Home > Uncategorized > World Cup Seeding: How Will it Work?

World Cup Seeding: How Will it Work?

FIFA has announced they will determine World Cup seeding at a meeting a Robben Island in early December, just before the official World Cup draw.

 The World Cup seeding process had previously taken into account the performance in the last three World Cup tournaments, in addition to world rankings. But this time it appears that the FIFA ranking could be the leading factor.

 According to the FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke,

“As the FIFA president said, there are only 11 countries which are already qualified. At the beginning we thought that we could give information about the draw at this Executive Committee meeting, but we still need to see if Argentina will qualify, some teams which are really in the top teams in order to understand how it will work. And clearly we will follow the FIFA ranking system and again you will see the teams, the top teams, and we will divide them in these different pots, but again it’s too early and when we’ll have all the teams qualified then there will be an information at the Organizing Committee which is taking place I think on the 1st or 2nd of December then there will be a ratification by the Executive Committee on the 3rd and unfortunately in a way because I will be the one drawing the balls and doing this draw, we will have to wait until the end of the 3rd of December to know exactly the process of the draw, of the final draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. So you can be sure that the best teams will be seeded as it is the case all the time, but how exactly teams will be divided it’s too early to say.”

 

Should World Rankings be the leading factor in determining seeds, Holland could go be the big winner, while Argentina (should they qualify)the big loser. The idea of Argentina not being seeded in a World Cup based largely on qualifying struggles is to me, very hard to believe and would represent a major reversal in FIFA’s policy of emphasizing  historical achievement over current form.

 A projection of this month’s World Ranking can be found at the indispensible Football Rankings blog site.

 

1

Brazil

1677

0

73

2

Spain

1629

0

41

3

Netherlands

1340

0

-36

4

Germany

1224

0

38

5

Italy

1215

-1

29

6

England

1101

1

-26

7

Croatia

1087

2

-14

8

Switzerland

1060

7

162

9

USA

1055

2

81

10

France

1049

0

9

11

Portugal

1042

6

162

12

Argentina

1038

-4

-75

13

Russia

1021

-7

-108

14

Czech Republic

1012

4

142

15

Paraguay

981

8

139

16

Serbia

979

-3

63

17

Cameroon

970

12

151

18

Denmark

944

-2

52

19

Mexico

930

5

95

20

Greece

921

-8

-50

 I’ve struck through Croatia and the Czech Republic because neither will be at the World Cup next summer.

 A model based on the old criteria was posted by reader Roy J to MLS Talk. Under this model, Holland would not be seeded, should France, Argentina and Portugal all qualify.

 Rank – Country – Total Points
01 – Brazil – 59.6
02 – Germany – 58.6
03 – Italy – 56.8
04 – Spain – 55.9
05 – England – 51.7
06 – France – 48.2
07 – Argentina – 48.1
08 – Portugal – 46.2
09 – Netherlands – 43.2
10 – Mexico – 38.1
11 – Ukraine – 36.7
12 – USA – 34.9
13 – Switzerland – 31.8
14 – Paraguay – 30.1
15 – Ghana – 28.3
16 – Russia – 26.8

 In the end, I believe some combination of these criteria will be employed. FIFA certainly went through great lengths to fix the problems with the World Rankings, following Germany 2006, but abandoning historic performance could end up creating a lack of balance within groups next summer.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 13, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    As we saw shortly before the last World Cup and in their recent decision concerning the UEFA confederation’s qualifying process, predicting the whims of FIFA is a perilous endeavor.

    Ultimately, though, I think this will be a non-issue, as any late tinkering, while unfair in the sense that it distorts a process, will be done consistent with what we all know as FIFA’s goals: Get their perceived strongest teams into those seeds. It’s that “perception” that’s often the problem (Euro-bias?), but it is also the reason why there is no way conceivable that the U.S. will get a seed.

    Even if all of France, Argentina, Portugal, and Ukraine fail to qualify and the U.S. happens to pass Mexico by some quirk in the World Rankings portion (or if the U.S. gets the nod as the CONCACAF winner), I don’t think the U.S. will get a seed.

    And you know what? They shouldn’t get one, either. The U.S., for all the criticisms I have of the team, is a very good squad, but if they were seeded that would be an unrepresentative and weak group, which ultimately is unfair to a third place team in a group of death that wonn’t advance merely because they weren’t fortunate enough to get drawn with South Africa or the United States.

  2. deep_tongue
    October 13, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    How many times did you say there was zero chance of a CONCACAF seeding, except maybe for Mexico? Now you seem to be saying there is a chance the US will be seeded based on the FIFA ranking? What do you base any of your emphatic know-it-all opinions on?

    Maybe you’re just a blowhard?

  3. October 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Where does Kartik say/imply that?

  4. October 13, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Deep Tounge- you are correct, but please read the article and understand why I am stating the US has an ouutside shot of being seeded. It is because FIFA is considering dropping the historical world cup preformance portion of the seeding formula. My previous comments have been based on the formula that were applied for the last 3 world cups, under which the us would have very little shot.

    So, again please read the comments from the FIFA people on which this article is based.

  5. Tommy S (not Tommy Smyth)
    October 13, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Great post Kartik!

    This is a must read for all of those who are speculating about seeds without knowing a darn thing.

    I think, like Richard if it comes down to the US and Mexico for that last seed, sad to say it has to be them. Your talking about a team that always advances from the group versus one that does every other world cup. You are also talking about a country that consistently does well in Copa America, which is arguably the second biggest event on thhe planet. I know, maybe the Euros—–let’s say they are 2a and 2b.

  6. doittoit
    October 14, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Although I think mexico is better than us, we would get a seed over them if they take out previous WC performances. We’ve consistently had a higher fifa ranking in the past 5 years which will play a huge part in it and we’ve won the Hex(assuming we win 2mrw which isnt going to be easy) the past two WC qualifying campaignes.

    mexico would get it on recent form although thats not the only factor.

  7. Ian
    October 15, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Remember South Africa will be seeded in pot 1 as hosts…..

  8. Jeff
    October 18, 2009 at 1:20 am

    I think France gets seeded for sure if they qualify, leaving no options for additional seeds when South Africa is factored in.

  9. Alec
    October 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Why doesn’t fifa seed the top 2 pots? To me, that would make the most sense.

  1. November 18, 2009 at 9:03 pm
  2. November 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm

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