World cup draw

So today FIFA (finally) anounced how they are going to distribute the 32 participants over the four ‘pots’*. Now we have two full days to speculate on all the possibilities before the actual draw is made. Here are the pots:

Pot 1 (favorites)

Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina and England and South Africa (hosts are always seeded).

Pot 2 (Asia, CONCACAF and Oceania)

Australia, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Honduras, Mexico, USA and New Zealand

Pot 3 (Agrica and South America)

Algeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay

Pot 4 (Europe)

Denmark, France, Greece, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland
As is customary, the first pot consists of the host nation and the powerhouses of football and pots 2 through 4 are based on region.

The big talking point is - of course - which countries have been seeded. This is extra interesting since FIFA have adopted a different approach from previous world cups. In previous tournaments they looked at countries’ performances at the last two world cups and their current position on the world ranking; this time around they have only looked at countries’ position on the world ranking in october 2009 (they look at october because some teams still had to play play-off matches in november and including those results would benefit the teams that were actually doing quite poorly in comparison with the teams that have qualified some time ago). The result of this is that France (runners-up in the last world cup) are not seeded and the Netherlands are.

I’ve already seen (on the BBC website) that this decision has spawned a lot of debate. I for one am really happy about this (since I’m dutch**), but I can understand that some french may feel agrieved. I’ve also heard claims that this is all a ‘punishment’ for ‘the handball’ that got France to the tournament in the first place. Whatever the reason is, I feel the desicion is justified - considering how the dutch (but also the English, who might otherwise have lost out to the Portugese) cruised through qualifying, and also given the spanking we gave the frogs at EURO 2008:D - and it seems to be one of the few times the FIFA has made a decision that seems to be thought through.

I do concede however, that it would have been a lot better and transparent if they’d said all this before the qualifiers started instead of afterwards when they know exactly who is in what position.

So, what are the groups going to be like? And who are going to get to the knock out stages?

*For those of you that are unfamiliar with the procedure: the world cup starts with eight groups of four teams that play a round robin competition and the best two go through to the knock out phase. To get these groups of four, the teams are split up into four ‘pots’ and each group will have one team from each pot.

**I’m quite sure I’ve jinxed everything by saying this and we will end up in a group with Cote d’Ivoir, Portugal and Australia…:rolleyes:

So, right about now, pretty much every country in the tournament (but not in Pot 1) is praying to get matched up with South Africa. They may very well be the first host nation not to make the second round - a feat even we Americans managed, thank you very much. :slight_smile:

Did Japan make the second round?

I’m fine with any draw, as long as Argentina wins the World Cup. I’d love to see a Argentina v. (Spain or Brazil) final.

I think France will be in the Group of Death by default, although I hope France gets drawn into Group A (with South Africa) instead.

Here’s the detailed procedure: (.pdf)

COCCACAF gets a raw deal being lumped in with Asia, which is clearly the weakest group, and therefore they have no shot at playing any of the weakest teams. It would be fairer if they were lumped in with CONMEBOL - Brazil and Argentina are almost always going to be in the top group, and the remmaining three are closer in rank to CONCACAF than to Asia. They could match up Asia and Africa, whose bottom three teams are ranked lower than CONMEBOL’s bottom three.

I know the numbers don’t work, but it seems fairer. Going by Nate Silver’s SPI, if they were placed in pots according to seed, it would look like this:

Pot 1 - Brazil, Spain, England, Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Portugal, South Africa

Pot 2 - Chile, Ivory Coast, Uruguay, France, Italy, Serbia, Cameroon, USA

Pot 3 - Paraguay, Mexico, Denmark, Australia, Honduras, Switzerland, Nigeria, Greece

Pot 4 - Japan, Slovenia, Ghana, South Korea, Algeria, Slovakia, New Zealand, North Korea

Why would you use the results from 4 or 8 years ago to seed the teams? Given that France (and others) didn’t even win their group in qualifying, it would seem quite reasonable to say that they are probably not one of the world’s 8 best teams right now, and as such that they don’t deserve to be seeded.

Anyway, if they’re THAT good it doesn’t really matter. All you have to do is finish second in your group (in the round of 32) and you move on to the next round, correct? If they’re placed with an “equal” from Pot 1 and two ordinary teams from pots 2 and 3, they should coast. (Yeah, yeah, I know, anything can happen blah blah blah…but arguments over seeding would seem to have more weight if only one team went through rather than 2.)

The only complaint I have about the FIFA seeding procedure this time around is that it puts too much emphasis upon recent efforts in a qualifying group. Thus, the Dutch, who had a relatively weak group (it was the only 5 team group, and it had a weakened Norway and a relatively poor Scotland in it, compared to, say, Group 1, with the Danes, Portugese, Swedes and Hungarians all vying for two spots), get extra advantage from this. However, I will note that the French had a weak group, also, and so cannot complain too much vis a vis the seeding of The Netherlands.

As for the other pots, I believe you will find a bias on FIFA’s part to believe that the CONCACAF teams are not really “better” than the CAF teams. In any event, it’s meaningless; they cannot keep the continents separated if they put the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL teams in the same pot; they would need two other teams; even with Oceania in there, they would have to poach a team from CAF or AFC to fill out the group. So the preference for not having non-European teams meet other teams from their continent forces their had in this case.

I would not want to get the Bfana Bfana. Yeah, they are probably the weakest team of the top pot, but they will play all their games in venues of their choice, in front of home crowds, and they are not exactly pushovers, as they proved in the Confed Cup this year. Give me as an alternative either Italy or Argentina; each has had some less than great moments in the last two years. Of course, Italy owned us in the summer, before imploding against the Egyptians and the Brazilians, so maybe I should just be quiet! :smiley:

You want a group of death? Try this on for size:

Now THAT would be a group of DEATH!!! :eek: :eek:

I’d take drawing Italy in a second. I think we played them pretty well until the (weak) red and for a bit afterward. I still think I’d take South Africa over them unless you put stock in the fact that a host has never failed to advance from the first round.

Yeah, that’s a tough group. I’d say Ivory coast might be tougher than Nigeria. I thought the Confed Cup was for sure going to be harder than what we could get drawn into, but I don’t know that that’s true.

I’m hoping for:

Italy/South Africa

Yep, won their group even (before being knocked out by Turkey 1-0 in the second round). South Korea, of course, (the co-hosts in 2002) made it all the way to the semis before losing to Germany 1-0.

All I am looking for is for France to be soundly humiliated.

FIFA official: “So, Group Two consists of Spain, Mexico, Cote d’Ivoire and a team to be selected from Pot Four. Will you please select the ball from Pot Four?”

Lackey: “France.”

FIFA official: “But you haven’t even selected a ball from the pot. How do you know what team it belongs to?”

Lackey: “France.”

FIFA official: “Say, who are you again?”

Lackey: “Seamus O’Boyle.”

Preferably by an unwhistled handball. :wink:

Argentina struggled mightily in getting into the world cup. They were fortunate to finish forth in their group. Yet they are top seeds due to recent performance. Okaayy…

No, they are top seeds due to their October standings in the FIFA rankings.

I’ve always been partial to the humiliation of an undeserved penalty kick that hits the goal post, than the back of the goalie, then gently rolls into the goal, coming to a rest just past the line.

Nah, much better is the humiliation of Thierry Henry miskicking the ball past his own keeper in the 120th minute to lose on the stroke of extra time. :smiley:

Bugger, there’s no chance of a New Zealand, Australia and South Africa Tri-Nations pool. Oh and we’ll have to wait until the second round to see North versus South Korea…


Gotta play the advantage :smiley:

against Algeria…

10 min. left. On pins and needles here!