Thinking better of CONCACAF

28 June 2014

Since Thursday we know the Last 16 of this year's FIFA World Cup. And we have clear winners and clear losers on a continental level. Let's let the numbers speak: these bars show how many teams managed to qualify for the Round of 16 out of how many teams per continent.

If we flatten that out to relative numbers (percentages), it looks like this:

So, like I said, clear winners (the Americas) and clear losers (everyone else). Especially Europe showed unusually bad results with favorites like Spain and Italy not making it through the group stage.

Whereas the stats for South America are impressive, they are not that surprising given the quality of the teams that qualified: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile all have very skilled players. The biggest surprises come from CONCACAF where three out of four teams managed to qualify for the next stage, all of them performing well in very tough groups:

  • Mexico: second after Brazil, leaving Croatia and Cameroon behind
  • Costa Rica: winner (!) of the group of death with Italy, Uruguay, and England
  • USA: second after Germany in a group with Portugal and Ghana

It takes the smile off the face of people who have been sniggering at CONCACAF qualifications (including me) and it's a slap in the face of those who actually wondered whether CONCACAF should have 4 places reserved in the World Cup. Well, here's the answer: most definitely they should!