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Monday, February 18, 2013

2014 FIFA World Cup seeding update (18 February 2013)

Next update: March/April 2013

Includes matches up to and including 17 February 2013.

See more info in the original 2014 FIFA World Cup seeding post.

This ranking could also be used for the UEFA play-off.

This is the top 20 of the intermediate October 2013 ranking.


1 Spain 885
2 Germany 818
3 Argentina 791
4 Côte d'Ivoire 754
5 Ghana 708
6 England 670
7 Mali 624
8 Netherlands 623
9 Portugal 612
10 Croatia 605
11 Nigeria 601
11 Italy 601
13 Russia 597
14 Colombia 593
15 Greece 586
16 Uruguay 581
17 Switzerland 537
18 Ecuador 525
18 Japan 525
20 France 523

Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, England and Mali replace Portugal, Netherlands, Uruguay and Italy in the list of seeds.

Right now, the seeds for the 2014 World Cup would be: Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, England and Mali.

Simulations for the remaining fixtures using Elo Ratings will be posted in the near future (next 30 days).

Breakdown by year (average for each time frame):


1 Spain 1041.95 654.09 763.94 98.63
2 Germany 927.06 610.96 751 74.2
3 Argentina 785.48 402.45 809.86 107.8
4 Côte d'Ivoire 437.47 441.98 519.66 274.5
5 Ghana 531.5 265.29 397.77 323.7
6 England 685.58 491.2 619.77 75.92
7 Mali 185.15 233.49 535.27 249.4
8 Netherlands 1020.07 569.55 396.79 49.25
9 Portugal 625.58 491.17 645.58 17.21
10 Croatia 513.17 488.65 578.54 66.16
11 Nigeria 363.51 256.15 248.72 326.91
11 Italy 405.36 652.14 618.6 14.77
13 Russia 543.81 451.29 606.68 49.56
14 Colombia 189.7 464.54 729.69 50.57
15 Greece 563.52 542.63 470.96 75.44
16 Uruguay 735.7 643.76 414.32 33.69
17 Switzerland 385.03 468.75 500.85 68.74
18 Ecuador 132.49 306.73 685.26 64.33
18 Japan 398.52 539.52 344.44 111.46
20 France 408.52 522.75 452.27 58.5

68 comments:

  1. Thanks for the update and the breakdown.

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  2. Hmmm, England :D

    I wonder if those African teams can really be seeded? They won't deserve it, with the 3 ACONs in 4 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lorric, I don't believe the African countries will be seeded at the WC. As Edgar stated, this is the intermediate ranking, with the results up and until the February ranking. Predictions for the scheduled games are not included.

      I believe the seeds for the WC will be traditional with 3 South-American and 5 European countries. Maybe Mexico could have a go at a seeded spot, but the African countries will fall short.

      Delete
  3. Another aspect: At this moment, Ghana is second in group D, Mali is third in group H. So neither of them would qualify. And if you don't qualify, you can't be seeded, of course.

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  4. Is this the minimum amount of points for each team? If hypothetically Nigeria cancel all of their matches from now on, would they end up with 601 points? Or is this the amount of points in case they lose all of their matches up to October?

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    Replies
    1. The latter.

      Nigeria currently has 8 matches played and accumulated 5557.42 match points for their first time frame when calculating their October FIFA points. This is an average of 694.68.
      A further 9 matches are planned for Nigeria until the October ranking. If they lose them all they will end up with a 5557.42/17 = 326.91 first time frame average and 601 points in total.

      If they cancel all their remaining matches until October Nigeria will have 969 FIFA points.

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    2. Thanks. So the number of friendly matches each team plays could significantly alter these rankings.

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    3. Yes, but that is always the case :)

      Anyway, Nigeria plays two CHAN-qualifiers in June and July against Cote d'Ivoire. These matches are incorporated in the FIFA-fixture list as friendlies, but they will play them with their B-squad as their A-squad will play the Confederations Cup in Brazil at the same time.
      This definitely will affect their ranking in October in a negative way.

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    4. Have you considered to report the number of remaining matches for each team along with their number of points? This would give more accurate insight into each team's real position, since teams with higher number of matches to play have more chance to collect points and advance in the rankings.

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    5. That is a question for Edgar.

      I can only comment that the number of remaining matches doesn't say it all. The distribution between friendlies and qualifiers is more important because the qualifiers deliver a chance at more than average match points. The friendlies carry normally less than average match points (at least for the top teams concerned here), so they will bring a team's first time frame average down.

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    6. Sorry, I thought you were Edgar.

      Regarding the distribution, yes it's important, but every point or win increases the number of points in this ranking, no matter friendly or qualifying. This is the minimum amount of points each team can get, so every win is a bonus, if I understand it correctly.

