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The road towards the Euro2020 has begun and, although the difference between some teams is still very large, there are indications that there may be more parity
How many times have we heard in the soccer jargon "the European qualifiers are a mess" or "they are very boring"? Many times, surely. For us in Latin America, which coexists with the hardest qualifying process, that of Conmebol, it is not even a point of comparison.
However, knowing this reality, UEFA has been careful to add some details to their qualifiers to make them a little more attractive and less predictable. This editor offers his vision here at LatinAmerican Post.
Why are they or do they seem boring?
The answer is simple: the soccer difference in raw material and, therefore, in talent, infrastructure and league organization is very wide among countries like Germany, France, Spain, England, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Holland, in relation to others such as Andorra, Luxembourg, San Marino, Malta, Liechtenstein, Albania, Cyprus or more recently Gibraltar, to mention a few examples.
Of course, historically there have been some surprises, but the difference is very marked, and that makes them predictable and boring. Also, European's idiosyncrasy, which is much colder, means that this passion is not perceived in the stadiums, that cultural confrontation as in South America. There are special cases like Germany against Austria or Poland, Holland against Belgium or Germany, or Spain against Portugal, for border rivalries or previous fights that have marked history, but it is not the rule.
We must remember that European nations are usually much smaller in size and inhabitants than those in America, therefore, there is not so much material to get their hands on. In addition, the processes of separation and independence of some cities, now converted into countries, makes the soccer quality of extinct nations like Yugoslavia (today separated between Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia, and Montenegro), Soviet Union (today separated between Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Belarus, among others) and Czechoslovakia (now separated between the Czech Republic and Slovakia), to be lowered.
You may be interested in reading: Everything you need to know about the UEFA Nations League
The Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho said in 2017 that Conmebol's qualifiers are much better (in this case he was referring to the World Cups, in which with the Nations League, UEFA also expects to generate greater competitiveness), due to that parity it makes teams go out to the field to give everything they have, knowing that there is a real chance of success. This unlike Europe, where the differences, despite the years of competition, are still very marked.
What is UEFA doing?
Well, the UEFA Nations League, a parallel tournament that was created last year already shows an attractive and interesting format. In addition, it gives four places for the European Championship, regardless of how the winners of the quota go in the current qualifiers to the tournament to be held in 2020.
The next year's tournament will be held in 12 European cities and will have the participation of 24 teams, 20 of which will come out of the traditional qualifying phase that began at the end of March, and the remaining 4 of the four champions of the Nations League, in its categories A, B, C and D, separated precisely by the ranking of each selected. This gives the opportunity to the aforementioned Albania, Andorra or any other of that profile, to be the champion of the D League and automatically play in the European Championship, a position that would be much more difficult to achieve by playing the traditional eliminatory.
Let's go back to the Euro 2020 qualifiers, which have 55 UEFA member nations, which were divided into ten lots, five groups from six countries and another five from five.
There will not be better third parties this time. The first two of the 10 zones, which will add a total of 20 will advance directly to the final phase of the European Championship. During 2019, it has been stipulated to play all of the qualifiers, while the draw will be held at the end of November in Bucharest, the capital of Romania.
The itinerant Euro will be played between June 12 and July 12 in Amsterdam, Munich, Bucharest, Budapest, Baku, St. Petersburg, Bilbao, Rome, Dublin, Glasgow, London, and Copenhagen, between group rounds and later. The semifinal and final will be held at the Wembley Stadium in London.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "La UEFA y un buen intento por hacer sus eliminatorias menos aburridas"