UEFA running big risk with Euro expansion
Franz Beckenbauer’s announcement that the European Championship finals will feature 24 teams instead of 16 from 2016 must have been welcomed by fans of countries that have found it difficult to qualify for recent major tournaments.
But as my colleague Mike Collett argued during Euro 2008, UEFA is running a big risk by trying to fix something that is not broken.
As we all know, the competition format (as it stands) is simple and logical and because just the top two advance (from each group) teams have to come and attack.
Add another four or eight teams and we get into the complicated nonsense we had to endure in the 24-team World Cups from 1982 to 1994 because it’s not easy to reduce 24 teams to a 16-team knockout stage.
Defensive, cagey football, from teams who shouldn’t be in the finals in the first place will damage the event.
Euro 2008 was a great tournament and you have to wonder if this expansion is just going to dilute the experience. It’s hard to imagine it actually improving things.
More underdogs might produce more surprises and make it that much more difficult for the likes of Spain and Germany to reach the final as they did rather predictably in Euro 2008. On the other hand, very few people, if any, want to see an additional eight teams just make up the numbers.
What do you think? Is UEFA about to ruin the world’s best football tournament? Give us your thoughts in the comments.