WCQ 2022: Qualifiers for Qatar's Questionable Quagmire

Titans Bastard

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The first WCQ draw of the cycle will take place at 11pm ET tonight, even though we still don't have confirmation of the actual size of the 2022 WC yet. FIFA is considering an even greedier plan to expand the WC to 48 — despite Qatar's lack of capacity to do so — by hosting games in some nearby countries.

Nonetheless, the first round of AFC qualifiers apparently won't be affected by the outcome of that question.

It will be a short WCQ campaign for the losers of the six home-and-away fixtures:

Pot A (seeded): Malaysia, Cambodia, Macau, Laos, Bhutan, Mongolia
Pot B (unseeded): Bangladesh, Guam, Brunei, Timor-Leste, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
 

coremiller

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It seems weird to me that large countries like Malaysia and Pakistan are mixed in at this stage with tiny countries like Guam and Brunei. Pakistan has a population of over 200 million people, why aren't they better?

What's the story on how the U.K.'s ex-colonies in South Asia became obsessed with cricket rather than soccer, while rugby became dominant in the Southern Hemisphere ex-colonies?
 

DJnVa

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It seems weird to me that large countries like Malaysia and Pakistan are mixed in at this stage with tiny countries like Guam and Brunei. Pakistan has a population of over 200 million people, why aren't they better?
Are you asking this about Pakistan or the US? Cuz it’s the same question at different levels of the sport.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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It seems weird to me that large countries like Malaysia and Pakistan are mixed in at this stage with tiny US Territories and countries like Guam and Brunei. Pakistan has a population of over 200 million people, why aren't they better?

What's the story on how the U.K.'s ex-colonies in South Asia became obsessed with cricket rather than soccer, while rugby became dominant in the Southern Hemisphere ex-colonies?
FTFY
 

DJnVa

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The USA is 24th in the FIFA rankings, Pakistan is 200th. I don't see the analogy.
That’s why I said on different levels. The US has 100x the population of Uruguay yet is not on their level.
 

Titans Bastard

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It seems weird to me that large countries like Malaysia and Pakistan are mixed in at this stage with tiny countries like Guam and Brunei. Pakistan has a population of over 200 million people, why aren't they better?

What's the story on how the U.K.'s ex-colonies in South Asia became obsessed with cricket rather than soccer, while rugby became dominant in the Southern Hemisphere ex-colonies?
I'm not sure, but I don't think it's quite symmetrical: cricket isn't #1 but is still popular in places like Australia and South Africa, whereas rugby has little presence in South Asia. It's possible that it's as simple as the weather: playing rugby in the South Asian heat seems more than a little unpleasant.

One theory about the separate issue of cricket+rugby vs soccer that I've read is that because soccer was/is more of a lower-class sport, the upper-class colonial administrators didn't popularize it in the colonies to the extent that one might expect given soccer's popularity in England.
 

coremiller

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I'm not sure, but I don't think it's quite symmetrical: cricket isn't #1 but is still popular in places like Australia and South Africa, whereas rugby has little presence in South Asia. It's possible that it's as simple as the weather: playing rugby in the South Asian heat seems more than a little unpleasant.

One theory about the separate issue of cricket+rugby vs soccer that I've read is that because soccer was/is more of a lower-class sport, the upper-class colonial administrators didn't popularize it in the colonies to the extent that one might expect given soccer's popularity in England.
The class theory is something I was thinking about. I would be interested to read something about why the sports that the Brits introduced in their colonies differed from the sports Brits introduced in non-colonies, e.g. British expats introduced soccer in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Italy, etc.
 

Ale Xander

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I need a rooting interest. Without turning into V&N, which nation listed above treats women and LGBTQ and ethnic minorities the best of them (least worst)?
 

DJnVa

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So not to turn it political but what teams have good politics? Good luck.
 

67YAZ

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I need a rooting interest. Without turning into V&N, which nation listed above treats women and LGBTQ and ethnic minorities the best of them (least worst)?
Guam, I suppose.

As a US colony, I wasn’t aware that it had its own national team. Would be a helluva underdog story for them to progress.
 

Ale Xander

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Guam, I suppose.

As a US colony, I wasn’t aware that it had its own national team. Would be a helluva underdog story for them to progress.
Of course! Go Guam!

