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Friday, October 16, 2009

2010 World Cup: Seeding formula based on current standings (16 October 2009)

Seeded teams for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa using the 2006 FIFA World Cup seeding formula (see Wikipedia).

Qualified teams determined using the current standings (as of October 16th) and the FIFA rankings (the November 2009 ranking - computed as if no more matches would be played between today and November 20th).

Honduras replace Costa Rica.

France replace Portugal as seed.

Rank in the seeding table - Country - Total - Performance points - FIFA Ranking Points
 1 Brazil         59.7 29.3 30.3
2 Germany 59.3 30.3 29.0
3 Italy 56.7 27.3 29.3
4 Spain 56.0 25.3 30.7
5 England 51.3 26.3 25.0
6 Argentina 49.7 21.0 28.7
7 France 48.0 23.3 24.7
8 Portugal 47.3 22.3 25.0
9 Netherlands 43.0 14.7 28.3
10 Mexico 37.0 19.3 17.7
11 USA 34.7 13.7 21.0
12 Switzerland 31.0 15.3 15.7
13 Paraguay 30.0 11.7 18.3
14 Ghana 25.0 13.3 11.7
15 Russia 24.7 3.0 21.7
16 Korea Republic 23.7 15.7 8.0
17 Cameroon 23.7 3.0 20.7
18 Japan 23.3 13.3 10.0
19 Australia 22.0 11.3 10.7
20 Greece 21.0 0.0 21.0
21 Côte d'Ivoire 20.7 6.0 14.7
22 Denmark 20.0 7.7 12.3
23 Serbia 20.0 5.3 14.7
24 Uruguay 18.0 2.7 15.3
25 Tunisia 14.3 8.7 5.7
26 Chile 12.3 0.0 12.3
27 Honduras 7.0 0.0 7.0
28 Slovakia 6.7 0.0 6.7
29 South Africa 5.7 3.0 2.7
30 Algeria 5.7 0.0 5.7
31 Bahrain 2.3 0.0 2.3
32 Korea DPR 1.3 0.0 1.3
Top 7 + South Africa seeded.

Pot 1 (seeded teams): Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain
Pot 2 (rest of UEFA): Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland
Pot 3 (AFC + CONCACAF): Australia, Bahrain, Honduras, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Mexico, USA
Pot 4 (CAF + rest of CONMEBOL): Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Paraguay, Tunisia, Uruguay

Possible draw (using

Group A: South Africa, Serbia, Bahrain, Uruguay
Group B: Argentina, Greece, Japan, Côte d'Ivoire
Group C: Brazil, Denmark, Australia, Algeria
Group D: Spain, Slovakia, Korea DPR, Tunisia
Group E: England, Portugal, Honduras, Paraguay
Group F: Italy, Russia, Korea Republic, Chile
Group G: Germany, Netherlands, Mexico, Ghana
Group H: France, Switzerland, USA, Cameroon

About me:

Christian, husband, father x 3, programmer, Romanian. Started the blog in March 2007. Quit in April 2018. You can find me on LinkedIn.


  1. This is super cool!
    could you make some more examples of a possible drawing?

  2. Hey Edgar, it looks like the French and the Portuguese are close, are there any possible results where the Portuguese pass the French, but both still qualify?

  3. I'll have to wait until after the draw for the playoffs, because I have to know the opponents for Portugal and France.

  4. I wonder why everyone assume that Concacaf and Asia would be seeded on the same pot? Has it always been like that?

  5. Hi Edgar,

    I'm a little confused by some of the figures in your table. I have no issue with any of the points given for past performance in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, but in 14 cases I get different figures from the historical FIFA rankings. Can I confirm - are you using the average from Dec '07, Dec '08 and the new rankings just published today? Using these figures I get very slightly different results for France, Portugal, Mexico, Switzerland, Russia, Ghana, Cameroon, Australia, Cote d'Ivoire, Denmark, Chile, Honduras, South Africa and Korea DPR. In every case the difference is less than 1 pt.

    Thanks for your time.

  6. Edgar, any chance you would consider adding three more columns to your table showing just the 2007, 2008, and 2009 ranking points?

  7. Does Spain draw the easiest possible group imaginable with Slovakia, N. Korea and Tunisia or what? Hard to believe it can possibly get much easier than that.

    And in '02 CONCACAF and Africa were paired together. Mexico was not seeded that year (they were in '06), and won't be again, so I'm hoping (U.S. fan) that might lead to CONCACAF being regarded better than CONMEBOL by FIFA. This could lead to CONCACAF being paired with Africa, which is stronger than Asia (especially given where the WC is being held).

  8. This is the first time I researched the WC Seeding Formula so please forgive me if I sound stupid. But this formula seems very biased toward the traditional powers by using past WC results & older rankings. Maybe this is an unusual WCQ but does anyone outside of Argentina & France really believe they both should be seeded??? #3 Netherlands goes unseeded? USA beats Spain & almost shocks Brazil for the Confed Cup, wins their region & doesn't even get remotely close to a seed? France gets 2nd in a weak European group...Argentina loses 5 of their final 9 qualifiers... that's good enough to be seeded???
    FIFA stinks.

