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England to be Seeded for World Cup Finals


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.

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  1. Nnanna

    December 3, 2009 at 11:08 am

    The schedule for the WC has been published by FIFA and the games go as follows:

    1. A1 vs A2 , A3 vs A4

    2. A1 vs A3 , A2 vs A4

    3. A2 vs A3 , A1 vs A4

    substitute A for any group , and the African team is the one from pot 3 ie A3

    So game 1 would be against an unseeded European team,
    Game 2 would be against the Seeded team
    And Game 3 would be against CONCACAAF/Asian team

    Obviously FIFA stacked the schedule in favor of the unseeded European team since by the final game the Seeded team is expected to have won 2 games already and can take their foot of the pedal when they play against the Unseeded European team.

    If an African/south American team were to draw their first game against the unseeded European team, then lose to the seeded team, assuming everyone beats the CONCACAAF/ Asian team, all the European team would now need to do, is draw against the seeded team to come second in the group. this would not be such a hard task since the seeded team would likely be fielding their reserves.

    Once again, FIFA cleverly stacks the deck in favour of the European teams

  2. Maracanazo

    December 2, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I think that France not making it as a seeded team will actually play in their favour. The only good thing Domenech is good at is making his players feel like the whole world is against them. The FIFA decision will make his day!

  3. Jesse

    December 2, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks for the comment. No, I don’t think Algeria are weak. In fact I don’t truly believe any of the 32 teams competing are weak. They wouldn’t be headed to S. Africa if they were in fact weak. I was simply making a comparison on the different possibilities that England could see.

    I do in fact believe England may match up better against certain teams that don’t have the World Cup experience England & other so-called world powers do. Algeria have made only 2 WC appearances, ’82, & ’86. Slovenia has made 1 other appearance in ’02 & North Korea has also made 1 in 1966. The other nations I mentioned have a bit more International experience:

    USA – 8 app’s
    Portugal – 4 app’s
    Ivory Coast – Making their 2nd

    All the best to the Algerians next year, I’ll be watching them with excitement.

    • Laurence

      December 2, 2009 at 2:10 pm

      Well appeased. “Peace in our time!”

      • Paul Bestall

        December 2, 2009 at 3:31 pm

        Let’s not forget that Algeria caused some real upsets in the 1982 World Cup and suffered from one of the worst fixes in football history between West Germany and Austria.
        The only positive from that disgrace was that all final group games had to kick off at the same time from 1986 onwards.
        England shouldn’t fear anyone in any of the other pots at all.

  4. Gaz

    December 2, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Algeria hasn’t been in the World Cup since 1986. Though they are in that “tough” African conference. 🙂

    The seeding is a good thing for England. It would almost ensure a spot in the last 16 – unless you happen to be England.

  5. Vivaldi

    December 2, 2009 at 11:58 am

    You think Algeria is weak? I hope we will have you and you will see. Maybe you do not know soccer Our players are in the biggest European teams including Magic Bougherra and we defeated Germany. Madjer is Algerian and Zidane of Algerian origin. Where was what you call Ivory Coast? Never repeat Ivory Coast the name of this country is Cote d’Ivoire and they said that they do not want anybody to distort it. Did you read what Marcello Lippi said about the Algerian team? But you are seemingly ignorant of soccer

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer

      December 2, 2009 at 1:13 pm

      Algeria isn’t weak but they are probably the least accomplished team in a pot that includes Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Chile, Cameroon Paraguay, Uruguay and Nigeria.

      Any seed would want to face Algeria instead of the seven countries I named. Cote d’Ivoire in particular is strong and could be a dark horse to win the whole thing.

  6. Jon

    December 2, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Just a quick addition, which is that no two South American teams can be drawn against each other and no two African teams can either. This means that Brazil and Argentina cannot face the three CONMEBOL qualifiers in Pot 3 and South Africa must be drawn against one of those three as they cannot face the rest of Pot 3.

  7. Ivan

    December 2, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Pot 2 has the weakest teams, relatively speaking…New Zealand and North Korea appear to be the weakest of the 32 teams; too bad US doesn’t have a chance of playing either…pot 4 has Slovakia and Greece who should also be welcomed as opponents by anyone…in pot 3, between the lower-end South American and the African teams, noone knows what to expect(but, again, I am sure no team will be thrilled to play Ivory Coast, w/ Drogba, the Toure brothers, etc.) who knows about Ghana and Cameroon, same for Chile, and Paraguay…
    Friday should be interesting.

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