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Last Updated: Monday, 4 September 2006, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Waddle wants international revamp
By Charlie Henderson

Jermain Defoe waltzes through Andorra's defence
It was like watching a Sunday morning team who had won a competition to play England

Chris Waddle on Andorra
Chris Waddle believes international football needs restructuring after a round of Euro 2008 qualifiers that included England's 5-0 rout of Andorra.

The ex-England winger told BBC Sport: "It's an absolute farce and I don't think it does any good for football.

"People pay good money and travel all over the country to watch England but they are not getting value for money.

"Like the Champions League there should be a pre-qualifying tournament that looks at results from down the years."

As well as England, Scotland were also big winners in their opening Euro 2008 qualifier at the weekend, hammering six goals against the Faroe Islands.

Elsewhere, Spain saw off Liechtenstein 4-0 and Slovakia thumped Cyprus 6-1.

And Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed 80% of the weekend's international matches "were without interest - and that's being quite optimistic".

"The basic problem is the congestion of international matches," the Frenchman told the Sun.

"In each Euro qualifying group, there are seven or eight teams resulting from the break-up of the Soviet Union and former Eastern Bloc countries and also from the integration of small states like Andorra and Liechtenstein.

Fifa and Uefa have to allow these teams to play for them to improve

Glenn Hoddle

"That makes a dozen matches between September 2006 and November 2007. The result is a collapse in quality.

"Having so many games flatters the national pride of countries, who all have a vote with Fifa.

"But it no longer has any value at the playing level. What ranks a player now is how he performs for his club."

Fellow Premiership manager Neil Warnock also weighed into the debate.

The Sheffield United boss said: "It's crazy in this day and age that big sides waste their time on useless opponents who never win."

Andorra last scored a goal in June 2005 and have not won a match since October 2004, a World Cup qualifier against England's next opponents, Macedonia.

  • Fifa rankings in italics
  • Group A
    Portugal 8 v Kazakhstan 141
    Group B
    Italy 2 v Faroe Islands 169
    Group C
    Turkey 28 v Malta 122
    Group D
    Germany 9 v San Marino 191
    Group E
    England 5 v Andorra 132
    Group F
    Spain 7 v Liechtenstein 124
    Group G
    Holland 4 v Luxembourg 195

    But while admitting Andorra were "probably the poorest team England have played", former national manager Glenn Hoddle countered that it was vital for the development of the international game.

    "I remember playing against Turkey and Greece many moons ago and we were beating them 7-0 at the time," Hoddle told Five Live Sport.

    "They were whipping boys but now look at them. Turkey have got to the semi-final of the World Cup and Greece have won the Euros.

    "I'm not saying Andorra are going to do that but they will improve if they continue to play the top teams over the next 15 years.

    "So it shows that Fifa and Uefa have to allow these teams to play for them to improve.

    "We are not going to gain anything from it but certainly that has to happen over a period of time."

    Luxembourg are the lowest-ranked European country in Fifa's official rankings at 195 out of 205.

    Andorra are a heady 132nd in comparison, while the Faroe Islands, who famously won their first competitive international against Austria in 1990, are ranked at 169 in the world.

    The idea of implementing a pre-qualifying tournament for smaller nations is the only option for Waddle.

    Let's do it properly and put all the minnows together and give them two places to qualify for

    Chris Waddle

    "No disrespect to Andorra, it's not their fault, but it was like watching a Sunday morning team who had won a competition to play England," he added.

    "Look at the South American qualifiers, where there are no easy games.

    "Imagine putting Andorra in a group with Brazil and Uruguay - it would be embarrassing and that is what it is at the minute.

    "There are so many countries now who are never ever going to threaten world football.

    "Yes, they have got a right but let's do it properly and put all the minnows together and give them two places to qualify for. If Andorra get through, fair play to them.

    "Turkey have come on leaps and bounds since we beat them heavily in my playing days.

    "But you could always see they were going to improve - they love the game, there is a big following and it is a football country.

    "But Andorra are part-time and it is just wrong.

    "Fifa president Sepp Blatter says we play too much football but then there is a competition with seven or eight in a group.

    "Look at England's group. Beyond Russia, Israel and Croatia, Macedonia can be dangerous and every team should be taking six points off Estonia and Andorra. What's the point of that?

    "Take them out, play less games and improve the quality."

    Alan Hansen's column
    04 Sep 06 |  Football
    Euro 2008 qualifying round-up
    02 Sep 06 |  Internationals
    England 5-0 Andorra
    02 Sep 06 |  Internationals
    Scotland 6-0 Faroe Islands
    02 Sep 06 |  Internationals


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