Monday, June 18, 2018

Should there be pre-qualification rounds for the World Cup qualifiers?

David Nugent in Editorial, World Cup 22 Mar 2013

Can San Marino pull off a shock against England this evening? If they do then it will be one of the biggest shocks in the history of football.

Can San Marino pull off one of the biggest shocks in the history of football by beating England this evening?

I have to say I feel like a broken record sometimes, because I have talked about this issue a few times and nothing ever gets down about it.

England faces a trip to San Marino in World Cup qualifying this evening and everybody knows the outcome of the game already and the game hasn’t even kicked-off yet.


Every time a big football nation faces a minnow the score seems to be a humiliating cricket score, which does nobody any good. England are expected to hammer San Marino and they probably will.

I feel sorry for the players that represent these smaller countries so proudly. Give them credit they try their best, but at the end of the day they are just not good enough and that goes for the San Marino players as well!


Joking aside though, the likes of San Marino, Andorra and Liechtenstein should have to qualify for the qualification campaigns. I have stated this on numerous occasions and there are many people out there that agree with me, so why haven’t FIFA sorted this out?

England will go to San Marino pick up the three points and then travel to the far trickier game against Montenegro. I think only England boss Roy Hodgson is focussed on the San Marino game, because nearly everybody else is thinking about the Montenegro game.

If we had pre-qualifiers it would save a lot of time, expense and energy. At the moment the World Cup qualifying group have five or six teams in them. It would be far easier and less time consuming to have four teams in each group, just like the World Cup group stages themselves.

It’s not a ridiculous notion really. Some teams in this qualification campaign have no points and some will end the campaign with little more than a campaign full of beatings by teams far superior to their own.


When World Cup qualifying draws are made we all know which teams are likely to qualify for the World Cup. I don’t think anybody has ever said we want to avoid San Marino in the draw, or oh no a trip to Liechtenstein is going to be tricky.

We know that the likes of Spain, Holland, Germany and Italy are likely to qualify for World Cup 2014. There may be a few surprises along the way, but on paper they should all make it to the big event.

Teams like Montenegro, Ukraine and Poland will give teams like England a good challenge and those are the sort of countries that deserve to be in qualification campaign. These are teams that have decent pedigree, or in Montenegro’s case a country that is an up-and-coming football nation.

These teams even hammer the minnows and that’s what I am talking about. I am not being a flat-track bully, all I am saying is that there should be some sort of system to prevent teams getting hammered and being embarrassed.

The San Marino players may get souvenirs out of the occasion maybe an England player’s shirt or something like that, but they are not souvenir hunters they are supposed to be footballers on the same level as their opponents.

Most are not even full-time footballers, which straight away puts them at a disadvantage to the big countries they play against.


There are always shocks in the game, but they are never caused by the true minnows of the international game, which is sad but true. I would love San Marino to be able to go toe-to-toe with England, but they can’t because they simply aren’t good enough.

This is not like domestic football where a team at the bottom of the Premier League could beat the top team. These players are truly in a different world to their opponents and it shows on the football pitch. It’s almost like putting a physical education teacher up against Mo Farrah in a race and expecting the teacher to be on the same level.


Modern footballers and managers are always claiming that footballers are playing too much football. Well here is a solution cut down the number of teams in the qualification for World Cup’s and European Championships.

Have a pre-qualification round and then there will be far less games for these so-called ‘tired footballers’ to play in. The best smaller nations will then have the chance to prove themselves good enough to participate in qualification.

Then the best ones will get the chance to face the bigger countries. FIFA are not an organisation noted for their sense of logic so maybe this makes too much sense for them. Sorry readers my rant is now over!

Should there be pre-qualification rounds for the World Cup qualifiers?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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