Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
Coaches attack prequalifying idea
Carlos Alberto Parreira
Parreira has taken three smaller nations to the World Cup Finals
Coaches from some of the world's weaker international football sides have attacked proposals to make them play in "prequalifying" before major tournaments.

The idea was suggested by a number of commentators, including former England international Chris Waddle, following a number of one-sided encounters as qualifying for Euro 2008 got under way.

These included England's 5-0 win over Andorra and Germany's record-breaking 13-0 thrashing of San Marino.

But former Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira - who has also guided Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to the World Cup finals - told BBC World Service's World Football programme it was only fair to "give everybody a chance."

"Otherwise, teams like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait - they would not have gone to the World Cup. We were there because we were given a chance to play," he added.


Parreira also pointed out that the 13-0 scoreline had never happened before in international European football.

Germany's Michael Ballack tangles with San Marino's Manuel Marina
Germany's 13-0 demolition of San Marino increased prequalifying calls
And he argued that only playing other weak teams would not help the smaller sides improve.

"Even if you are a weak team against a strong team, you still have to try and win," he added.

"And this is the beauty of the game - sometimes the small teams are a threat and do things against big teams. It happens many times.

"We are against discrimination. You have to have these teams there, to give them a chance."

Meanwhile Estonia coach Jelle Quirinus Goes said that it would be very difficult for governing authorities to decide exactly who belongs in the "smaller countries" that would need to pre-qualify.

"If you look at Estonia, it is a small country in footballing terms - but we are developing," he said.

"We are quite competitive with other countries."

'Games of no importance'

Similarly, Liechtenstein's coach Martin Andermatt pointed out that in the space of a few days in 2004, his side beat Luxembourg 4-0 and managed a 2-2 draw with Portugal.

"You can always have visions and dreams," he said.

"We realise it is very hard - and if we play 10 times against Portugal, we will probably lose nine times. But that one time, you can win."

But Otto Rehhagel, who took Greece to victory in the 2004 European Championships, said he backed the pre-qualifying proposal.

"The problem is that very small teams like San Marino are playing against Germany in a qualification game - and that's not right," he said.

"You have to have pre-qualification, and those that remain can then play against the big teams.

"Otherwise, it doesn't work for anyone, either for the fans or for the players. They are already stressed from having to play their league, Champions League and cup games, and then have to play these games which are of no importance. It doesn't really have anything to do with football."

England 5-0 Andorra
02 Sep 06 |  Internationals
San Marino 0-13 Germany
06 Sep 06 |  Internationals
Waddle wants international revamp
04 Sep 06 |  Internationals


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us