  9. The pots are easily to design if Uruguay beats Costa Rica, but i wonder how they will define pot 3 and 4 if Costa Rica is in there?

    Pot 3 cannot have 3 SA + 5 African then, but 2 + 5 = 7

    Pot 4 cannot have 3 Concacaf + 5 Asian (or 4 Asian + NZL) then, but 4 + 5 = 9

    How they might solve that?

  10. I agree Ulrik, this is a great example. Edgar, do you think England will definitely be in Group E or could there be a change to this group choice when the last of the teams qualify?

  11. Edgar,
    Just to add to my question. I understand that the seeded countries enter into Pot A and as I thought, they would be pulled and entered into a group on Dec 4th. I thought I once read that the top 7 seeded countries would be placed into their respective groups based on their pecking order in the FIFA seeding list i.e. South Africa in Group A (as host), Brazil in Group B (as the highest seeded team in the FIFA rankings), Spain in Group C (as the second highest seeded team in the FIFA rankings)....etc. I t hink I'm wrong but I just wanted confirmation, thanks.

  12. @Mitz

    I compute the Nov 2009 ranking using the current results: "the November 2009 ranking - computed as if no more matches would be played between today and November 20th".


    I'll try to find the time today.

    @Scott P

    The formula has pretty much been the same since 1998. At least they are trying to be consistent.


    Besides South Africa, no team has been official assigned to a group. I always have Italy in group F, because Germany (title holders in 2006) were assigned to group F before the draw.
    I never heard something like that - placing the seeds in groups based on their FIFA ranking. So I can't confirm that.

    @Coop, Martin & others

    Regarding the pots - FIFA has a couple of options. I'll try to write a post about it - if time allows.

  13. "Hey Edgar, it looks like the French and the Portuguese are close, are there any possible results where the Portuguese pass the French, but both still qualify?"

    I think the only way Portugal has a chance of being seeded is if they draw Ukraine (22th) and beat them in both games while France draws Slovenia (49th) and ties both games but qualifies via away goals or something.

    Really though, the Netherlands should be seeded ahead of both.

  14. If Costa Rica wins they will just assure South Africa gets a North American team and an Asian team and then proceed from there.

  15. Hi Edgar, Sorry - I'm probably being thick, but I don't get some of your average FIFA scores. Korea DPR is the simplest example: In Dec. '07, Dec. '08 and now they are and were comfortably the lowest ranked team of the 32, so scored 1 point each time. So why have you given them an average of 1.3?

  16. @Mitz

    As I said before, I compute the Nov 2009 ranking using the current results: "the November 2009 ranking - computed as if no more matches would be played between today and November 20th". In this interim ranking, Korea DPR are 81st, South Africa 85th.

  17. Brilliant - thanks Edgar

  18. Edgar,

    What if it's added weight over the rankings points (as, i.e., 2007x1, 2008x2, 2009x4), to work exactly as the World Cup points for seeding. What would change?!

    Best regards,

  19. Group G: Germany, Netherlands, Mexico, Ghana


  20. @Sancho

    Almost nothing would change by adding weight (1:2:3, not 4 as you suggested). Portugal would be 0.33 points behind France, instead of 0.66.

  21. Edgar, if FIFA end up allocating Italy a group in advance (as they did with Brazil in 2006), I think it will be Group E rather than Group F. The reason being that Brazil was allocated Group F to play in the stadia with the largest capacities in Germany, and for South Africa, the seeded team from Group E will play at Soccer City (~95,000), Durban and Cape Town (each 70,000). The Group F seed will play in smaller stadia such as Ellis Park (~60,000) and Nelspruit (46,000).

    However, I also wouldn't be surprised if the 2006 decision to put Brazil in Group F was as much because of their popularity and ability to fill up a stadium as the fact they were defending champions. So it might be that FIFA might not allocate Italy in advance at all this time. I suppose we'll find out next month.

    Fwiw, my hypothetical draw (assuming New Zealand, Uruguay, and the 4 seeded European teams get through the playoffs, and Cameroon, Tunisia and Algeria hold on to their African spots):

    A: South Africa; Japan; Serbia; Chile.

    B: Brazil; Portugal; North Korea; Tunisia.

    C: Germany; New Zealand; Ghana; Netherlands.

    D: England; Uruguay; Australia; Greece.

    E: Italy; Slovakia; Mexico; Paraguay.

    F: Argentina; Cameroon; Russia; USA.

    G: France; Ivory Coast; Switzerland; Honduras.

    H: Spain; South Korea; Algeria; Denmark.

    It's all random of course and our hypothetical draws don't matter, but definitely some fun to play around with. As an Aussie, I'd be happy enough with that draw, though I don't know if our Southern friends New Zealand would like it as much!

  22. Good point, Andrew! I never bothered to check the stadium capacities.

  23. Hi, Edgar

    I couldn't find anywhere so I need to ask - has FIFA somewhere published an order how final draw on 4 December will be made?

    You write, for example, that 8 teams in pot 2 will be rest of UEFA. Is this official or only your suggestions based on WC2006 draw?


  24. Hi Artur. It's all based on 2006 World Cup draw. There's nothing official about it yet.