Wednesday, December 02, 2009

World cup seedings announced

The pots for Friday's World Cup draw are out. The surprise is that October's FIFA rankings were used as the basis for seeding teams in Pot A, instead of the previous formula, a complicated metric based largely on performances in previous World Cups.

For my boys*, the Netherlands, this is great news, since while they consistently fail to perform on the big stage, the Oranje also have maintained a consistently high FIFA rank over the last few years.

The pots:
Pot 1: South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, and England.
Pot 2: Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, New Zealand, Honduras, Mexico and USA.
Pot 3: Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Pot 4: Denmark, France, Greece, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

I hacked together a quick python script to simulate a random drawing. With Netherlands in pot 1 instead of the European pot 4, the likelihood of a true "Group of Death" is diminished.

Upon first electronic drawing:
Group A: South Africa , USA , Paraguay, Slovakia
Group B: Brazil , Japan , Nigeria , Greece
Group C: Spain , New Zealand , Algeria , Portugal
Group D: Netherlands , Mexico , Uruguay , Serbia
Group E: Italy , South Korea , Chile , France
Group F: Germany , North Korea , Cameroon , Denmark
Group G: Argentina , Australia , Ivory Coast , Slovenia
Group H: England , Honduras , Ghana, Switzerland

To be honest, there aren't too many groups where it would be tough to pick out the top 2. I'm sure our southern neighbours would be thrilled with this draw.

In case you were wondering, the worst possible group, by FIFA ranking:
South Africa (86), New Zealand (77), Paraguay (30), Slovakia (34)
We'll see what we get on Friday.


masster said...

I don't think your random draw is correct. As far as I am aware, 2 African are not allowed to be in the same group, thus Group A with South Africa and Ghana would not be possible.

J said...

Good catch. I didn't bother with any error checking.

I'll switch Ghana and Paraguay. No longer random, but that's not really the point.

P said...

But South Africa, as host, in pot A with the 7 seeded teams, so unless there's an ad hoc rule that it can't be drawn into a group with another African country, the draw is correct as you have it.

masster said...

There is a rule that no 2 countries from the same confederation (except Uefa) can be drawn into the same group.

J said...

masster is right -- one team per confederation, apart from UEFA where the limit is 2.

In fact, the rule that I was anticipating having to be careful of was the one limiting each group to no more than 2 UEFA teams, since I believe this was in play last time (I believe Serbia and Montenegro were in a Pot with a number of non-UEFA teams).

When I noticed all UEFA teams were contained to Pots 1 and 4, I got a bit careless.

J said...

By the way, P, are you in Austria now?

(I check my stats a lot).

You previous coordinates were somewhere in New England, n'est-ce pas?