Wednesday, December 02, 2009

World Cup 2010 Draw: of 8 seeds and 32 nations

Friday would see the most anticipated football event since the world cup playoffs take place in South Africa. Six months before the blast of the whistle for South Africa 2010, 32 teams will be drawn in Cape Town.

Eight of these countries would be seeded and drawn into groups of four teams. Ah, that word 'seeded' again. In recent weeks the word has become taboo in some parts of the world (read Ireland)

Previously, earning a seed meant a country would avoid facing another seeded team in the first round. But the rules and procedures change from one tournament to the other. And that's why the Fifa World Cup Organizing Committee would meet later today is the rainbow nation to determine seeding and rules for this Draw.

At first, this Committee used a team's performance in previous World Cup rankings combined with its Fifa rankings to determine the seed. For Germany '06, 3 years of Fifa rankings (2006, 2005 and 2004) were also used in addition to performances in the 2002 and 1998 World Cups.

Crucially, no matter how the Committee seeds, it must use the Fifa rankings as part of its grouping process. The latest Fifa rankings, released on 20 Nov, put Spain as best in the world with Brazil in second. The Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Germany, France, Argentina, England and Croatia follow in that order, making the top ten.

Croatia, of course, will not be at the World Cup while hosts South Africa is also the lowest ranked team among the teams that have made it. They are 86th.

After all is said and done. I'm hoping that the Fifa meeting today would be devoid of any seeding controversies - God knows we've had too many of those in the last month already.