be done after this round. Crazy? A much better US team that ended up getting to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in 2002 needed to beat Barbados in its last match to get out of the first group stage and then finished in third seven points behind leader Costa Rica in the last group stage. CONCACAF isn’t the pushover you Eurosnobs think it is.

  23. Dave @ Soccer FanHouse

    June 25, 2008 at 9:13 am

    I know I shouldn’t come here to feed the trolls, but anyone who honestly believes this current U.S. team won’t qualify for the 2010 World Cup out of CONCACAF is smoking crack.

    In third-round qualifying, the USA is in a group with Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba. The USA beat Guatemala and T&T fairly handily in the group stages of the 2007 Gold Cup. Cuba, meanwhile, did not make it out of its group. Bob Bradley’s team should win that group easily and make it to the final round, which is a six-team round robin.

    In 2006, the lowest automatic qualifier needed only 16 points in ten games to make it through to Germany. So you’re telling me this USA side, which is stocked with young players from European clubs and held Argentina to a 0-0 draw, isn’t capable of winning half its games in CONCACAF and drawing two more to get through?

    Please. It will take a collapse of epic proportions for the USA to miss the 2010 World Cup. I can’t vouch for what they’ll do once they get to South Africa — our only worthwhile striker is but 18 years old — but they *will* get to South Africa, and if you believe otherwise… well, you’re entitled to your opinion, I guess, but you’re as wrong as a telecom immunity bill.

  24. nas

    June 25, 2008 at 1:36 am

    karthik your an idiot…how can you say that the US are minnows, they made it out of the group 2 out of the last 4 world cups and that is not minnow status. Plus they were the only team in the entire tournament to take points from Italy and come on that group was ridiculous are you going to say the Czech Rep. are minnows cause they have only made 1 world cup out of the last 4.
    I also doubt that you have ever watched CONCACAF football because no respectable soccer analyst would ever mention that Mexico and the US would not qualify from CONCACAF because unlike what you say it is pretty weak.

    Please I watched the Copa America and it did not have the quality of the Euros, come on Brazil b squad won the tournament and if you want, call the US c squad a disappointment.

    hey check out the asian qualifying Saudi Arabia 5 wins out of 6 games and first in their group but since you watch so much soccer they probably wont qualify.

    Who cares if a minnow runs up against a Italy, Germany, or France. They qualified so they should get to play. A team like Senegal would not have upset France because you would not give them the chance to play.

  25. Pingback: Euro Dose: June 24th ‘08 - Euro 2008

  26. Moose Calling

    June 24, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    I agree with Sanjay and to a lesser extent with Kartik and Betsy’s Bolton Bum Baster .

    The Cup of African Nations absolutely produces the most exciting, dramatic wide open football outside the world cup.

    Copa America is good, but not as good as CAN.

    Actually the CONCACAF Gold Cup is better than the Euros in some ways as well. The US and Mexico don’t have to qualify which isn’t fair, but the other participants all go through qualifying and since unlike UEFA who has as many World Cup spots almost as teams that play in the Euro, it’s a massive win at all cost tournament for those CONCACAF countires that qualify. Many of the island nations know they will never make the World Cup but they build towards Gold Cup qualifying because it something they can get to. Same for many nations in the Asian Cup.

    The euros is not everything and world football is not simply european football.

  27. Sanjay

    June 24, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Also, for those interested in stats, the last world cup had 147 goals scored at a rate of 2.3 goals/game, the last Copa America had 86 goals scored at a rate of 3.31 goals/game, Euro 2004 had 77 goals scored at 2.48/game while the last African Nations cup had 99 goals scored at a rate of 3.09 goals/game.

  28. Sanjay

    June 24, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    First of all just want to say that the personal attack on Kartik was not needed and left a bad taste.
    Secondly, I want to add something else into this conversation regarding top class major tournaments. Since everybody’s talking about the Euros and the World cup, and Kartik mention the Euro’s, I want to throw in the African Nations Cup. Now before all of you’ll start attacking me and saying that the Euros are superior, I’m not for a moment saying that the ANC is better than either of the 3 competitons mentioned. All I’m saying is that it is very entertaining, there are a lot of goals and even the atmosphere is electric.
    I think it’s just fair to pay some more attention to the continent of Africa when you conisder the number of top players playing in the big european leagues and specifically England with the likes of Adebayor,Essien,Drogba, Toure, Kalou,Mikel,Martins,Yakubu, Kanu, Muntari, Utaka and all..

