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Monday, November 16, 2009

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

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

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

Nigeria/New Zealand/Egypt replace Tunisia/Bahrain/Algeria.

Portugal won't be seeded if France qualify.

Rank in the seeding table - Country - Total - Performance points - FIFA Ranking Points
 1 Germany        59.3 30.3 29.0
2 Brazil 59.3 29.3 30.0
3 Italy 56.7 27.3 29.3
4 Spain 56.3 25.3 31.0
5 England 50.3 26.3 24.0
6 France 49.0 23.3 25.7
7 Argentina 49.0 21.0 28.0
8 Portugal 47.7 22.3 25.3
9 Netherlands 43.0 14.7 28.3
10 Mexico 36.7 19.3 17.3
11 USA 33.3 13.7 19.7
12 Switzerland 28.3 15.3 13.0
13 Paraguay 28.0 11.7 16.3
14 Russia 25.3 3.0 22.3
15 Ghana 23.3 13.3 10.0
16 Cameroon 23.3 3.0 20.3
17 Korea Republic 22.0 15.7 6.3
18 Japan 22.0 13.3 8.7
19 Australia 21.7 11.3 10.3
20 Côte d'Ivoire 20.3 6.0 14.3
21 Greece 20.3 0.0 20.3
22 Nigeria 19.7 2.7 17.0
23 Serbia 18.7 5.3 13.3
24 Uruguay 18.0 2.7 15.3
25 Denmark 17.7 7.7 10.0
26 Egypt 14.3 0.0 14.3
27 Chile 11.3 0.0 11.3
28 Honduras 5.7 0.0 5.7
29 South Africa 5.3 3.0 2.3
30 Slovakia 5.3 0.0 5.3
31 New Zealand 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 + OFC + CONCACAF): Australia, Honduras, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Mexico, New Zealand, USA
Pot 4 (CAF + rest of CONMEBOL): Cameroon, Chile, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Paraguay, Uruguay

Possible draw (using

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

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. so is Portugal able to reach France if they both qualify ?

  2. I will look into it later today or on Wednesday.

  3. No, Portugal will be seeded only if France are eliminated by the Republic of Ireland.

  4. Are you sure that Greece is going through Ukraine? Because chances and betting everywhere are pointing an Ukraine win

  5. No, I actually think Ukraine are favorites to go through. However, I mentioned qualified teams are determined using the current standings and the FIFA ranking. Greece are above Ukraine.

  6. Oh, sorry, i didn't realise that. Thought that it was up there to clarify that the current stantings were being used to calculate the points. Thanks for the quick awnser, and keep doing the great job you're doing.

  7. And Brazil can play with Urugau, Argentina with Chili???

  8. No, teams from the same confederation can't be drawn in the same group. UEFA obviously is an exception - but there can be no more than two European teams in the same group.

  9. And for example Russia and Slovakia be in one group, if from the 1st pot will be non european country?

  10. No, that can't happen. A team will be drawn from each pot, so two teams from the same pot can't be drawn in the same group.

    Each group will have one team from Pot 1, one from Pot 2, one from Pot 3 and one from Pot 4.

  11. I think FIFA will put CAF and CONCACAF together, and pray Honduras to be drawn with the hosts.

    AFC, OFC and CONMEBOL would be in the other pot.

    I believe it isn't the most balanced distribution, but the problem here is getting the easiest path as possible to South Africa; and the best way is pairing Africa-N.America.

    If I'm right, that would give Honduras a chance of 33% to join the hosts; and 50% to a non-S.America squad, between AUS, JAP, KOR, PRK and NZL.

    Obviously, I’m considering Uruguay will keep the advantage over Costa Rica.

    If not, FIFA will pair CAF- CONMEBOL-OFC and AFC-CONCACAF: giving the hosts a chance of 33% to face New Zealand; and a 75% chance facing either JAP, AUS, KOR, KPR, HON or CRC.

    This is not just about balance, but also politics…

  12. It is interesting to look at which teams have reached at least the Quarterfinals over the last few World Cups, and then compare these to this Ranking.

