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Friday, January 04, 2008

Iran Could Be Thrown Out Of World Cup

Iran's preparations for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers is, by all accounts, in a bit of a shambles already.

Because of delays to the Iranian Football Federation elections and the lack of a head coach, they had not submitted a team squad to FIFA by the January 4th deadline.

Safaei Farahani, the chairman of the IFF Transitory Board, issued this warning a week or so ago:

"I just know that if we do not submit the list by January 4th, Iran will be eliminated from World Cup Qualifier games. I have expressed the sense of emergency of this issue to other members in our meeting tonight and that we should act as fast as possible."

"I also have to add, the process of submitting the squad list does not only consist of the names of the players, but also the completed documents of these players. Hence we really have very short time left."

There were moves in the 2006 World Cup Finals to exclude Iran because of the actions of their President (see this post) but this time around it seem like they are quite capable of shooting themselves in the foot without any additional political intervention.

However, despite missing the deadline, Iran have called up a 50 man squad (yes, you did read that right) for the qualifying campaign.

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posted by mark_s at 8:57 PM 0 comments

Smaller Nations Must Get Their Chance

A lot of commentators here in England think that some of the very much smaller European nations (San Marino, Lichtenstein, etc.) should not even be able to take part in the qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup football finals.

They think there should be a separate qualifying tournament for these countries and only the winners should be allowed to compete in the World Cup qualifiers proper.

Personally, I think the idea is a terrible one. All footballing nations, whatever their size, should be able to compete for a place in the World Cup finals. It really doesn't matter if San Marino or whoever are terrible and will almost certainly lose. That's not the point.

The point is that there is a (fairly) level playing field at the start of the qualification matches and the best football teams will qualify - no matter who they might be.

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posted by mark_s at 5:34 PM 0 comments

Thursday, January 03, 2008

We Will Qualify Or, Um, Die In The Attempt

Having been offered 1 million dollars by the Chinese Football Federation to qualify for the 2010 World Cup Finals, the Chinese national team have taken things one step further.

With typically Chinese seriousness, the national team made a public New Year announcement, in which they "pledge to advance to the World Cup".

Slightly strange, I'm sure you'll agree. But not nearly as strange as this bit, where they "swear by death to kill along the bloody road of defending the honour of the motherland and realise our youthful dreams."

Um. You know this is just a game, right? There really isn't any need to "swear by death" or doing any kind of killing along any "bloody road". I admire the patriotic spirit of the Chinese football team, but isn't this taking things just a little too far.

Oh well, good luck to 'em. They've got to get past Iran, Australia and Qatar first.



posted by mark_s at 8:22 PM 0 comments