As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, England are to be one of eight seeded teams to compete in the World Cup Finals next summer in South Africa. Italy, Holland, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Spain and South Africa round out the other seeded nations. France miss out on a seed due to FIFA’s decision to not take into consideration performances in past Finals. For those who forgot, France finished runner-up in the 2006 World Cup Final losing to Italy on penalties.
FIFA chose the seeds based on their October 2009 world rankings. If the rankings from November, 2009 would have been used, (when England was ranked 9th) France would have found themselves with a seed based on their 7th place world ranking. FIFA’s general secretary Jerome Valcke said it was easier to use October to base the seeds on becuase all European teams played the same number of competitive matches. (Did FIFA put France in the general pot as a sort of retro-active punishment?)
Regardless of France, England’s Fabio Capello will be pleased to see the news of a seed. The draw itself consists of eight groups of four teams – each group will contain one country from each pot. You may be asking “what really does this mean for England?” – and it could mean a number of things. Ultimately, it could lead to an easier road to the coveted last 16 knock-out stages. The seed also means England are guaranteed to avoid the other top seeds in the World Cup group stages. England could be drawn in a group with North Korea, Algeria and Slovenia. They could also have a group the likes of USA, Ivory Coast and Portugal. Supporters of the Three Lions will have to wait until Friday’s draw to find out exactly who they’ll be playing in the group stages. Here’s how the rest of the pots look:
- Pot 2 – Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, USA and Honduras.
- Pot 3 - Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay.
- Pot 4 – France, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Greece, Serbia, Denmark and Slovakia.
The four pots will undoubtedly be analyzed time and time again until we find out what the eight groups will actually be. Over the next few days, be sure to leave a comment on what you think about England’s seed, the possible teams they could face in the group stages and the Three Lions chances overall next summer in South Africa.