We wrote about this subject last November – should international minnows like San Marino be put through a qualification process, and the best few go into the main Qualifiers?
Andorra, San Marino, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Malta etc are all fairly awful teams – the first two rarely score a goal yet alone take a point. It creates, in each group, an extra two games for the likes of England that are pointless – there is no question on who will win, and clogs up the calendar, infuriating managers domestically. My idea from last year is apparently being looked at (or similar), which was the following:
1 – The bottom 9 teams (1 from each group) – drop into a qualification process, or the bottom 9 ranked teams.
2 – Top 3 from the 9 team round robin go into the main qualifiction
3 – The bottom 6 do not, making the whole system into 8 groups of 6, rather than 9
4 – It will save them from constant embarrassing losses, and allow them to play football, grow as a team, and have a chance of winning.
International football would be seen as less of a joke, managers would be less reluctant to let players go, safe in the knowledge they are not being risked playing amateur footballers. Less than a minute into England vs San Marino, Raheem Sterling got taken out with a horrid tackle…it was the sort of tackle my younger brother would make when playing college football!
An 8 games Qualification process is much less of a strain. Some say these teams deserve their chance to play big games, so players have something to tell their grandkids one day. Why? Losing 6-0 every game is nothing to write home about. San Marino have lost pretty much every game, taking just 7 points in over 130 games. If they got chance to play against Andorra, Luxembourg and so on they would get better, improve and enjoy the football. The top three going into the main quals is a good number, and takes it to 48 sides – 8 groups of 5 – just makes more sense.
These teams can still get friendlies against the big sides, but you have to feel for the fans. If your team got nailed 5-0+ every game, you probably wouldn’t go. Either way, this will solve the crisis international football is in