    Using the last 4 World Cups (the last 5 World Cups produce the same results), there are only 8 teams that have reached the Quarterfinals at least twice. Seven of these 8 have reached the Quarterfinals in at least one of the last 2 World Cups (Netherlands only reached in '98 and '94). These seven are the same seven at the top of the Ranking!!

    Some other teams that aren't in the Top 7:
    -Portugal: Reached Quarterfinals only once (Semifinalist in '06, a first round departure in '02 and failed to qualify '98, '94, '90)
    -USA: Quarterfinalist only in '02
    -Mexico: Round of 16 loser last four World Cups

    Seems that if a team can reach the Quarterfinals at least twice over four World Cups, then they can make a good argument for being seeded.

  13. My Spanish is terrible, so can anybody explain me:

    1) Why the rank Netherlands ahead of Portugal
    2) What source they use


  14. Is a team's group number determined by the pot they are drawn from? Example, USA are drawn into Group E from pot 3: will they then be the E3 team playing in match 25 or are the group numbers drawn separately?

  15. Re Adam

    If they keep the system, there is a second pot for each group with three balls: 2, 3 and 4.

    The teams goes for groups in order A-H, unless are regional restrictions (there cannot be 3 europeans, or 2 from the other confederations, in the same group), then the numbers are sorted.

  16. Edgar,

    Can you explain the logic behind grouping CONCACAF with AFC/OFC vs. CAF? It seems the thinking is that the three remaining CONMEBOL teams are stronger than the three CONCACAF teams. However, in your November probable ranking, USA outrank Uruguay (by 27 points) and Mexico outrank Chile (28), while Honduras trial Parguay (-48). Seems to slightly favor CONCACAF as the stronger contingent. If you use the seeding formula, the case is even stronger for CONCACAF.

  17. Sancho, I love the theory but surely the risk is that they have a 66% chance of being drawn with US or Mexico, who are both arguably stronger than the CONMEBOL teams.

    Although I guess a 33% chance of Honduras is better than the certainty of facing a South American team for the hosts.

    Based on strength of conferdation my gut feeling is they'll put CAF with CONMEBOL and CONCACAAF with AFC and NZ. But we'll see.

    I don't think your other make-up works unless Costa Rica overcome Uruguay, which might have been your point.

    Ultiamtely though, I think South Africa would have problems against all of the South American teams, US and Mexico and Aus, Japan and South Korea, who are all stronger teams. So for FIFA to really guarantee something there'd have to be some blatant ball warming.

    Anyone for South Africa; Switzerland; New Zealand; Honduras?

  18. Pot 3 (AFC + OFC + CONCACAF):
    Pot 4 (CAF + rest of CONMEBOL):

    I am redaing your comments, guys, and as I understand Pot3 and Pot4 are only consideration of Edgar? Right? FIFA hasn't announced anything for sure, right?

    And what about Pot1 and Pot2. Will these pots be for 100% such as Edgar has put?

  19. Anonymus,

    Pots 1 and 2 depend on who is in. In Pot 1 will be the seeded teams, and in Pot 2 the UEFA's.

    FIFA didn't announce the draw procedures yet.

  20. James,

    I'm a South American myself -Brazilian- and I've watched closely both qualifying from the Americas. In my humbled opinion, Paraguay is a better team than Mexico and US. Also, Chile and Uruguay are better than Honduras.

    Besides the fact that the N.American giants are better than Bielsa's Chile and Tabarez's Uruguay, the odds favours South Africa better if CAF and CONCAFAF are paired in one of the pots.

    Besides it would still be possible to have, i.e., both Mexico and Paraguay facing the hosts, there would be chances to have Honduras and New Zealand instead; and this possibility doesn't exist with a CAF-CONMEBOL pot.

    Of course, I have the assumption that the draw is fair.

    P.S.: I'm a lawyer so math is not my strongest science. If I'm wrong, please, someone feel free to correct me.

  21. We all will know next week, but, thinking about the draw procedures, it's possible that FIFA will organize it as follows:

    First Round (Pot 1 - seeded - SAF, ARG, BRA, ESP, GER, ITA, ENG and FRA)

    Group A - South Africa;

    The open match is A1:A2 and played by the hosts.

    Group B - 1st European;
    Group C - 2nd European;
    Group D - 1st South American;
    Group E - 3rd European/2nd South American;
    Group F - 3rd European/4th European;
    Group G - 4th European/2nd South American;
    Group H - 5th European.

