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What if the World Cup was played like the F.A. Cup?

After news broke earlier that FIFA are going to discuss whether to extend the World Cup to 40 teams, it got me thinking what if it was expanded further and it was done as a straight knockout tournament.

For this to happen the top 47 FIFA ranked nations would get a bye into the Second Round, they would be:

Ivory Coast
Czech Republic
Northern Ireland
Republic Of Ireland
Costa Rica
Cape Verde Islands

Then there would have to be 81 first round ties of which these winners would then go into the hat with the 47 top nations to give us a straight knockout format of 128 sides. Then the draw would have to take place, the nations would be ranked still in FIFA order but Congo the 48th ranked side would then become Number 1 in the draw. (I have used a random number generator for this)

Here is what the First Round Draw could look like:

59 Angola vs 136 Chinese Taipei
98 Barbados vs 162 Tonga
91 South Sudan vs 146 Vanuatu
69 Mauritania vs 97 St Lucia
48 Botswana vs 158 Bahamas
143 Tahiti vs 77 Bahrain
67 Chad vs 10 Australia
145 Nepal vs 62 Malawi
14 Slovenia vs 60 Liberia
128 Mauritis vs 133 Cambodia
135 Bangladesh vs 153 Solomon Islands
64 Mozambique vs 19 Nigeria
32 Cyprus vs 13 Congo DR
86 Thailand vs 70 Azerbaijan
124 Timor-Leste vs 8 Jamaica
132 Indonesia vs 52 El Salvador
111 Myanmar vs 2 Trinidad & Tobago
43 Iraq vs 134 New Caledonia
82 Kazakhstan vs 20 Belarus
35 Antigua vs 36 Venezuela
39 Qatar vs 29 Gabon
99 Guinea-Bissau vs 157 Anguilla
109 Sao Tome e Principe vs 101 Tajikstan
79 Lithuania vs 90 Hong Kong
83 Namibia vs 116 Grenada
17 Panama vs 74 St Kitts & Nevis
31 Benin vs 147 Sri Lanka
44 Cuba vs 96 St Vincent
141 Bhutan vs 140 Monserrat
100 Vietnam vs 9 Serbia
40 Jordan vs 4 South Korea
46 Estonia vs 155 Andorra
150 Turks & Caicos vs 108 Moldova
102 Singapore vs 115 Malta
7 Norway vs 88 Palestine
126 Puerto Rico vs 22 Israel
53 Niger vs 87 Sudan
6 Japan vs 78 Syria
42 Burkina Faso vs 45 Nicaragua
152 British Virgin Islands vs 37 China
142 Seychelles vs 71 Sierra Leone
131 Laos vs 25 South Africa
156 Papua New Guinea vs 151 San Marino
55 Latvia vs 50 Faroe Islands
56 Honduras vs 5 Scotland
12 Cameroon vs 160 Somalia
73 Ethopia vs 122 Samoa
125 Comoros vs 24 Bulgaria
161 Eritrea vs 113 Maldives
58 North Korea vs 94 Lebanon
121 American Samoa vs 107 Dominican Republic
103 Afghanistan vs 92 Kuwait
15 Mali vs 30 Haiti
33 Saudi Arabia vs 41 Canada
72 Turkmenistan vs 159 Dijibouti
139 Fiji vs 118 Liechtenstein
66 Central African Republic vs 138 Brunei
68 Aruba vs 3 Guinea
57 Oman vs 76 Armenia
149 Cayman Islands vs 81 Madagascar
26 Zambia vs 84 Swaziland
89 Macedonia vs 34 Libya
1 Congo vs 63 Zimbabwe
49 Togo vs 112 Bermuda
105 New Zealand vs 127 Yemen
23 Equitorial Guinea vs 110 Guam
27 Uzbekistan vs 93 Philippines
104 Curacao vs 144 Suriname
123 Malaysia vs 95 Luxembourg
129 Dominica vs 18 U.A.E
85 Tanzania vs 28 Morocco
114 Guyana vs 154 Mongolia
65 Burundi vs 54 Rwanda
38 Montenegro vs 75 Georgia
61 Krygyztan vs 47 Guatemala
16 Uganda vs 137 Pakistan
21 Bolivia vs 148 Macau
119 India vs 120 Cook Islands
11 Egypt vs 117 Gambia
51 Kenya vs 80 Belize
106 Lesotho vs 130 US Virgin Islands

81 winners would then progress to the 2nd Round. Scotland take a trip to Honduras while top ranked side Congo entertain Zimbabwe. Lowest ranked side Tonga go away to Barbados while hot topic Syria travel to Japan.

Logistically this could be a bit of a nightmare with some of the travel involved but you could eliminate World Cup Qualifiers and simplify International Football to a much streamlined tournament. Is your country in the hat, do you like your draw and confident of getting to the 2nd round.

If I can engineer a way to play these fixtures I might be able to do the whole tournament. So there you go FIFA here is a much better idea, I’ll be waiting for your people to drop me an e-mail

No comments

  1. Great shout! It could always be done similar to the World Cup now as in all these games go on in a host country, scrap all the qualifiers and stick on an extra month for the earlier rounds!

  2. You could have a World Cup more frequently as well, due to there being no qualifiers

  3. Good News! – I have simulated the first round and will posting the results then the whole tournament in due course

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