CONCACAF just got punked by FIFA
The FIFA governing body announced changes to the 2010 World Cup qualifying, namely the two playoff match ups. CONCACAF, who for the 2006 World Cup, had it's 4th place side play a home and away series with the Asian fifth place side for one of the 32 spots. The Oceania champion had to playoff against the 5th place CONMEBOL side for the 32nd spot.
Now, FIFA has the CONCACAF 4th place side playing the CONMEBOL 5th place side and the Oceania champion playing the Asian fifth place side. FIFA has also said that they are considering having the Oceania champion play in the later stages of the Asian qualifying, instead of a playoff. FIFA did not change the number of nations that make the Finals.
On the surface, this makes more sense than what they had been doing. Have the CONCACAF side play the CONMEBOL side and the Oceania side play the Asian side. They are closer in geography and in relationship. Like I said, on the surface, it makes sense.
In my gut though, CONCACAF just got punked by FIFA. I can honestly say, and no disrespect for those sides that usually fall at the 4th spot in CONCACAF, but the CONMEBOL sides will lose maybe one out of ten series in this setup. T&T really cannot stand up to a country like Chile, or Paraguay, or Peru, or Bolivia. Neither can Jamaica, Panama, Guatemala, or so on. Hell, the top three in CONCACAF (Mexico, USA & Costa Rica) would be hard tested in a home and away series with these countries.
If FIFA wants to have five CONMEBOL sides in the World Cup, then they should just grant a 4th spot to CONCACAF, grant CONMEBOL a 5th spot, give Africa a 6th spot then have the Oceania champion play the Asian 5th place. That would cover all the spots that Bloefeld needs for re-election and he will be all nice and happy.
Again, these changes make sense, but then again, Taxes make sense, I just don't like them either.