    The idea here is to avoid as many continental clashes as possible in quarterfinals between the seeded teams, if they win their groups.

    Second Round (Pot 2 - UEFA)

    Teams will be put in the groups by the order of the draw (from A to H). No problem here. It cannot be more simple as this.

    Third Round (Pot 3 - AFC-OFC-CONMEBOL)

    It's always the most complicated because Conmebol's teams cannot be drawn in the same group of Brazil or Argentina.

    So, for Groups A to C, the system follows exactly as in the second round, but Group D will be restricted to non-South Americans only. If a Conmebol team is drawn, it goes directly to the next group with an European-seeded team.

    Whenever four AFC-OFC teams were drawn, it's mandatory that the remaining team from Pacific will be at the other South-American-seeded group, if it's still open.

    In this way, the chances to South Africa avoiding a South American opponent would be 62,5%.

    Fourth Round (Pot 4 - CAF-CONCACAF)

    CAF's teams cannot be drawn in the same group of South Africa. So, the first CONCACAF team to be drawn would be in Group A.

    The rest follows the order as in the second round.

    To me, this is the best way FIFA could manage fairly balance, regional restricions and an aid to the hosts.

  22. Sancho,
    I would agree with what you say regarding pot #1. More than likely the seeded countries are SAF, ARG, BRA, ESP, GER, ITA, ENG, FRA. with A1 going to the host (SAF) and F1, or another "1" position going to the world champion (ITA), as was done in 2006. I'm not so sure about pot #2, however. My understanding is that pot 2 (the european pot) gets assigned from left to right (A-H), in the order in which the countries are drawn. Because they're 8 european squads and you're allowed two european teams per group, there can be no conflict in doing it this way. Regarding possible clashes of seeded teams in the round of 16, if, as you say, all seeded teams were to finish first in their groups, they would avoid having to face each other right away in the second round, since they'd be facing second place finifhers. All bets are off as of the quarter finals, though.

  23. Anonymus,

    "My understanding is that pot 2 (the european pot) gets assigned from left to right (A-H), in the order in which the countries are drawn."

    That's exactly what I've tried to say. I'm sorry I wasn't clear enough.

    "...another "1" position going to the world champion (ITA), as was done in 2006."

    Since I put that "F" would have necessairly an European as seeded, my point is still valid.

    "Regarding possible clashes of seeded teams in the round of 16..."

    The problem was at the quarterfinals stage. IMO, it's better to avoid clashes between continental rivals at this stage.

    Of course, there are plenty of possible derrailments, but IF all the seeded teams win their group AND manage to stay "alive" until the Elite Eight, it would have only one european derby against 3 intercontinental matches.

    It's possible that this is only a silly thought, since there's always at least one underdog among the Elite, but I really think FIFA has shown some concern about this. Haven't it?

  24. As I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post, I use the 2006 World Cup seeding formula and draw setup. FIFA haven't announced the draw procedure yet. It will most likely happen after the December FIFA EXCO meeting - around December 2nd.


    Good points about the politics. FIFA might indeed group CAF and CONCACAF.

    @Anonymous (Marca)

    They don't provide the formula nor the source.

  25. Edgar i´ve examined the possibilites of alternative seeding methods. And my conclusion is that the only way Argentina will be among the 7 best is if FIFA hold on to the wc2006 seeding formula! And that is too bad i think. Fist of all i think it is a bad seeding formula because it ranks the results of 2007 and 2008 higher thean the 2009 results.
    But now i think it is very possible that FIFA holds on to that system, because my guess is that FIFA want Argentina to be seeded for practical reasons. Only with exactly 5 european teams seeded, 8 euro teams will be left for an own pot2.
    I would prefer FIFA using a procedure including the 2 last WC plus the november 2009 ranking as criterias. And if both France and Portugal is better than Argentina, then they should be seeded i think. Just for the one reason: THEY ARE BETTER!
    But FIFA will decide, and we just have to watch.