Guam has a new Aussie coaching staff and trained in CA, and scrimmaged against the San Diego State and LA Galaxy II teams. They are led by attacking midfielder Jason Ryan Quitugua Cunliffe who has 15 goals in 40 caps. He plays "domestically" for the Bank of Guam Strykers.

Guam, which has a territorial population of around 163,000, bested the national team of India, with an approximate population of 1.3 billion, during June, 2015, as part of the 2018 WC qualification.

Guam is currently ranked #193 in the world by FIFA (207 ELO) and was as high as #146 (shortly after the 2015 wins in qualifying)
 

Vinho Tinto

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Per Bleacher Report, FIFA has abandoned the 48 team plan. 2022 will be 32 teams.
That’s too bad. I’ve been openly rooting for everything related to this tournament to be a clown show. Hopefully, the nations who voted for Infantino based on a bigger tournament will go rogue.
 

DJnVa

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Now move it back to summer and out of Qatar and we’re in business!
If they were going to move it they already would have, because that would have likely allowed them to go to 48 teams, which is what they wanted.
 

67YAZ

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FIFA to hold 2019 & 2020 Club World Cup in Qatar as dry run for 2022.

When asked if the question of human rights came up in the deliberations for this action, our compassionate CONCACAF President offered,

“Not today, not in the council meeting, but those issues are part of the ongoing discussion between the special administration which deals with this on a daily basis and obviously the local organising committee.”
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Michael Platini has been arrested in connection with awarding the World Cup to a fake host.

Special interest seems to be on his meeting with Sarkozy and the future emir of Qatar, and probably also stuff like:

Questioned by the Guardian about his decision a fortnight ago in Paris before the Fifa congress, Platini insisted that he had already made his mind up to vote for Qatar. His son, Laurent, subsequently joined the Qatar sportswear company Burrda, owned by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), which Platini has always denied had anything to do with his decision.
Platini did vote for Qatar, a vote, with others at Uefa, which the then Fifa president Sepp Blatter has always said were crucial to sending the tournament to Qatar rather than his preference, the USA. After the award, Qatar Airways ordered 50 French-made A320 neo-family planes made by Airbus, and QSI bought and mega-funded Paris Saint-Germain, the club Sarkozy supports.
 

coremiller

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They've already awarded 2026 to the US, so even if Qatar gets moved (which it won't) it's not coming to us. I guess the most likely backup hosts would be Germany, England, or (irony!) France.
 

Kliq

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Wouldn't it make the most sense to move the tournament to another country in the AFC? Australia or Japan? Maybe they could play it during June too.
 

67YAZ

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The World Cup ain’t moving. The Gulf States are pumping huge cash into the game now - buying clubs, the Saudi bankrolling a redesigned Club World Cup, Qatar 2022...this is where the money is. And FIFA is always where the money is.
 

Ale Xander

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They've already awarded 2026 to the US, so even if Qatar gets moved (which it won't) it's not coming to us. I guess the most likely backup hosts would be Germany, England, or (irony!) France.
Move 2026 to 2022 and then give 2026 to Aussieland
 

OilCanShotTupac

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The World Cup ain’t moving. The Gulf States are pumping huge cash into the game now - buying clubs, the Saudi bankrolling a redesigned Club World Cup, Qatar 2022...this is where the money is. And FIFA is always where the money is.
But Qatar is on the outs with Saudi Arabia, which means the bloc led by Saudi Arabia, which means most of the Gulf and the Arab world generally.... it's a pariah in its own neighborhood.


Saudis would be glad to sabotage this WC and kneecap Qatar.
 

InstaFace

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They've already awarded 2026 to the US, so even if Qatar gets moved (which it won't) it's not coming to us. I guess the most likely backup hosts would be Germany, England, or (irony!) France.
Or they can move it to us, since we're by far the most prepared to host the event, and reconsider where 2026 should go. Australia simply lacks the venues, would need a decade of construction to get there. They could maybe host 2026, could definitely host 2030. But the backup plan for 2022 should start with the USA (+ Mexico & Canada, if they'll change dates along with us), and only if that's unworkable for some reason should look at the western european countries.

Would be a real shame if the employers of all that slave labor, who have now killed 5000 such laborers, had all their slavery come to naught.

