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Euro 2012 Seedings Are A Farce

euro 2012 draw Euro 2012 Seedings Are A Farce

I consider myself a football fan who, more often than not, looks on the bright side, but there are a few little things in the game that really grind my gears. Managers who wear tracksuits is one. Unless you’re planning a 20 minutes cameo on the pitch, what’s wrong with looking smart and wearing a shirt and tie? Players who sulk – you’re being paid to play a game, remember that.

But those two minor gripes don’t bug me as much as the big one; the seeding of teams in international tournaments. I know they do it to keep interest up, and thus get more money for television rights, in certain countries, and to give the best teams the best chance to create the showcase final that the powers that be are craving. But, in my opinion, doesn’t it just serve as a kick in the teeth to the ‘lesser’ nations who have had to defy expectations simply to qualify?

Let’s take our friends the Republic of Ireland as an example. They were in pot three when the qualifying groups were drawn, so the logic says that the teams from pots one and two should qualify, then Ireland have done well just to reach the play-off stage. They then swept aside Estonia (who themselves reached the play-offs from pot five) over two legs, and what’s their reward? Giovanni Trapattoni’s men will be drawn last and put into a group that they are expected to finish last in. All the teams have done well to qualify, so why not draw groups on a level playing field?

As mentioned, seeds are used to give the highest ranked teams the best chance of progressing into the knock-out rounds, but if they’re the best teams, why do they need help in winning the tournament? If the draw was seedless and Spain were put in a group with the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, then I’d still fancy that Spain would progress and they’d have to have beaten the best to get there. If Italy were to win that group then the same could be said about them, and they would then have a great chance of winning the tournament.

I would argue that the seeding for Euro 2012 is a bit of a farce anyway. Having to place the hosts in pot one to maintain local interest for as long as possible means that Poland and Ukraine will be treated as the best teams in the tournament. If seeding has to happen, at least do it properly.

I think that my point is more stark in World Cup tournaments where qualifying nations are more varied in their World Ranking. Did North Korea ever have much of a chance qualifying from a group containing Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast? In truth they’d probably have struggled to qualify from any group, but what’s wrong with giving them more of a chance, and in the process, improving the profile of football in that part of the world?

The abolishment of seeding would see more exciting, higher profile group games (especially in the qualifying stages), arguably more interest from the rest of the world when lower ranked teams reach the knock-out stages and less formality with the finalists.

Much like the FA Cup, the cream would probably rise to the top anyway, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but how about leaving groups to chance and let the teams fight it out between themselves?

Editor’s note: The draw for Euro 2012 will be shown live on ESPN3.com at Noon ET on Friday, December 2.

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16 Responses to Euro 2012 Seedings Are A Farce

  1. Andyb says:

    I think you’re in the minority, I support a ‘lesser’ nation, and even I think the seeding system is a good one. No seeding system would be stupid.

  2. jon says:

    the seeding will probably change if the grandaddy of all groups of deaths EVER happen with Spain, Germany, Portugal, and France happen. Along with Holland those 4 nations are best nations at the Euro and to group them all together would be a travesty.

    • Joe H says:

      But it would be funny!

      • CTBlues says:

        I would laugh my a$$ off if Spain, Germany, Portugal, and France were all drawn in the same group.

        I will be rooting for Ireland, Sweden, and Poland in this tourny. I would really like to see and Ireland vs England match as well.

    • Eddie says:

      Why a travesty? France hasn’t played anywhere near where their name would suggest; neither did Portugal. Based on what each team has done in the past two years, it seems fair that they’re seeded where they are. The press and some bloggers have talked about the group you mentioned as a ‘Group of Death,’ but c’mon: it’s not Portugal of 2004-2008 and it’s not France of the millenium.

  3. SoccerLimey says:

    I have a question

    Fancy a Greece Sweden Final ?

    Thats what you get when you don’t seed your teams in a 16 team turnament

    • Karl Sears says:

      What’s wrong with a Greece v Sweden Final? If both teams have won the games and earned the right to get there then why not?

      • Paul says:

        I totally agree with that. Only if they won it the correct way through the seeding system. If they both managed to beat everybody to reach the final then they would both deserve to be there because they’d obviously be the best two teams around… and it’d be a thrilling match! If there was no seeding and something like a Greece Sweden final DID happen, how many people around the world would be interested? I doubt I’d tune in

  4. Paul says:

    Silly article! If you didn’t have seeding in place, you’d risk having a worthy final match in the early stages, therefore killing off the rest of the tournament to a degree with regards to TV rights. It would be the same in any sport where the seeding system is used. Can you imagine at Wimbledon if they never seeded players and we had a Nadal v Djokovic match in round 1? Yes it’d be entertaining but as the competition progressed the quality would be diminished.

    And also – do you REALLY care that much if a manager wears a shirt and tie or a tracksuit? Really?!

  5. BD says:

    I stopped reading this article after this line:

    “Managers who wear tracksuits is one. Unless you’re planning a 20 minutes cameo on the pitch, what’s wrong with looking smart and wearing a shirt and tie?”

    Don’t care about what the managers are wearing. It’s a match, not a fashion show. Ridiculous……

  6. Paul says:

    Nothing wrong with wearing a tracksuit – it’s a sport, not a business meeting. And it’s outside in the elements. What kills me is when baseball managers wear the actual uniform, like Tony LaRussa is going to pitch an inning or two.

    Seeding can be frustrating, but I can see why they do it. If Ireland qualify for a couple of tournaments, they will move up in the qualifying pots, so they will be seeded higher at the finals the next time. Ukraine and Poland should have played a 2-leg playoff to see which one got placed in Pot 1, with the loser in Pot 4. That would have been an interesting way to get those teams some competitive football before Euro 2012.

    • Lyle says:

      Baseball managers are always wearing a uniform. The only manager I can think of that didn’t wear a uniform was Connie Mack and that was over half-a-century ago. It’s what they do.

  7. Eddie says:

    I’m a bit confused by two paragraphs –

    “I would argue that the seeding for Euro 2012 is a bit of a farce anyway. Having to place the hosts in pot one to maintain local interest for as long as possible means that Poland and Ukraine will be treated as the best teams in the tournament.”

    &

    “I think that my point is more stark in World Cup tournaments where qualifying nations are more varied in their World Ranking. Did North Korea ever have much of a chance qualifying from a group containing Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast? In truth they’d probably have struggled to qualify from any group, but what’s wrong with giving them more of a chance, and in the process, improving the profile of football in that part of the world?”

    It seems like you don’t like seeding in Euro 2012, but like it in World Cup formats?

  8. Bob Ruediger says:

    This is funny because a lot of people on TalkSPORT have been debating whether or not seeding should be adjusted for the UCL. The way I see it is that teams should be randomly selected with the possibility of playing anyone, to rank teams for a tournament that hasn’t started yet is stupid. Yes teams might be expected to win but in the course of 90 minutes anything can happen so who’s to say England would be GUARANTEED a win against Greece or Poland? Its stupid that this is such an issue.

    • Eddie says:

      I would love it if the CL went back to a straight two-legged knockout – would bring more romance back into Europe, IMHO. Group stages help the larger clubs. Goodness, with the TWO group stages that they had in the 90s… it was a total joke.

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