Linekar jumps on Asian World Cup Qualifying bashing bandwagon
After Saudi Arabia’s 5-0 hammering to Russia, Gary Lineker and a host of other sports media people tweeted out that all teams from Asia must be useless if that’s the best Asia has to offer at the finals. It was sad to see Lineker jump on the Asian qualifying is hopeless bandwagon after the defeat because he is normally one of the better tweeters from the ‘media’.
It was posted tongue in cheek like the rest of Lineker's tweets, but it’s obvious as the day is long that the majority of English based pundits haven’t a clue about Asian football. I myself didn’t know or care too much about Asian football, and then even the move to Taiwan didn’t help much due to the country not being that interested in football. It was unlike moving to Japan or Korea where there is at least a football culture there.
Asia does have some good sides, however, I admit the level is not the same as Europe but to only post that Asian qualifying is rubbish is a bit low, considering the North American qualifying is also weak, and the African qualifying is extremely difficult because of how the federation organizes the format.
African, and North American qualifying also weak
If you look at the African, Asian and North American qualification routes for the World Cup subjectively you will see that they all have a handful of top level teams who will always be competing for the World Cup spots, and then behind that there is another few teams who cause the big boys some trouble and make it competitive. All three qualifying regions have more ‘weak’ sides than actual good sides.
The lack of overall competition in the African, Asian and North American zones doesn’t help their teams at the finals. This is something the Japanese Football Association (JFA) are working hard on trying to correct as they support a lot of national federations throughout the Asian region. They help offer support financially, by sharing their experience and by providing coaches to other nations in an effort to build up the host countries knowledge around football. This is Japan being aware that the lack of competition is holding the region back and putting in the effort to fix this.
But Europe also has weak teams!
Tweeters based in Asia and North America have pointed out that European teams have to play Andorra, San Marino, Luxembourg and Gibraltar or similar level teams however in Europe these teams really are the minority as most of the European region is highly competitive outside the ‘top tier’ sides like Spain, Germany, France and the like. The only two extremely difficult qualifying regions are Europe and South America, then after that, the others are very similar if looked at subjectively.
Seeing people tweet that Saudi Arabia shouldn’t be in the World Cup because America aren’t was also hilarious, America got knocked out by Trinidad and Tobago. As for Italy and Holland, they are not in the World Cup because they weren’t good enough and it’s really disrespectful to the teams who knocked them out to keep crying for them to be let back in. Italy couldn’t beat Sweden over two legs so deserve to not be there, this is Sweden who are hardworking and workmanlike but no worldie team. The rules are set up in a way so that if you don’t win enough games you’re not qualifying, it’s straightforward.
Going by their logic, South Korea could be considered better than Italy
South Korea have been drawn into the same group as Sweden and face them in their opening match of the competition, so does that mean if South Korea defeat Sweden all of Asia can now start tweeting – god European qualifying must be useless if that’s what you sent to the finals? – If anyone did tweet that it would be ridiculous because clearly European qualifying isn’t rubbish but it’s the same as what has been said about Saudi Arabia’s defeat over and over and over again like a broken record. In fact, if I see big Ronaldo I will have to thank him for smashing a hat-trick in so that Twitter stopped banging on about how crap the Saudi’s were.
At the end of the day, it is just like Ying and Yang, you can’t have a stronger region without a weaker region, you can’t have a stronger team without a weaker team, and you can’t have the best player in the world without having the worst player in the world. This is the way it always has been, the way it always will be and the way it will continue to be. So back off Twitter, Saudi are gash in finals this is known.