USA the Big Losers in World Cup Seeding Arrangement


world cup logo Geography has prevailed over seeding, as the four groups for the World Cup seedings were announced. England, ranked only ninth in the FIFA world rankings, managed to attain a top 8 seeding. The big losers were Portugal ranked fifth and France ranked seventh, who were relegated to the European Pot. The European Pot contains eight non seeds, regardless of ranking, and has been created to ensure the European sides avoid each other in the group stages. No more than two can be present in any group of four.

Live World Cup Draw

Top seeds have the advantage of playing all their games in the one city at the one stadium. England’s seeding is bound to bring back memories of the Spain 1982 World Cup when England were seeded top purely to keep their notorious hooligan supporters in one city and to prevent them traveling across Spain. They were also located in Bilbao in the Basque Country, where anti-English feeling brought about by the Falklands conflict with Spanish-speaking Argentina was seen to be less than in the rest of Spain.

Seeded sides also avoid other seeded sides, and there is likely to be considerable anger in Portugal, who knocked England out of the last World Cup, and France. The Netherlands also scraped in partly on the back of winning all eight qualification group matches. Argentina despite only scraping through in fourth place in South America have also been seeded in the top eight, despite widespread discontent about the stewardship of head coach Diego Maradona.

ussflogoOutlook for Sam’s Army

The USA have not done well out of the geographical seeding arrangement. They are in Pot 2 along with the weakest sides in the tournament, whom they can now not have in their group. So there is no chance of drawing New Zealand or North Korea for Bob Bradley’s side, despite the USA’s high world seeding. They are, if anything, even bigger losers out of this morning’s announcement, than those looked over to accommodate England. Instead the USA will draw one seeded side, one other European side and a third from the Pot containing African and South American sides. The indignation may also be felt in Australia who had produced some excellent results in the Asian Conference.

Looking more deeply, USA will draw one seed. Having beaten Spain, none should hold out too many fears but hosts South Africa may be worth avoiding and Spain would be ready. Germany, Italy, Argentina or England would appear to be roughly equal in strength. Pot 3 contains highly fancied Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Ghana. USA may prefer to avoid them and hope for one of the weaker African sides like Cameroon and Algeria, or a South American side, possibly Paraguay.

Pot 4 has all European sides. France and Portugal are the strongest and are to be avoided. Slovakia won a tough group as did Serbia, finishing ahead of Slovenia and France respectively. Switzerland and Greece look to be the best options for USA from this Pot.

Prost Amerika USA Best and Worst Draws
Best Case Scenario Worst Case Scenario
Argentina Spain
Algeria Ivory Coast
Switzerland France

Pots for Friday’s draw: eight groups of four countries to be drawn, each group containing one country from each pot.

Pot 1 (seeds): South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England

Pot 2 (Asia, Oceania and North/Central America): Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Mexico, Honduras

Pot 3 (Africa and South America): Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay

Pot 4 (Europe): France, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Greece, Serbia, Denmark, Slovakia


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  1. That stinks. Why did the US play so hard for first in CONCACAF???? Remember tying Costa Rica in DC? And now we are merely in the same pot with Mexico and Honduras. Goes to show how important those friendlies are, like the ones we keep losing abroad in Europe. Impressions mean too much to FIFA. Grrrrr

  2. malcontentjake on

    I’ve got no qualms with this. I’m a supporter of the USA, but also a pragmatist. Given the system that is in place, I think “they” got the pots about right. Winning CONCACAF doesn’t mean much, and the only real disputes are over which European sides got seeded and which didn’t. Its the same story it’s always been for the USA, we’ll have to pull off a group stage “upset” in order to advance, and our fate will largely be determined on Friday. We feel no different than about 20 of the other nations involved…