The case of a team of 32 euros
There is enough quality in the UEFA ranks to invite more teams without diluting the tournament standards: Serbia, Norway, Romania, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Greece, Iceland and Bosnia (the top eight teams not present this year, according to FIFA’s deeply flawed ranking system) would add, rather than subtract, to the competition.
To do so responsibly, however, UEFA would need to embark on a major overhaul of how international football works. Elite players are already being asked to play far too many games, both by their clubs and their countries. FIFPro, the global players’ union, has repeatedly warned that burnout will lead to an increase in injuries, a belief shared by a number of top coaches and, increasingly, the players themselves. same.
For the Euro to develop, something should therefore be given: namely, the laborious and predictable process of qualification. Rather than forcing the big nations to jump over hoops for two years before reaching the finals anyway, it would make more sense to guarantee each a spot.
To appearances, it could perhaps be disguised as a place for all the nations that have won a major tournament: Italy, Germany, France, England, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal, Greece and Denmark. Russia and the Czech Republic could also be included, although they technically won the Euro in another lifetime and under a different name.
They would be joined by the five top-ranked teams that have not won an honor: currently Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, Wales and Sweden. Those 16 teams would be exempt from qualifying, but rather than sit idle for two years, they would be drafted in a version of the successful UEFA Nations League concept: four divisions of four teams, with the winners each playing in a biennial tournament. of a week. , as they are doing now.