A major German sports story blitzed the general public over the past 48 hours. FIFA....the holy-of-holy alliances of soccer....decreed that the normal 32-team set-up for the world championship....held every four years....will shift from 32 total teams (eight brackets of four teams each)....to 48 (twelve brackets of four teams each).
Most German soccer enthusiasts all have an opinion on this....some positive....some negative.
What FIFA did was allow the next 16 teams....weaker and less populated with prime-time stars....to meet up for the initial three games of a series. FIFA always shuffles the brackets around....to have one top team (like Italy, Brazil, Germany, or Argentina) in a bracket.....then a number two type team (Australia, Sweden, US....for example) and then two marginal teams (Congo, El Salvador, etc).
One might look at the future brackets and just figure that a number of low and marginal teams will trigger some interesting games where the top bracket-team might score eight, and the loser one. I suspect you will see a number of games played in this manner.
At the end of the first bracket games.....all of the marginal teams will be finished and just go home.
FIFA will say it's better that such teams get a chance. I won't disagree with that, but it'll mean more additional games in this first series which really don't amount to much.
As for the series taking longer? No one has suggested that (at least not yet).
More profit for the television machine of FIFA? My guess with commercials included....their profit margin will grow by 10-to-20 percent.
So, as you sit at some German pub and this conversation comes up....the 32 versus 48.....at least you understand the basic story. It doesn't change the dynamics of German soccer strategy....it just adds another thirty possible games onto the list that you might watch.