Time to take minnows off the international menu
Now that the dust has settled on the Ronaldo story (at least until he actually signs) I wanted to go back to something that bothered me about last week’s on-field action.
“Have you ever seen a team this bad at Wembley?” Greaves, one of several members of the 1996 World Cup squad to be given belated winners medals after missing the final, said when interviewed by ITV.
Greaves went on to question the sanity of the near 60,000 fans who bought tickets to watch England beat a side that would struggle to survive in the fourth tier of English club football.
It wasn’t quite what ITV wanted to hear after desperately trying to stoke interest in the miss-match but the outspoken Greaves made a very good point before we were returned hurriedly to the studio.
The likes of Andorra and San Marino may belong to the FIFA family but they offer absolutely nothing to football at this level.
There sole objective is to avoid a double-figure thrashing which they usually achieve by positioning 11 players behind the ball and never venturing over the halfway line.
Apart from the three points pocketed by the teams facing them and the chance for strikers to skew their goalscoring stats the matches are… pointless.
Andorra have managed just three wins in 84 internationals with a combined goal difference of minus 203. San Marino are even worse, having managed just a solitary win in a friendly against Liechtenstein.
It is now time for FIFA and UEFA to act and stop these excuses for games of football.
Nobody is advocating banning them, but a system whereby the minnows must come through a pre-qualifying group before getting to face the big guns would at least weed out the country’s who are just cluttering the schedule.
By playing against nations of a similar standing it might even encourage them to try and score goals and ultimately improve their level of play.