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Friday, April 20, 2012

2006 FIFA World Cup preliminary draw: Errors in the European seeding?

Yes, 2006 and not 2014.

I had to find the seeding the last couple of qualifying draws in Europe (for both the EURO and the World Cup) for an article posted today.

The old UEFA national team coefficient was computed by simply dividing the total number of points in the last two qualifying competitions by the number of matches played.

There's something very strange in the 2006 FIFA world Cup preliminary seeding for the European zone (see pdf file from, since the original page now simply redirects to

It says:

"The 51 countries will be classified on the basis of their results in the qualifying competitions for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan and EURO 2004."

There's no info on tie breakers if two or more associations have equal coefficients.

Paragraph 6.03 of the EURO 2008 regulations (the last qualifying draw with the old coefficient):

"If two or more associations have the same coefficient, the following criteria will be applied:

a) coefficient from the matches played in its most recent qualifying competition,
b) average goal difference,
c) average number of goals scored,
d) average number of away goals scored,
e) drawing of lots."

Applying these criteria, four teams will be in different pots:

Bulgaria would have replaced Poland in the second pot.
Ukraine would have replaced Austria in the third pot.

Ukraine have no reason to complain. They won their group and were the first European team to clinch qualification.

Group 2: Turkey, Denmark, Greece, Ukraine, Georgia, Albania, Kazakhstan

Bulgaria finished 3rd in their group, 9 points of the pace set by Croatia and Sweden.

Group 8: Sweden, Croatia, Bulgaria, Iceland, Hungary, Malta.

Poland and Austria were in the same group. Poland finished 2nd and qualified for the final tournament. Austria were 3rd, 9 points behind Poland.

Group 6: England, Poland, Austria, Wales, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan

This is how the groups would have looked like with the aforementioned criteria:

Group 2: Turkey, Denmark, Greece, Austria, Georgia, Albania, Kazakhstan
Group 6: England, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Wales, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan
Group 8: Sweden, Croatia, Poland, Iceland, Hungary, Malta

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. the question is: WHAT criteria did they actually use to have the order (Slovenia-Poland-Bulgaria) and (Slovakia-Austria-Ukraine)?

    1. I did write to both FIFA and UEFA and... received no answer.


    According to this article FIFA applied a FIFA Ranking criterion.