Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughUEFA have made a mistake with the 24 team Euros - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough UEFA have made a mistake with the 24 team Euros - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

UEFA have made a mistake with the 24 team Euros


The  Irish supporters generally didn’t care about the stuffing that was handed to them as they knew that the Irish had done well to qualify in the first place. They based qualification on solid defending and hard work and it proved successful, but, as many clubs who have been promoted into the Premier League have found out over the years, it isn’t enough when you come up against the best. Ireland were out of their depth against Croatia, so it was fairly obvious what was going to happen against Spain. Ireland are the weakest team in the tournament, but they qualified well and deserve the chance to compete against the best.

The point that I started thinking about was how this was the first one sided romp of what has been a very decent tournament so far. Yes, Germany took the Dutch apart at times, but Holland always had the players who could cause problems. Yes, Russia stuck 4 past the Czechs, but for 70 minutes it was still possible that the Czechs could get something from the game. From the moment that Torres put Spain in front yesterday, it was simply a case of how many (and of what quality of) Spanish goals.

UEFA has decided that France 2016 should be a 24 team tournament, and the question I would ask is whether this will make the tournament better, or just longer (and more money spinning). How many other national teams that didn’t qualify would do better than Ireland? Off the top of my head I can think of maybe 3 or 4, but they weren’t good enough to qualify as one of the 16 best teams in Europe over the last 2 years, so they can’t be that wonderful.

I am a passionate supporter of Wales. The move to 24 teams in theory gives us a better chance to qualify in 2016, (although we’d probably need at least a 32 team tournament to have a chance!) so I should be happy, but I wonder if it will just make the tournament worse.  What is so great about the Euros is the fact that there are no easy games. There’s no North Korea for Portugal to play this time round. By increasing the number of teams, UEFA will increase the number of one sided matches.

I understand UEFA’s point of view. This is their showpiece event. They want more matches. More importantly, they need to make sure that certain countries are there. They need England, Portugal and Italy at the tournament. They take thousands of fans, and have lucrative TV markets. The trouble is that those pesky little countries like Montenegro have shown that these big boys won’t always be in a 16 team tournament. Isn’t it better to have a team like England in the tournament because they deserve to be there, and not just because UEFA have made the tournament easier to qualify for? Euro 2008 wasn’t a failure because Croatia and Russia qualified. Everyone in England still watched it!

If Wales qualify in 4 years, I’m sure I’ll be delighted. But I fear that UEFA may have made a huge mistake. It will just lead to more pointless games and more predictable groups, before the 16 who would have qualified anyway progress into the second round. There may be a couple more exciting knockout games, but it will mean the end of groups containing Germany, Holland and Portugal. At the moment we have only 1 or 2 teams who have absolutely no chance of winning the tournament. All that will happen in 2016 is that we will have 9 or 10 teams who have no chance.

Ask yourself this, do we really need 8 more teams who aren’t as good as this Ireland team?

I thought not.

Dave Rogers

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