Last hosted world cup:
England: 1966
Spain: 1982
Italy: 1990
France: 1998
Germany: 2006 (and 1974)

They used to give every other WCF to a top-5 UEFA country (2014 of course went to Brazil, which isn't that different). I suppose it's kinda "their turn" again. Personally I'd see if Spain and Morocco could cook something up ASAP, I always had a lot of sympathy for their bid getting continually fucked over by Blatter. But on 3 years' notice? the USA has something like 80% of the world's venues > 60k capacity and 60% of the world's venues > 40k capacity. There's really an obvious best choice, and frankly FIFA would find themselves in a buyer's market, with many more venues they can negotiate fees down with which otherwise sit idle most of the summer.
 
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67YAZ

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But Qatar is on the outs with Saudi Arabia, which means the bloc led by Saudi Arabia, which means most of the Gulf and the Arab world generally.... it's a pariah in its own neighborhood.


Saudis would be glad to sabotage this WC and kneecap Qatar.
The Saudis already tried that by pushing for the expanded WC in 2022 with a bunch of games to played in SA. But they couldn’t push it through.

Look, history shows that FIFA is nimble enough to take cash from all sides of a conflict, selling the vision that buying football is buying international goodwill and positive p.r.
 

DJnVa

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Or they can move it to us, since we're by far the most prepared to host the event, and reconsider where 2026 should go. Australia simply lacks the venues, would need a decade of construction to get there. They could maybe host 2026, could definitely host 2030. But the backup plan for 2022 should start with the USA (+ Mexico & Canada, if they'll change dates along with us), and only if that's unworkable for some reason should look at the western european countries.

Would be a real shame if the employers of all that slave labor, who have now killed 5000 such laborers, had all their slavery come to naught.

Last hosted world cup:
England: 1966
Spain: 1982
Italy: 1990
France: 1998
Germany: 2006 (and 1974)

They used to give every other WCF to a top-5 UEFA country (2014 of course went to Brazil, which isn't that different). I suppose it's kinda "their turn" again. Personally I'd see if Spain and Morocco could cook something up ASAP, I always had a lot of sympathy for their bid getting continually fucked over by Blatter. But on 3 years' notice? the USA has something like 80% of the world's venues > 60k capacity and 60% of the world's venues > 40k capacity. There's really an obvious best choice, and frankly FIFA would find themselves in a buyer's market, with many more venues they can negotiate fees down with which otherwise sit idle most of the summer.

I doubt they are going to move it, but they could also do a joint European one, similar to the US/Canada/Mexico one---Europe ain't that big and you could host in a few sites in England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, etc.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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The Saudis already tried that by pushing for the expanded WC in 2022 with a bunch of games to played in SA. But they couldn’t push it through.

Look, history shows that FIFA is nimble enough to take cash from all sides of a conflict, selling the vision that buying football is buying international goodwill and positive p.r.
No doubt. Just that the other Arab countries aren't going to be lining up on Qatar's side. It's a pariah, its only patron was FIFA, and with all of the FiFA architects of the Qatar bid going to prison, there is a pathway to pulling out of Qatar. I don't think the other Arab nations will be the ones to kill the momentum if it happens.
 

InstaFace

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I doubt they are going to move it, but they could also do a joint European one, similar to the US/Canada/Mexico one---Europe ain't that big and you could host in a few sites in England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, etc.
That's an interesting idea, and fun to think about. They can have the various Presidents / Chancellors mud wrestle for who gets to host the Final.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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I doubt they are going to move it, but they could also do a joint European one, similar to the US/Canada/Mexico one---Europe ain't that big and you could host in a few sites in England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, etc.
Radical idea: Pot 1 team/top seed in each group hosts the group stage.

Each such side will have at least one or two suitable venues and can host six games easily.

You need 15 stadium dates for the knockout rounds (16 if you count the turd-place game). Easily doable in USA, or splitting between countries able to handle.
 

Kliq

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Or they can move it to us, since we're by far the most prepared to host the event, and reconsider where 2026 should go. Australia simply lacks the venues, would need a decade of construction to get there. They could maybe host 2026, could definitely host 2030. But the backup plan for 2022 should start with the USA (+ Mexico & Canada, if they'll change dates along with us), and only if that's unworkable for some reason should look at the western european countries.

Would be a real shame if the employers of all that slave labor, who have now killed 5000 such laborers, had all their slavery come to naught.