  29. prismatico

    June 24, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    I just agree in the number 2 and 3 points. The world cup is great and the Euro too.


  30. kartik's alter ego

    June 24, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    shut up kartik. who watched copa america last year? who? you did because you want to believe you are a proud american, even though you deny your cultural background from india. india has a rich culture that you need to stop ignoring. trying to be something your not is just annoying. so stop being a douche bag please. no one cares about the copa america and you should stop going to epltalk, a site devoted to english football and its ties to european football as well. dont go to an article about the european championship being better than the world cup and say that the copa america is better. you arent needed here.

  31. Kartik

    June 24, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina were the final four teams standing at the Copa. The US didn’t send their “A” team but they weren’t going to make an impact anyhow especially coming after the Gold Cup. But the football was still better. That is my opinion. Simply a matter of style. I respect everyone’s opinion here but just to anoint the Euros the best tournament in the world when Copa provides such drama (and I would argue more passion in the stands) is a tough one.

    The World Cup? Again Saudi Arabia, Togo, the USA, Japan, etc ruin that. Bolivia maybe ruins Copa but they aren’t much worse than Austria or Switzerland.

  32. The Gaffer

    June 24, 2008 at 12:04 pm


    We covered Copa America pretty extensively on this site last summer. Not as much as Euro 2008, but this is a blog that’s centered around European football, i.e. the Premier League.

    I enjoyed Copa America last summer. They were some cracking good games but overall I’ve been more impressed by what I’ve seen in Switzerland and Austria this summer.

    As Simon pointed out previously, Copa America didn’t even feature A teams for several countries, so how can that tournament be better than this one?

    At the end of the day, it’s all soccer, so I love it.

    The Gaffer

  33. Hudsonland

    June 24, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I’d like to state for the record that I do not believe the US MNT deserves to be at Euro 2008.

  34. Kartik

    June 24, 2008 at 11:16 am

    ” typical euro-centric BS”

    The whole Euro craze on this site and others smacks of this. Where I live people get fired up more by the Copa which I maintain produces better football but never gets this sort of coverage in the mainstream American press.

    Those here that have talked about how great this tournament is, please watch Copa America next go round. Then compare. The Euros are fine. I’m simply saying Copa America is better and the fact it doesn’t get the love from so many commentators and fans in the US smacks of Euro snobbery at its very core.

  35. betsy's bolton bum baster

    June 24, 2008 at 11:11 am

    typical euro-centric BS

    “don’t deserve to be there”? shut your mouth. all the teams qualify and that is the fairest way. sucks that your team plays in europe with so many strong teams. a team like saudi arabia or togo deserves to be there as much as england if they qualify through their confederation. just shutup you euro pig.

  36. Kartik

    June 24, 2008 at 10:19 am

    I’m not saying the Euros are less enjoyable w/o England, although that can be argued. I’m saying Americans are less passionate about the tournament and many are simply “keeping an eye on it” because England, the de facto national side of many Americans is not participating.

    Regarding the US team, I watch more CONCACAF national team matches than just about anyone in this country. I know to what I am speaking. The US two years into this world cup cycle still have not identified or developed comparable replacements for several players who led us in 2002 and 2006:

    Claudio Reyna
    John O’Brien
    Brian McBride
    Eddie Pope
    Tony Sanneh (2002)

    The top three on this list represent the most technical players the US has arguably ever produced save Tab Ramos and Hugo Perez. Right now the US has no technical skill, little tactical awareness and nothing in the attack especially when Landon Donovan who is a class footballer (but the only one we currently have) is injured are unavailable.

    Mexico has lots of issues as well but at least has Gio, Vela and Guardado integrating into their national side on a more accelerated schedule than we are integrating Jozy, Freddy and other youngsters that can help us.

