ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes the World Cup qualifying play-offs in future to remove the sudden-death element of reaching the finals.
Twenty teams, plus hosts Brazil, have qualified for next year’s tournament via round-robin groups but the remaining 11 places will be decided this month, all in two-legged playoffs.
Five matches will be played in Africa, between runners-up from the 10 second-round groups, four in Europe, involving the best eight runners-up from nine groups, plus two intercontinental repechage ties. These feature Jordan against Uruguay and Mexico v New Zealand.
“It will be drama because you have to eliminate teams now in two matches,” Blatter said in a video interview on FIFA’s website.
“I think this is good for television, this is good for the spectacle of football but I think we should try to find a solution where at the end of the qualification, you are in or out, and not this playoff.
“This playoff…. it gives more intensive action, but for those teams (who are knocked out) it is a hard way to go.”