International football has been subdued for a while. The popularity of the World Cup and intercontinental competitions such as the Euros and the Copa America has dwindled.
In contrast, the reputations of European and South American club competitions such as the Champions League and the Copa Libertadores have continued to increase due to high quality teams and close matches.
The success of these competitions is also due to rebranding. That is in name and in format.
The current popularity of the Champions League has been achieved by altering the structure from a "qualification, group, group, knockout" structure to just one group stage and a knockout structure. As well as name that implies that only the best teams have entered.
As a result, more games in the competition have become important.
The problem with international football is that it’s sustained the same competition structure: qualification, groups and knockout. Instead of expanding team numbers, which is supported by Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, FIFA and UEFA need to implement a drastic change. That change is a straight knockout tournament.
A similar format is used in College Basketball in the United States to determine the national college champions from the top teams of the NCAA Division 1. The tournament is a month long and culminates in a weekend where two semi finals are played on the Saturday and the final on a Sunday.
March Madness, as the tournament is know, has galvanised interest and status of collegiate basketball, which used to get overshadowed by College American Football.
This structure implemented in international football would result in more noteworthy matches and proactive teams seeking a win rather than a draw.
Moreover, lower ranked countries could have a better chance in a one-off game therefore upsetting and unnerving the powerhouses of world football.
In addition, it could allow a Women’s World Cup that could run simultaneously with the Men’s competition.
Qualification would still be needed to determine who has a place at the competition and a host country would still be need also but the tournament would become more significant.
A champion team would earn their crown.
The only negative perspective is that penalties would be more common, which would be bad news for England...
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