  26. Çan someone explain to me why Netherlands wil not be a seeded team. They are curently third in FIFA rankings

  27. FIFA necer decided who seeds before knowing all the teams. So, in theory, Netherland still has a shot.

  28. Çan someone explain to me why Netherlands wil not be a seeded team. They are curently third in FIFA rankings

    Because it also matters how they performed in former World cups. In 2006 the Netherlands lost in the last 16 and in 2002 they didn't even qualify.

  29. My point is that Argentina have not earned a seeding spot.
    This i s why: Tomorrow FIFA will publish the november ranking whinch will have Spain ranked as number 1. You will see Porugal, France and Argentina in following order:
    6:th Portugal (maybee even 5:th)
    7:th France
    8:th Argentina
    Thats how good the teams are right now!
    ANd in teh past World cups we have the Performance points. In that sektion Germany is the best team. Most interresting is this is again the order between Portugal, France and Argentina. Here it is:
    6:th France
    7:th Portugal
    8:th Argentina

    So my question. Does it seem logic to anyone that Argentina will be seeded? FIFA-logic maybee.. :)

    For sure South Africa, Spain, Brazil, Italy, Germany, England will be seeded! I just want to say that France and Portugal deserves the last 2 sports more than Argentina.

    And if anyone thinks Netherlands deserves it(only criteria for that is teams ranked 1-7). Yes, well if they do, then you have to say that England and Argentina do not!

  30. Henrik,

    It's not a matter of who's better right now, but who is better considering this and the past two years rankings (Dec.'07, Dec.'08 and Dec.'09), and the last two World Cup (2002 and 2006).

    At least, that's how it worked in 2006. But it still can change.

  31. Yes Sancho you are right, that is the way it worked in 2006. But i hope they do not use the same formula again after all critisism it generated.
    I´m not sure. But i think FIFA might use another formula this time. That depends how much they care for Argentina.

  32. Greetings all.
    On the previous WC2006. keeping european teams appart was done somewhat differently.
    It involved that one european team had to be put into a special pot and drawed first in one of the Groups. (in that case it turned out to be then Serbia&Montenegro, as the lowest ranking euro team). This meant that this team would guaranteedly face Argentina or Mexico as a top seed in that group. Turned out to be the Group of Death, C, with Holland and Ivory Coast joining Argentina and Serbia&Mont.
    This decision was also made at the last moment. Heidi Clum did the rest, maybe with the balls from the fridge ("pull out the colder, Heidi") :)
    Anyway, If this was to be repeated in this WC, then Slovenia would be in that situation now.

    As for the Pot's 2, 3, 4, they were made by an geografical criteria. All this surely was felt unfair.
    This was made to avoid following conditions:
    Maximum 2 Teams from the UEFA zone in a Group
    Maximum 1 Team from the (other) same FIFA zone's in a Group.

    But if the Pots 2, 3 ,4 also like Pot 1, wouldn't be consisted by an regional criteria, but achievments, (past 2 WC's and FIFA Rankings) in that situation, I think those conditions could also be kept by a directed draw- (removing a team or more from the momentary draw of a particular Group when facing a possibility of breaking one of above rules)*

    As it seems, now the Host, South Africa, will be put into Pot 1. That is understandable, considering that is in the economical and public interest that the Host team go as far as possible. If you follow past World Cups, from the last 4 decades, and 10 World cups, the Host made it through the Group Stage. Even when the Tournament had started to play out in somewhat egzotic football places. This time, though, it would be hard to see S.Africa to go through, considering that through achievements they would be in the last Pot 4. So, they have been granted an even bigger chance then some previous Hosts.

    So, if the Pots 2, ,3 ,4 also like Pot 1, wouldn't be consisted by an regional criteria, but achievments, (past 2 WC's and FIFA Rankings) then the Pots would be look like this:

    POT 1
    S.Africa, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain, England, Argentina, France

    POT 2
    Portugal, Netherlands, Mexico, USA, Switzerland, Paraguay, Ghana, R.Korea

    POT 3.
    Cameroon, Japan, Australia, Greece, IvoryC, Serbia, Denmark, Nigeria

    POT 4.
    Uruguay, Chile, Honduras, Slovakia, Slovenia, Algeria, N.Zealand, Korea DPR

    Possible groups in a random (directed*) draw of these Pots:








    DPR Korea