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World Cup Format


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I noticed in a recent thread Sir Kevin Sinfield was concerned about the format for WC 2021, I share those concerns. The world cup.of any sport.has to be the pinnacle, particularly for a sport trying to make a breakthrough and expand. I fear too many one sided round robin matches will kill interest for the uninitiated.

Even seeing England cantering their way to victory will become tiresome quickly. I can imagine people in pubs turning away from.the screen if England or anyone else is 30 -0 up at half time, " switch the football back on landlord!" By the time we get to the quarter finals it may be too late to re -grab interest of many.

What is needed is a format to limit the uneven match ups but still have emerging nations fully involved. Also nothing will deaden the enthusiasm of fans from non RL countries quicker than seeing their team whacked and run into the ground.

I would like to see a format like this;

The first week and a half of the WC unashamedly marketed as WC PHASE ONE, in this phase teams ranked 7-14 in the world (or eight teams outside the top six who have gone through qualifiers), to play in two groups of four, the top team in each go through to phase two. These emerging nations battle it out in hopefully close and fierce games, in full glare, opening the tournament, playing a full part.

Then PHASE TWO; the top six nations plus the two from phase 1 in further two groups of four, top two to semi finals, then final.

A 27 game tournament, the big nations needing five games to win it, enough I think. Too late to change for 2021, but 2025 possibly, unless 2021 proves a massive success of course, which I have doubts about.

BTW is 2021 being played during the soccer season? Please say no!

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1 minute ago, GUBRATS said:

You won't find the footy one starting with Brazil v Germany 

Doesn't the FIFA World Cup usually kick off with a match involving the host country?

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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3 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Yeah, let’s kick off the World Cup with Cook Islands vs Norway. 

For us it may seem a bit meh! But the point is to grab attention of the uninitiated with close games. Hey even fans of Norway and Cook Islands might think after a close game, " mmm, like to see more of this sport" unlikely if their first game is losing 80-0 to New Zealand.

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11 minutes ago, HawkMan said:

For us it may seem a bit meh! But the point is to grab attention of the uninitiated with close games. Hey even fans of Norway and Cook Islands might think after a close game, " mmm, like to see more of this sport" unlikely if their first game is losing 80-0 to New Zealand.

Going back to your opening post, I don’t think people ever mind England notching up big wins in any sport.

In fact it may be a good thing to attract attention to the WC.

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2 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Going back to your opening post, I don’t think people ever mind England notching up big wins in any sport.

In fact it may a good thing to attract attention to the WC.

Agreed. Case in point the game against Panama that England won 6-1 in the last soccer World Cup. It led the country to get excited and carried away that we were going to win the entire tournament. Despite the fact that Panama are ranked 74th in the world.

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7 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Going back to your opening post, I don’t think people ever mind England notching up big wins in any sport.

In fact it may a good thing to attract attention to the WC.

I remember England hammering Wales on a Saturday a few years ago: 2011 or 2012 I think. Put 80 on them if I remember correctly. The RL fraternity were suicidal about the lack of competitiveness; the non-RL folk I spoke to who had watched the game loved it.

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3 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Agreed. Case in point the game against Panama that England won 6-1 in the last soccer World Cup. It led the country to get excited and carried away that we were going to win the entire tournament. Despite the fact that Panama are ranked 74th in the world.

Wouldn’t it be great to have even a little bit of that fever in 2021 culminating in heroic England finally beating the Aussies when it matters. Arise, Sir John Bateman!

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I think this is a fairer and more simple format than we’ve had previously with two tier one nations in one group, ala 2013 with England and Australia in the same group or teams qualifying for the knockout stages with one win to their name.

The “Pot 2” nations of Fiji, Samoa, Lebanon and PNG provide some tough opposition there. Fiji were superb in good conditions in 2017 and got to the Semi’s in 2013 having played in some testing conditions at St Helens, for example. Samoa were disappointing in 2017, qualifying with one draw to their name and bowed out to Australia but had a decent 2013 RLWC, PNG were great to watch in 2017 in their own country but disappointed a little in 2013 and Lebanon were a tough side in 2017 but didn’t qualify in 2013. You’d say Lebanon are the side everyone will want to get in that pot. 

In Pot 3, France should be a good side but don’t seem too Internationally but there’s always that rivalry there, Jamaica are a fun inclusion, they’ve warranted their inclusion and I hope they bring some noise and entertainment and Wales aren’t the best. 