Last hosted world cup:
England: 1966
Spain: 1982
Italy: 1990
France: 1998
Germany: 2006 (and 1974)

They used to give every other WCF to a top-5 UEFA country (2014 of course went to Brazil, which isn't that different). I suppose it's kinda "their turn" again. Personally I'd see if Spain and Morocco could cook something up ASAP, I always had a lot of sympathy for their bid getting continually fucked over by Blatter. But on 3 years' notice? the USA has something like 80% of the world's venues > 60k capacity and 60% of the world's venues > 40k capacity. There's really an obvious best choice, and frankly FIFA would find themselves in a buyer's market, with many more venues they can negotiate fees down with which otherwise sit idle most of the summer.
I'm sure Syd could enlighten us more about this, but that isn't exactly true. While the US has probably the best combination of venues/markets for matches, it isn't the only place capable of hosting the World Cup on short notice. You don't need 10+ 60,000 seat stadiums for the World Cup, Qatar was/is going to have one 80,000 seat venue, one 60,000 seat venue and six 40,000 seat venues. Australia has:

Melbourne Cricket Grounds - Melbourne - 100,000 capacity
Stadium Australia - Sydney - 83,000 capacity
Perth Stadium - Perth - 60,000 capacity
Docklands Stadium - Melbourne - 53,000 capacity
Adelaide Oval - Adelaide - 55,000 capacity
Lang Park - Brisbane - 52,000 capacity
Queensland Sport and Athletics Center - Brisbane - 49,000 capacity
Sydney Cricket Ground - Sydney - 48,000 capacity
Sydney Football Stadium - Sydney - 45,000 capacity

Some of those may need some renovations (although almost all of them appear pretty new or recently renovated) and you might want to toss in Eden Park (50,000) in Auckland to diversify the cities (although half of the Qatar stadiums are in Doha, and all of them are virtually in the Doha metro area) but it shouldn't be too much of a hassle. They don't need ten years to build 15 new stadiums or anything.
 

InstaFace

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I can't upload spreadsheets, but I've crunched this data before, starting from the Wikipedia page on largest stadiums, which has the top 521 (everything 40k+).

The USA has:
50% of the world's stadiums 80k+ (25/50)
38% of the world's stadiums 60-80k (51/133)
19% of the world's stadiums 50-60k (26/135)
17% of the world's stadiums 40-50k (34/203)

You want to talk about being prepared on short notice, and having a lot of venues bidding your costs down, the USA is in a league of its own (thanks, college football!). FIFA would undoubtedly make a LOT more money moving the world cup to the USA.

Also, Australia would mean keeping the WCF in January, which would kinda suck for, ya know, football and club seasons, or be in local winter in which, unlike South Africa, it gets actually cold.
 

Zososoxfan

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I can't upload spreadsheets, but I've crunched this data before, starting from the Wikipedia page on largest stadiums, which has the top 521 (everything 40k+).

The USA has:
50% of the world's stadiums 80k+ (25/50)
38% of the world's stadiums 60-80k (51/133)
19% of the world's stadiums 50-60k (26/135)
17% of the world's stadiums 40-50k (34/203)

You want to talk about being prepared on short notice, and having a lot of venues bidding your costs down, the USA is in a league of its own (thanks, college football!). FIFA would undoubtedly make a LOT more money moving the world cup to the USA.

Also, Australia would mean keeping the WCF in January, which would kinda suck for, ya know, football and club seasons, or be in local winter in which, unlike South Africa, it gets actually cold.
I may be wrong, but I don't think college football stadia really get considered for world football purposes. They typically do not have the amenities (read: VIP boxes) required and are not well-located for the most part. Nevertheless, this is a red herring since the plethora of professional football and now SSS in the US, not to mention the airport infrastructure and proximity to Europe and Latam combine to allow for the US to hold the WC on shorter notice than anywhere else outside Western Europe.
 

