Things would be far more interesting if FIFA showed some initiative and forced CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, the South American confederation, to combine into a single, 48-nation confederation.
The Gold Cup could then disappear and the Copa America could become the regional championship — an honest-to-goodness Cup of the Americas.
With the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and the U.S. competing, it could, in time, rival the European Championship in appeal. Or, if that's an exaggeration, at least it would be a lot better than what is being offered.
There is not a lucid soul on the planet — U.S. coaches and players included — who believes that there are only five national teams better than the U.S. Any such assertion is ludicrous.As much as we hear about the BCS rankings on Sports Talk radio in the Fall, if this country actually followed soccer, can you imagine how many calls would have come in with the FIFA rankings? I'll wait until next summer to see who really is #1 and where the US currently stands.
The rankings are based on a mathematical formula that takes into account such things as a team's results over a period of years, the significance of the competitions in which it plays, the relative strength of its opponents and, for all anyone knows, the phases of the moon and the mood of FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter.
It is a complex formula, one that would give pause to a Caltech graduate, let alone the fan in the stands.