2010 World Cup Seeding News & Analysis
|World Cup Qualifying is completed is completed. I've updated the 2010 World Cup Eliminations Timeline, which tells you exactly which date each team was eliminated and in what order. That won't require another update until June.|
But the real exciting news is that with all the qualifiers completed, we can now focus on the World Cup seeds and the draw. The seeds will be announced on December 2nd, and the draw is two days later. Edgar has the final seeding ranking, so check that out. If the formula doesn't change (a big if), France will have the final seed over Portugal.
A couple major things I want to point out:
1) FIFA have decided this time around to use the October 2009 FIFA ranking as part of the formula instead of November 2009. The reason given is because they wanted to exclude the playoff games. As Edgar points out, it was considered fair last time to include them, so how is anything different now? While it doesn't appear to change the actual seeds, it's another shady decision at the last second.
2) Other possibilities:
Of course, there's the possibility that FIFA might change the formula. They always seem to do so, albeit only slightly. Last time, they only used the two previous World Cups instead of three. If FIFA decided to reduce it to only include one previous World Cup (2006), then Portugal would be seeded at the expense of England.
What if they only used those October FIFA rankings, and discarded past World Cup performance totally? Then France would miss out, and the Netherlands would be seeded instead. I don't know if the odds of that are good, but they've used the rankings in qualifying for seeding, and they made a big show of changing it after Germany 2006. It seems like they trust it more now.
What if they decided to only use the October FIFA ranking and not any from the past two years, but still used the past two World Cup performances? No change. Although, if you use only the October ranking and only Germany 2006 performances, then again Portugal would replace England.
3) What should American fans be hoping for in the draw? The seeded pot will always be tough. Which seeded team we get is not really the key to a successful draw. The biggest thing is avoiding the top teams in the Euro pot. Here it is:
Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland
There is a huge disparity in the quality of those teams. Netherlands and Portugal would be instant death; if we get one of those two plus a seeded team, then there's only a very slim chance of advancing to the round of 16. Avoiding those two is the biggest goal of the draw, and there's a 75% chance of that.
Denmark seems like the third best team, and we just saw what they can do against us. Serbia is probably 4th. Either of those teams would be tough as well. The other four teams I would consider to be a good draw. Slovakia and Slovenia would be a dream draw.
The other hugely important part is what FIFA decides to do with the third and fourth pots. Last time, CONCACAF was paired with AFC, and the other pot was CAF/CONMEBOL/OFC. This time, you could still have AFC/CONCACAF (plus New Zealand) and CAF/CONMEBOL. But you could also have AFC/CONMEBOL and CAF/CONCACAF, like in 2002. The numbers add up to 8 either way. We'll see what they do.
It would be better for the US if we were paired with CAF. Asian teams should be easier than African teams, especially on their home continent, so we want the chance to draw one. We'd also then have a 1/3 shot of drawing South Africa, which should be the easiest seed despite the home field advantage.
Either way they do it, I feel it's important to avoid the CONMEBOL teams, which are stronger than African or Asian teams. You have a 37.5% chance of getting one, although it's less if CAF/CONMEBOL are paired, since South Africa can't be drawn with another African team.
Or they could simplify all this and seed all four groups the same way they seed the top one, which is something I'd like to see.