Nelsen: Get rid of WC playoffs

2009-12-02 10:19
Johannesburg - Ryan Nelsen is of the opinion World Cup playoffs need to be scrapped, despite New Zealand having booked their place in South Africa via that very route.

New Zealand ensured their participation at the 2010 World Cup finals last month as they beat Bahrain 1-0.

Having dominated their Oceania qualifying group by seven points, they then had to wait 11 months before playing Bahrain, who finished fifth in Asian qualifying.

FIFA are said to be looking at the system in light of the controversy caused by Thierry Henry's now infamous handball in France's playoff defeat of Republic of Ireland.

Nelsen is not a big fan of playoffs and believes there must be a fairer way of determining World Cup qualifiers.

"I never have been a big fan of them (the playoffs)," Nelsen said.

"There is so much on the line for one or two games and in the end, it generally falls into one situation where it's a handball or something like that.

"Over a league or a table, generally one instance like that doesn't affect the outcome."

Asked whether he would like to see FIFA get rid of the playoffs altogether, the Blackburn defender said: "I'd love it. That's our problem in New Zealand - we wanted to have a tougher group so that we could play a certain number of games.

"We came into this home and away match against Bahrain with no preparation at all. Bahrain had played 18 or 19 games so they were hardened to it, where we were just running on adrenaline really.

"We would love to have that scenario - it would take out all the controversy I think and obviously a team like Ireland would as well. You feel bad for them, but that's sport I suppose." 

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