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Friday, November 13, 2009

Are Poland the new Austria?

On October 12th, 2005 a Rene Aufhauser double helped Austria to a 2 - 0 win over Northern Ireland in their last match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier. That was the last competitive match for Austria before the EURO 2008 final tournament.

In the October 2005 FIFA ranking, Austria were 74th in the world and 34th in Europe. Twenty friendlies later, when FIFA released the November 2007 FIFA ranking, Austria were 91st in the world and 43rd in Europe. Unfortunately for them, that ranking was also used to seed the teams in the 2010 FIFA World Cup preliminary draw. Austria were in the fifth pot, but in the end had some luck, finishing third in group 7, behind Serbia and France, but in front of Lithuania and Romania.

On October 14th, 2009, Poland slogged their way to a 0 - 1 defeat against Slovakia in their last 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier. It was their last competitive match before the EURO 2012 final tournament.

In the October 2009 FIFA ranking, Poland are 56th in the world. Much better than Austria's 74th spot 4 years ago. However, in Europe they are only 30th, only 4 steps above Austria's 2005 position.

If FIFA will again use their ranking to seed the teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup preliminary draw, Poland are not in a comfortable position - 30th place in the interim ranking, in the 4th pot.

They will only play friendlies before the draw and they have already made some errors by playing against Canada (407.925 points for a win) and Romania (492 points). It would have been better to play (and win of course) against Israel (522 points) and Bulgaria (531 points).

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