    Sorry, the US was fairly dire in 1994 also, but no not a disgrace by any standard. That 1994 team and even the 1998 team that had good results before and after the World Cup just not in France could absolutely thrash this current US side if Donovan were unavailable.

  37. Dan

    June 24, 2008 at 9:35 am

    One last comment. I’m American and really enjoying Euro2008 even without England in the tournament (and that’s saying a lot as my wife is English, I’ve also lived there and am a huge fan). We were disappointed that they didn’t make it, but I’m surprised at the amount of coverage it did get here and the amount of attention all of my soccer-skeptic friends have given it as well.

    This also skips the fact that there are *a lot* of non-Anglo Americans watching the tournament this year, though maybe living in Italian-American rich Boston biases my view a bit…

  38. Dan

    June 24, 2008 at 9:29 am

    I agree with a lot of what you say. The biggest thing I’d disagree with is the part about teams who “don’t deserve to be there.” I’d compare the world cup more to the FA cup, when we get to see the lower league teams have a shot at the big guys. This last years was great as we witnessed several “dragon slayers” beat the tar out of the big four teams. That was fun. And rooting for total underdogs can be exciting too (Trinidad & Tobago’s run in 2006 comes to mind). It’s also one of the only chances some of these country’s get to watch their teams compete on the world stage- and explains some of the media overhype – and as Kartik said these teams are getting better.

    The big concern I share with you is player burnout. FIFA and all of the soccer confederations need to do something about their regular season schedules vs. cup schedules. I still think the EPL shouldn’t even have regular games in January, and ending earlier in May might go some way to allowing players some rest before the summer matches.

  39. Simon Burke

    June 24, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Kartik you are on crack mate – the Euros not having England and Americans finding it less meaningful as a result has nothing to do with the quality of the football or enjoyment of the tournament. For those of us who can look past American interest levels its been terrific. I am English and obviously would love us there but am not so biased or US-centric to view the tournament negatively as a result.
    As for the US which I realise you moan about a lot, they werent too far off qualifying from the group of death in 2006 – could well have beaten Italy.

    As for the Copa, it was a great Copa last year no question – was it better than the Euros of this – possibly but the quality of team was weaker. Brazil didnt even send all their A team, America sent a C team.

    As for there being plenty of dry cynical football ?? Spain ITaly obviously, France Romania as well but honestly after its a lot better. This has been for me the best Euros ever and ranks up there with Mexico 86 for me in terms of enjoyment. Spain v Russia should be terrific, I cant see Turkey posing any problems to Germany alas.

  40. Hank

    June 24, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Sorry, a little US pride here. The US has only been a absolute horror show in 2 of the last 5 world cups (1990 and 1998) were simply very bad in 2006 and almost respectable in 1994.

    I’m also not sure how you could deduce anything from the first (silly) round of CONCACAF qualifying. I guess Jamaica won 13-0 on aggregate, whereas Mexico and the US only won 9-0 on aggregate, so that puts Jamaica in the top spot…?

  41. Hudsonland

    June 24, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I kinda like having the minnows around, especially when they throw up games like Cameroon Argentina in 1990 and Senegal France in 2002.

    The greater number of games (3 a day! for weeks!) is awesome for the armchair fanatic and there’s only a maximum of one more game for the players.

  42. Kartik

    June 24, 2008 at 7:44 am

    You make solid points but I would still argue the Copa America is the best competition of all. The most artistic and exciting attacking football around. I rarely if ever see South American sides play the sort of negative cynical football Spain and Italy engaged in the other night.

    The minnows in the world cup like Saudi Arabia, the USA, the 4th African qualifier, etc do hurt the competition. But the truth if the Asian Confederation and CONCACAF are both improving. Saudi Arabia has made three straight world cups after never qualifying previously but now given the level in Asia they may not.

    The US has been an absolute horror in four of the last five world cups but having watched CONCACAF qualifying as much as I have watched the Euros I can assure that the US is not one of the 3-4 best teams in the confederation any longer and may not qualify. So we’ll have some new blood and get rid of some of the dead weight in the next World Cup. So give it a chance. The Euros are great but their has been plenty of dry, boring, cynical football, and quite frankly without England the tournament has less meaning for many Americans as I have discussed today over the CSRN website.

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