InstaFace

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Venues for 1994 world cup in USA:

- Rose Bowl (multi-purpose but primarily built for college football)
- Stanford Stadium (track + football)
- Detroit: Silverdome (then-home of NFL's Detroit Lions)
- NY/NJ: Giants Stadium (NFL)
- Dallas: Cotton Bowl (college football, mostly SMU + bowl game)
- Chicago: Soldier Field (NFL)
- Orlando: Citrus Bowl (college football bowl games & showcase games)
- Foxboro: Schaefer Stadium (NFL)
- DC: RFK Stadium (multi-purpose but has hosted more college than NFL, and more baseball than either)

So they used 4 college football stadiums, 4 NFL stadiums, and 1 multipurpose one.

All else equal I'm sure FIFA would rather play in an NFL stadium for the reasons you cite, but there's nothing in particular that would prevent them from playing in Ann Arbor MI, State College PA, College Station TX, Knoxville TN, or Baton Rouge LA. I'm sure they'd love to be able to sell 100k+ tickets. And it's not like top college football stadiums don't have luxury boxes.

Again, the numbers of stadiums, of all sizes suitable for WCF games, in the USA dwarf that of any other single country, and frankly of the top-5 Euro nations combined.

Number of stadia 40k+ capacity, leaving aside all weighting towards the larger ones (which would favor the USA still-more):
UK: 17
DE: 16
ESP: 10
ITA: 9
FR: 9
USA: 136
(AUS: 10, BRA: 27, India 24, China 37)
 

Awesome Fossum

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Not that it's terribly important, but RFK has was home to the Redskins for 35 years. Looks like they hosted Howard and GW (who I didn't even know ever had a football team) for a combined seven years. The future Rangers and former Expos played in RFK for a combined 13 years. Definitely a multi-purpose stadium, but if it's going to fall into any category, it would have to be NFL. Especially in 1994, when the Redskins had been the only major tenant for years. Nationals had to put in a lot of work to get it ready for baseball again.
 

DJnVa

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- DC: RFK Stadium (multi-purpose but has hosted more college than NFL, and more baseball than either)
I'm not sure this is correct.

Redskins played there for 36 years, so about 275 games or so.

GW played football there a total of 57 times (I think), and Howard 42 (22-17-3) times, giving 99 games. I 'd be hard-pressed to find an additional 200 college games.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Since England was robbed and, you know, is the birthplace of the sport, and last hosted the tournament in 1966 whereas USA hosted it in 1994 and would host it again in 1996, I think they should host it if Quatar is a no go. I am sure they have plenty of stadiums to host it: On top of my head: Two in Manchester, three in London, one in Liverpool, one in Newcastle, one in Sunderland, one in Birmingham.
 

InstaFace

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The UK's stadiums are probably sufficient, if and only if the dates line up and the business negotiations don't get complicated.

Wembley Stadium
90,000​
London
Twickenham Stadium
82,000​
London
Old Trafford
75,639​
Manchester
Principality Stadium
74,500​
Cardiff
Murrayfield Stadium
67,144​
Edinburgh
Celtic Park
60,355​
Glasgow
Emirates Stadium
60,338​
London
Etihad Stadium
55,097​
Manchester
London Olympic Stadium
60,000​
London
St James' Park
52,387​
Newcastle upon Tyne
Hampden Park
51,866​
Glasgow
Ibrox Stadium
50,947​
Glasgow
Stadium of Light
49,000​
Sunderland
Anfield
45,522​
Liverpool
Villa Park
42,788​
Birmingham
Stamford Bridge
42,055​
London
Goodison Park
40,158​
Liverpool
Certainly wouldn't mind it, but the margin for error on short notice there is definitely smaller than it would be in the states. Would rather move USA to 2022 and then vote for the UK in a 2026 re-vote.
 

DJnVa

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The UK's stadiums are probably sufficient, if and only if the dates line up and the business negotiations don't get complicated.



Certainly wouldn't mind it, but the margin for error on short notice there is definitely smaller than it would be in the states. Would rather move USA to 2022 and then vote for the UK in a 2026 re-vote.
Did you overlook Tottenham's new stadium?
 

DJnVa

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No idea what this is, but this site is reporting there are "secret discussions" to move the WC

 

SoxFanInCali

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Some interesting matchups in the group stages of AFC qualifying.
N. Korea vs S. Korea
Iran vs Iraq
Saudi Arabia vs Yemen

Going to go out on a limb and say that away fans won't be permitted at those games.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Going to be great when a bunch of players can't play because they don't have any time to recover from in-season knocks, and when a separate bunch of players miss time for their club because of knocks during the tournament.