Possible Points Won by Region - Updated

So I eat a bit of crow. Europe looks likely to win the Cup at this point, but did the region win often enough to justify the representation it has at the World Cup?

Here are the numbers at the end of the Group Stage

Region Wins Draws Played % Pts Won
CONMEBOL 8 4 15 0.622
UEFA 15 9 39 0.462
AFC+NZ 4 5 15 0.378
CONCACAF 2 4 9 0.370
CAF 3 4 18 0.241

Going into the knockout rounds in order to keep things even I'm going to count all extra time games as a draw. This still gives teams that advance the opportunity to win more points, but I feel it most fairly represents the quality. Clearly South America deserves another outright slot, which they will get just by nature of hosting the next tournament.

I included New Zealand in with Asia as I feel that the future of Oceania is as a sub-region of Asia with 5 automatic qualifiers and no vote in FIFA matters.

Here it is headed into the Semi Finals

Region Wins Draws Played % Pts Won
CONMEBOL 11 6 24 0.542
UEFA 21 9 48 0.500
AFC+NZ 4 6 17 0.353
CONCACAF 2 5 11 0.333
CAF 3 6 20 0.250

Africa is clearly weaker than FIFA believes. The great teams of Europe are clearly great. A decent enough argument could be made that CONCACAF should get as many automatic teams as Africa and Asia. Let's recall that just like every other region CONCACAF did not send its "best" ranked teams (by any measure). Honduras didn't do well, but Costa Rica, and maybe Canada are better in most rankings.

This is true for all regions.

Maybe, just maybe at this point, an argument could be made that each of the inter-regional playoffs should be with Euro teams outside of their top 10 finishers. If Asia+Oceania gets 5 automatics their 6th would come v a UEFA nation. If CONCACAF gets a 4th automatic and 5th playoff it would be against a UEFA nation. As Africa gets cut by one to 4 automatics its 5th also faces UEFA.

I'm suggesting the following shift

Region Current Next
UEFA 13 10+3
CAF 6 4+1
CONMEBOL 5 6
CONCACAF 3 4+1
AFC 5 5+1

Really the area getting hurt the most is Africa, but right now they are clearly overrepresented. Europe isn't getting hurt, they would have the possibility at the same number of qualifiers with their teams that are on the fringes going against the likes of Costa Rica, Egypt and Bahrain in order to qualify.

The fact is that regions that do well should be rewarded. Regions that don't should be harmed. Maybe I've overrated CONCACAF a bit, I am an American. Perhaps the number 5 here shouldn't be in a playoff, but the fact is that the region is stronger than FIFA gives credit. It did as well as Asia, and better than Africa and gets less spots in the World Cup, and that doesn't make sense.

UPDATE: I went back to 2002 with the numbers

Region Wins Draws Played % Pts Won
CONMEBOL 30 13 61 0.563
UEFA 77 46 173 0.534
AFC+NZ 10 15 50 0.300
CONCACAF 8 12 36 0.333
CAF 8 17 48 0.285

Europe and South America do better when capturing data from two additional Cups. Asia and Africa do worse. CONCACAF stays the same.

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