Wednesday, October 19, 2005

World Cup Seeding

As you might just know, the top 8 qualifying teams will be seeded number one in each of the eight groups during the World Cup. In case you do not know, FIFA does this to keep a group consisting of Brazil, England, Mexico and Germany from happening. It is a bit of earned protection for the teams, on paper, that have the best chance of winning the Cup.

There has been talk about the US getting one of these seeds, but it does not look like it will happen if FIFA uses their same formula for seed placement. The formula takes into account a side's FIFA rankings over the last three years (Dec. '03 & '04 plus Nov. '05) as well as their final placement in the past three World Cups (1994, 1998 & 2002).

Here is the formula for you math nerds (like me):

{(1(WC1994))+(2(WC1998))+(3(WC2002))}/6 = Part A
{Dec '03 ranking + Dec '04 ranking + Nov '05 ranking}/3 = Part B
Part A + Part B = World Cup seeding score

So how does the seeding look right now?

1. 63.67 Brazil
2. 48.83 Spain
3. 47.83 Germany
4. 47.33 Mexico
5. 46.33 Argentina
6. 45.83 England
7. 45.83 Italy
8. 44.67 France
9. 43.00 Netherlands
10. 41.67 USA

So if FIFA uses the above equation (as they did in 2002), the US has next to no hope. Holland would probably move up if Spain failed to win their playoff. The best thing the US can hope for is that Spain fails to qualify and that come next month, they move up in the FIFA rankings while the Netherlands fall (long shot at best).

Or they could hope that FIFA decides to use a different formula to seed. If they went strictly by the current FIFA rankings, then the US would stand a good chance of getting a seeding, but I'm sure that would cause a major uproar across the soccer world.

In my own opinion, I would love for the US to earn a seed, but I think we are still four years away from that. If, in Germany, they do as well or better then they did in 2002, then come 2010, they will have a great shot at a seed. However, let's not forget the last time we played a World Cup on European soil. Being the worst team in France was not a way to earn the world's respect.

A lot has changed since 1998, but we must realize that we still have a long way to go. So a seed would be great, but I think we are still to 'young' to expect such a result.

Thank you to eldiablito over at Big Soccer for all the help with this post.


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