MOSCOW — FIFA can secure itself a big win by stopping teams coming from being tempted to lose inside name of winning. the globe Cup’s current rules on losing in addition to winning sometimes become a losing proposition all round, when the basic premise of sporting competition – to win – is actually twisted when reality dictates which which is actually more beneficial to temporarily lose.
At which point, you can’t be blamed for wondering if which column is actually about winning or losing, or indeed, what the heck is actually going on. You’re in not bad company, though, because the past few days have seen several World Cup teams caught up with mixed signals as to what they should definitely be trying to do.
To clarify a muddy situation, the final round of matches inside globe Cup’s group stages saw a lot of complex permutations involving which teams could qualify for the knockout round, which position they could finish in their group in addition to who they might end up facing once things progressed to the round of 16.
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The formula used for the competition is actually relatively straightforward. The top two in each of the eight groups moves on, with the group winner given the supposed advantage of playing a team which placed second in its group inside next round.
In theory, which should ensure every team wants to win its group in addition to get what should be a weaker opponent as the journey continues. The problem is actually, upsets happen, games in different groups are played at different times in addition to which soon which becomes clear to certain squads which there could be greater benefit coming from finishing as runner-up in its group.
which is actually when strange things start to happen. Things like Belgium in addition to England each fielding drastically weakened lineups in their final Group G face-off, with both squads having already clinched advancement by winning their first two. The reward for winning the group, ultimately clinched by Belgium after a tepid 1-0 win, is actually a potential quarterfinal against Brazil. England, if which negotiates past Colombia inside round of 16, could then have a dream quarterfinal against the winner of Sweden in addition to Switzerland, in addition to realistically saw its chances of creating the final increase thanks to its defeat.
Two days earlier, there was no hint of sadness on the faces of Russia’s players after they lost 3-0 to Uruguay in their third match. Victory could have brought bragging rights associated with winning Group A in addition to perhaps the intangible of a psychological boost. nevertheless in practical terms, the Russians will currently play their second-round match at their favored venue, Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, where most of their international games are staged, instead of trekking down to Sochi in addition to also having one fewer day’s rest.
Japan head coach Akira Nishino rested six players for his team’s third game, figuring which the various other result inside group could likely ensure his squad qualified anyway. nevertheless the real reason was which in Japan’s position there was no extra advantage for winning the group as which was guaranteed to face a tough second-round opponent regardless – England or Belgium. So why not rest up beforehand?
which is actually where the problem lies. The group stage has become a process of survival in addition to sometimes tactical positioning. There needs to be a clearer in addition to more defined reward for those who win the group as opposed to teams who merely sneak in.
One way to achieve which under the current system of 32 teams could be to scrap the round of 16 altogether in addition to have each group winner go to the quarterfinal in addition to hold the rest head home. which’s unlikely to fly, in addition to in any case, the round of 16 provides a lot of fun.
An alternative could be to redraw the pairings after the group stage, putting the winners in one pot in addition to the runners-up in another, which could stamp out teams trying to position themselves into second place. In a larger host country, such as Russia or the United States, which could pose significant hurdles for traveling fans, who could have no hint of where they could be playing until a couple of days before which actually happened.
A better option may actually present itself when FIFA adopts the controversial plan to expand the globe Cup to 48 teams. As things stand, which idea is actually based on 16 three-team groups, which is actually ugly in addition to messy in addition to fraught with complications in addition to possibilities for collusion.
Yet if 48 broke down into 12 groups of four, the thing could work better. The top two in each group could qualify, creating 24, nevertheless the eight group winners with the best record could get a second-round bye, while the remainder battled which out for the final spots inside round of 16.
which could guarantee which not only do teams have every incentive to win the group nevertheless could be trying to do so with the greatest numbers of points possible.
Ultimately, which probably makes too much sense for FIFA to adopt, nevertheless which is actually a fact which the worst thing about which outstanding World Cup was the rather dismal conclusion to the group stage.
Thankfully, which is actually currently on to the knockout bracket, where everyone wants to win, no one wants to lose, in addition to no one even thinks about the potential for winning by losing.