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    7. I thought so.... :)

      In that regard you're completely right. Still, to know how many qualifiers a team still has to play gives a little more insight in how much extra points a team can score. Only 3 friendlies to play versus only 3 qualifiers to play, that makes some difference in the possibilities to expand the points total.

      But let's wait and see what Edgar decides. Personally I am looking forward to a preview including predicted results. Imho Edgar's list in this post is a bit superfluous, with so many high valued matches to be played coming months.

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    8. You're not the first one to fall into the Ed/Edgar trap, and I'm sure you won't be the last :)

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  5. Tobcoach, I would agree that Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay deserve to be seeded, having won 11 of 21 World Cups that have been played (if we include the two Olympics won by Uruguay in 1924 and 1928 that for all practical purposes were World Cups at the time). However, looking at recent World Cups, I can't see any cases where three South American countries were seeded, as this honour is usually only given Argentina and Brazil. If Blatter wants to have 8 European teams left for pot 2, my feeling is that he will find a way to have a seeded African team and then have the remaining four African teams in pot 3 with Uruguay, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador.

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    Replies
    1. You are correct. I think it is really that other than '98, there have only been five European seeds since expanding to 32 teams (in '02 there were only four, but there were two Asian hosts). In '06 Mexico was seeded and '10 S. Africa was the host.

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    2. Anonymous, seeding has nothing to do with having Olympic or World titles, but has everything to do with the position on the October 2013 ranking list. And it is my believe that on that ranking list, Argentina and Colombia will be in the top 7. Brazil won't, but as the host they are seeded automatically.
      Don't underestimate Colombia as they are now 6th and will stay in the top 7 if the predicted results match the real results.

      And as for the European teams are concerned: I think there will be a few surprises in the seeding list with big European countries not being seeded. And maybe Mexico could have a seeded spot if they do well at the Gold Cup this summer.

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  6. As someone else counted: The African teams chance at getting big points was the AFCON. Especially if Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire or Mali were to get big points. However now European and South American teams will be getting more points in qualifying due to higher ranked opposition. Actually the only real chance I see for a top 7 seeding is Nigeria doing very well at the Confed Cup. Possibly Cote d'Ivoire with an outside chance, but it seems unlikely. That said - the playoff round in the AFCON qualifying could add valuable points as two higher ranked African teams will be going at each other.

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    Replies
    1. If Nigeria goes all the way, wins all their matches in Brazil and wins the Confed Cup then they still will have only 952 FIFA points and with that a position somewhere around 15th spot in the October ranking.

      The first leg of the African play-offs for the WC will be counting for the October ranking and could deliver some big points for Nigeria but even then they will not enter the top 10 in October.
      The second leg is played in November.

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    2. Didn't count all the games, but according to my count straight wins at Confed Cup alone against opponents Spain, Tahiti, Uruguay, Italy and Spain again bring Nigeria up to 973 points. That said they can only go so far based on 1 good year given it only give 50% of the point total and Nigeria had a dire 2011 and 2012 in terms of points... So you're probably right.

      Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire have decent average point totals, but they just won't get enough points from qualifying (even with perfect records) to torpedo into the top 7.

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    3. Yep, that's how it is. Can't make it any better than it looks like.

      As you said, especially Cote d'Ivoire had their chance to settle into the top 7 with a top performance at the AFCON 2013, but they blew it.
      Now it certainly looks like there will be no African seed at the WC 2014.

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    4. Good. That's how it should be.

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    5. If a team had deserved it by consistently achieving than why not? AFCON aside the African team would still have to do well at the CONFED Cup to remain a seed. If they had earned it I don' see a problem with them being a seed.

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    6. It's just the three ACONs skewing the ranking. I suppose if a team still were sufficiently dominant, I'd have no problem with it. But under current circumstances, none of them deserve it.

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    7. Would you have any qualms if it were Ghana? 7th best team in the last 2 World Cups.

      Or Cote d'Ivoire: Almost perfect record for the last 3-4 years apart from minor glitches at big tournaments.

      Also: Until African teams (or Asian or North American) get punished with minus points for being African or Asian or North American I have NO PROBLEM with recent tournaments skewing the rankings (or basically unskewing them).

      And like I said: Any African team would still need to perform at the Confed Cup, so its not like they have a wild card.

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    8. Anon, I think I can agree with some of your arguments...

      Except your point about the confederational weightings. They're not based on nothing. They express the difference in strength MEASURED in matches between teams from different confederations in the last three World Cups.

      As important, high-valued interconfederational matches are a rare sight in international football (only in World Cup, Confed Cup and some WC qualifying play-offs, if I'm not mistaken) teams from different confederations hardly play a serious (non-friendly) match against each other. So there is no other possibility to account for confederational differences in average playing strength, which undeniably occur. After all, if there is no difference in average playing strength between confederations than that would become clear in the World Cups and the confederational weighting coefficients would become more equal automatically.

