Euro Get Bigger

The European soccer championships hope to channel their inner Daft Punk, as in, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger since the long-rumored expansion from 16 teams to 24 takes place. UEFA bigwig member Franz Beckenbauer spilled the beans earlier today. (No, Der Kaiser wasn't wearing a robot suit at the time.)

The move probably makes sense because as we speak there are 53 UEFA member nations, but if more stuff like the South Ossetia breakaways happen they'll be more and more microstates entering the fray. That said, it ought to make qualifying both a bore and chore with all these minnows grappling alongside powers like Germany, France, Italy, etc. Since 24 is an uneven number it'll be interesting to see how the knockout rounds or groups stages will be made. An extra knockout game seems a necessity.

The format change seems to come at the behest of mid-tier teams like Scotland, which have had trouble qualifying for the finals. However, this creates a pretty clear dichotomy where all but the really small or weak nations won't make the finals. Then again, if the tournament can anywhere near as exciting as the event from Austria/Switzerland last June nobody will be complaining.

Nations that figure to bid for the 2016 tournament include Scotland (possibly with Wales), France, Turkey, Greece and a joint Sweden-Norway bid.

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