Jack Warner believes CONCACAF deserves a fourh guaranteed World Cup berth. (Getty Images)
CONCACAF may not have a firm grasp on reality, but it does have plenty of chutzpah.
CONCACAF, the soccer confederation that covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, made headlines earlier this week when it stated it planned to lobby FIFA for a fourth spot in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Currently, CONCACAF has three guaranteed World Cup berths. It can send a fourth nation to the World Cup if the fourth-place team from the CONCACAF qualifiers defeats another qualifier, either from Asia or South America, in a two-game playoff.
"We believe that CONCACAF deserves another full place at the World Cup finals due to the performances of our teams on the field and the actions of our confederation off it," CONCACAF president Jack Warner said.
When it comes to FIFA, being deserving of something has very little to do with anything - one need only ask the English and Americans after they lost in their respective bids to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
There can be little debate that Asia (with four automatic berths) and Africa (five) are over-represented at soccer's marquee event. Save for South Korea's run to the semifinals in 2002 and a handful of quarter-final appearances (Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana), both Asia and Africa have failed to make a lasting impression at the World Cup.
On that basis, CONCACAF could at least claim that it should get a spot from one of those undeserving continents.
No merit to CONCACAF's claim
But Warner is making his argument on the basis of merit, on how CONCACAF teams have performed on the field. And in that context, it's hard to imagine why Warner believes CONCACAF "deserves another full place at the World Cup finals due to the performances of our teams on the field."
Warner may have deluded himself into thinking that CONCACAF teams have covered themselves in glory at the World Cup, but the cold, hard numbers tell the true tale.
Only three times in the modern era of the World Cup (from 1950 onward) has a CONCACAF country reached the quarter-finals - and two of those three occasions occurred when Mexico was the host nation in 1970 and 1986.
The pink elephant in the room that everybody except Warner acknowledges is that CONCACAF is a two-team confederation - there is Mexico and the United States, and then there is everybody else.
And that's why it doesn't deserve another automatic berth.
Dating back to the first World Cup in 1930, only two CONCACAF countries other than Mexico and the U.S. have made it beyond the first round: Cuba in 1938 and Costa Rica in 1990. At the last two World Cups, CONCACAF boasted teams that bowed out of the tournament without even scoring a goal: Trinidad and Tobago in 2006 and Honduras in 2010.
Three times CONCACAF nations have played Asian, Oceania and South American opposition in an inter-confederation playoff during World Cup qualifiers and only once did it come out the winning end: in 2005 when Trinidad and Tobago beat Bahrain (hardly a powerhouse).
This month's FIFA world ranking also underscores the point that Warner doesn't have a leg to stand on. CONCACAF has two teams (Mexico and the U.S.) in the top 32, the number of nations that qualify for the World Cup.
South America has five teams in the top 32, but only four automatic World Cup berths. Europe boasts 19 nations in the top 32, but only 13 berths.
This is on top of the fact that only two countries outside of South America and Europe have ever qualified for the World Cup semifinals: the U.S. in 1930 and South Korea in 2002.
So, if any continental confederations can lay claim to be under-represented and meriting more automatic berths at the World Cup it's UEFA and CONMEBOL - not CONCACAF.
Follow John F. Molinaro on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/JohnMolinaro
Do you have improvements to suggest for this page?