 

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4 hours ago, GeordieSaint said:

I remember England hammering Wales on a Saturday a few years ago: 2011 or 2012 I think. Put 80 on them if I remember correctly. The RL fraternity were suicidal about the lack of competitiveness; the non-RL folk I spoke to who had watched the game loved it.

Spot on Geordie.

For some unfathomable reason some people associated with RL get embarrassed if there is a blow out score.  We have the commentators apologising for such a one sided game when in other sports the commentators praise the better side.

 

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6 minutes ago, Adelaide Tiger said:

Spot on Geordie.

For some unfathomable reason some people associated with RL get embarrassed if there is a blow out score.  We have the commentators apologising for such a one sided game when in other sports the commentators praise the better side.

I’ll also add that when people worry about what the media will say about blow out scores, it’s usually in reference to our own media rather than beyond the game’s boundaries (as the national press take little interest).

We should be praising our wider reach of the sport; not resenting it. England vs Samoa in Newcastle would be a brilliant start to the tournament IMO.

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4 hours ago, HawkMan said:

BTW is 2021 being played during the soccer season? Please say no!

The World Cup website is very good and will give you all the information you need.

https://www.rlwc2021.com

The signs are with this site and the professionalism of the venue process and announcements I think this tournament will reach a new high in event management for our sport.

As for the format, I am delighted with what we have... whatever each games scoreline, I am confident that the players will put on a show and demonstrate our sport to be tough and skilful. 

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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6 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

In 2013 I attended several group games, a quarter final, semi final and final. 

I think I will give the group fixtures a miss due to the format in 2021 and just start attending the finals.

Why? 

“Pot 2” of Fiji, Samoa, PNG and Lebanon presents interesting challenges for England, NZ, Australia and Tonga, all of which have had difficult games against at least one of the four “Pot 2” sides in the last two World Cup’s and Test games. 

“Pot 3” of France, Jamaica, Wales and another European nation provides interesting opposition, if not for England, Australia, NZ and Tonga, but for the “Pot 2” sides. 

“Pot 4” is going to be four of USA, Cook Islands, Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Spain, Greece and Italy. USA were good value in 2013, and Ireland, Scotland, Greece and Italy could have a good proportion of antipodeans so will be competitive.

But by all means write something off before it’s even happened. The Rugby League Way!

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9 hours ago, GeordieSaint said:

I remember England hammering Wales on a Saturday a few years ago: 2011 or 2012 I think. Put 80 on them if I remember correctly. The RL fraternity were suicidal about the lack of competitiveness; the non-RL folk I spoke to who had watched the game loved it.

Seconded...

I use to work with a lad from Wakefield, who wasn’t a huge RL fan at all.

I watched the 2013 World Cup game England vs. Ireland, final score was 42-0.

He came back into work the next day absolutely buzzing.

”smashed them!”

”How good was that Burrow lad?”

”England were so good mate, clinical!”

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50 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

In 2013 I attended several group games, a quarter final, semi final and final. 

I think I will give the group fixtures a miss due to the format in 2021 and just start attending the finals.

Can I ask which games you attended?

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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These threads on the predictability of the world cup format and blow out scores remind me how people say Super League was too predictable without actually being able to predict what would actually happen.

I wonder how may of the 31 men's world cup matches we will each get right?

"The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless." — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

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I actually agree - I think the World Cup kicking off first couple of weeks with groups of secondary nations will not only create great drama and intensity, it will also dispel notions that its the same old teams and no one else matters.

Sometimes you've got to be brave and put the spotlight on those that don't always get it, to attract attention to the novelty factor as well as the legitimacy of the competition. Close games would be a great advert, and there would be great interest over who would qualify and joining who in which group for the second stage.

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2 hours ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

Why? 

“Pot 2” of Fiji, Samoa, PNG and Lebanon presents interesting challenges for England, NZ, Australia and Tonga, all of which have had difficult games against at least one of the four “Pot 2” sides in the last two World Cup’s and Test games. 

“Pot 3” of France, Jamaica, Wales and another European nation provides interesting opposition, if not for England, Australia, NZ and Tonga, but for the “Pot 2” sides. 

“Pot 4” is going to be four of USA, Cook Islands, Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Spain, Greece and Italy. USA were good value in 2013, and Ireland, Scotland, Greece and Italy could have a good proportion of antipodeans so will be competitive.

But by all means write something off before it’s even happened. The Rugby League Way!

Yes 3 of the 4 pot 2 will be decent opposition for the pot 1 sides. But with 2 decent teams in each group and 2 teams qualifying for each group, the group games will be a bit meaningless for me.

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