      So, I think it's no 'punishment' for CAF, AFC and CONCACAF, but an incentive to become in average stronger as a confederation in future years.

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    9. Well, if the rankings were well designed there should be no need for confederational weightings, because beating a team ranked 40th should be equally difficult whether that team is African or South American.

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    10. I think a weighting is needed, as some continents play way more 2.5X matches than others.

      The Ghana question gave me an interesting idea, what if the World Cup was seeded solely on performance in the last one. I'm not sure if the Aisan Cup still does this, but they certainly used to. The same was done for the Asian World Cup qualifying process until recently, with performance in the last World Cup the only thing that mattered.

      If they did that with the World Cup, then Ghana would get seeded, but it would be wrong if you ask me. 4 years is way too long ago to be doing that. I think you could do it with 2 year tournaments though. However, I prefer the seeding system for ACONs where results over the last three competitions count, with more recent tournaments weighted. Gives a better picture. It stops flukes from giving teams advantages.

      I've always thought a hybrid of elements from the FIFA rankings and the ELO rankings would be the best way to rank the teams. I can't rememeber how it went now though, but I used to have a clear picture in my mind for how I would like it to work. Vaguely, I think it was teams taking points off each other like in ELO, but with more scope for quick movement like in FIFA. That would mean no more losing points for playing friendlies, but also allow strong teams to quickly assert themselves in the rankings, and weak teams to be put in their place faster.

      Delete
    11. I've taken some comparable representatives of each of the 5 confederations (sorry OFC !) and counted the number of matches (per type of match) each team has played over the last 4 years:

      col 1: type of match (importance factor: World Cup, Continental Cup, Qualifiers, Friendlies)
      col 2: UEFA (France)
      col 3: CONMEBOL (Uruguay)
      col 4: CAF (Cote d'Ivoire)
      col 5: CONCACAF (Mexico)
      col 6: AFC (Japan)
      All teams are regulars at their continental cup and the world cup.

      WC (4) 3 7 3 4 4
      CC (3) 4 6 13 14 6
      Qs (2.5) 22 19 16 16 19
      Fr (1) 23 19 18 37 30

      The big difference is the number of continental cup matches for CAF and CONCACAF (each with a two year cycle) compared to the other confederations with a four year cycle. It looks like UEFA, CONMEBOL and AFC compensate for that with their slightly higher number of qualifiers.

      Lorric, it seems your 'bold' statement about the number of qualifiers per confederation needs some adjustment ;-)

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    12. It's actually an error on my part that I said 2.5. I just meant matches that aren't friendlies.

      Mexico is a bit misleading with their auto-qualifications to Gold Cups. Sure, Mexico and US stay at the top of the pile anyway, so it's okay. But the other nations that don't auto qualify have to qualify. Central American teams that qualify will play 4-5 qualifiers per Gold Cup (4 of 5 will play 5), while Caribbean teams can potentially play as many as 11 per Gold Cup.

      Your list, matches that aren't friendlies:

      France - 29
      Uruguay - 32
      Ivory Coast - 32
      Mexico - 34
      Japan - 29

      It is surprising to me though that there isn't too much difference. I would still think there is greater potential to play significantly more high weighted matches in CAF and CONCACAF. They do of course get a lot of extra X3s vs X2.5s.

      I wonder what the numbers are if I make an average weighting from all the columns...

      France - 1.96
      Uruguay - 2.21
      Ivory Coast - 2.18
      Mexico - 1.90 (37 friendlies, wow. Mexico love making money off the friendlies...)
      Japan - 1.89

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    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    15. Hmm, I should stop trying to calculate something on a
      saturday morning.... Third try:

      And maybe I should have mentioned that there were a few specific exceptions for my list:
      Cote d'Ivoire had the anomaly with a third continental cup, Mexico played in the Copa America 2011 (not very well, but still) and Confed Cup 2009, France had to play an extra play-off against Ireland in qualifying for the WC 2010.

      An average pattern in qualifying looks something like this (over a 4 year cycle):
      UEFA 10 (WCq) + 10 (CCq) = 20
      CONMEBOL 18 (WCq) = 18
      CAF 6 (WCq) + 12 (CCq) = 18 (difficult to say in average, because CAF also used to combine CCq with WCq)
      CONCACAF 16 (WCq) + 10 (CCq) = 26 (MEX/USA/CAN no CCq)
      AFC 14 (WCq) + 6 (CCq) = 20

      Matches in CC (and WC) beyond the group stage separate the men from the boys, so an average pattern in CC + WC:
      UEFA 3 + 3 = 6
      CONMEBOL 3 + 3 = 6
      CAF 6 + 3 = 9
      CONCACAF 6 + 3 = 9
      AFC 3 + 3 = 6

      Average total (non-friendlies) in 4 years:
      UEFA - 26
      CONMEBOL - 24
      CAF - 27
      CONCACAF - 25 for MEX/USA/CAN - 35 for the rest
      AFC - 26

      In this regard the double cycle for CAF and CONCACAF vs. the rest isn't even strange, but something of a necessity.

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    16. Wow. I never would have expected such parity, never.

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  7. I have two issues with the current ranking:
    1) I fully agree with Hakon: If you're in a stronger federation you already get extra points for playing against better opposition. You don't need a 'modifier'.
    2) The absurdity that if Ghana beat Brasil they will get less points than if England beat Brasil, simply because they are an African team. There is no justification for this.

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  8. Anon, Hakon,

    I admit that the implementation of the confederational weighting by FIFA has a few peculiar implications.
    Anon, your second example is indeed an absurdity and could be amended by applying the weighting of the beaten opponent only instead of an averaged weighting.
    Hakon, I suppose you mean with 'well designed' that the ranking should be a true reflection of the strength of all the teams. Well, I think that is not really possible to achieve without some kind of weighting for the fact that teams from different confederations hardly play each other. The numbers over the last 4 years:
    3.930 matches played in total
    1.793 high-valued matches (importance-factor > 1) => 46% of total
    670 interconfederational matches => 17% of total
    79 high-valued interconfederational matches => 2% of total

    My question to you: how would you try to achieve a true reflection of strengths in the ranking given these numbers ?

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    Replies
    1. Well, ELO manages without a continental adjustment, and it has one African team in the top-25 and the best Oceanian team as #56. I'm sure there are many other internally consistent methods of ranking teams who play in different 'divisions', too.

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    2. ELO is a whole different ball game !

      No 4 year period of matches with degrading influence over the years, but all matches ever played are taken into account. ELO is, because of that, much more stable compared to the FIFA ranking. As other surveys already concluded: ELO outperforms FIFA in prediction capabilities.
      I like to think it presents a much better reflection of mutual strengths of international football teams than the FIFA ranking.

      But given the other assumptions of the FIFA ranking we were talking about the necessity of a confederation weighting in this system.

      Delete
  9. OK this is highly speculative, of course and a bit of wishful thinking!

    BUT, if Bosnia win ALL their remaining matches (which is NOT impossible, but hard of course), we would have 1153 points (based on current rankings for the remaining matches and not counting possible friendlies in 2013 which are as yet unknown).

    Still, one can dream! :) Again, with a friendly in 2013 bringing in approx 400 points, it would be 1109 points, still perhaps enough!

    Wouldn't it be funny for a first time qualifier to be a seed? :)

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    Replies
    1. AND I have to say a big THANK YOU to Ed for providing the necessary data for me last year to be able to make this calculation! :)

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    2. Info used: COLUMNS:

      TEAM POINTS_EARNED QUOTIENT POINTS

      POR 0 0,2 0
      POR 0 0,2 0
      GHA 477,3 0,2 95,46
      SWE 0 0,2 0
      GER 0 0,2 0
      QAT 94,86 0,2 18,972
      LUX 622,5 0,2 124,5
      FRA 0 0,2 0
      ALB 332,5 0,2 66,5
      SVK 546 0,3 163,8
      POL 129 0,3 38,7
      MEX 0 0,3 0
      ROU 1110 0,3 333
      ROU 0 0,3 0
      ALB 1125 0,3 337,5
      GRE 187 0,3 56,1
      BLR 1192,5 0,3 357,75
      BLR 1192,5 0,3 357,75
      LUX 645 0,3 193,5
      FRA 470 0,3 141
      POR 480 0,5 240
      POR 0 0,5 0
      POL 0 0,5 0
      BRA 0 0,5 0
      IRL 0 0,5 0
      MEX 0 0,5 0
      WAL 489 0,5 244,5
      LIE 382,5 0,5 191,25
      LAT 795 0,5 397,5
      GRE 475 0,5 237,5
      LIT 675 0,5 337,5
      ALG 505 1 505
      SVN 459 1 459
      GRE 1410 1 1410
      LAT 735 1 735
      SVK 1125 1 1125
      SVK 1125 1 1125
      LIE 345 1 345
      LIT 607,5 1 607,5

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    3. Hey vedadpasic,

      If I would have known that you would use it for some daydreaming..... :D On the other hand: is there a better way to fill the time than daydreaming ?
      But seriously, you're welcome.

      And indeed, if Bosnia wins two qualifiers against Greece (at home) and against Slovakia (away) that ELO predicts as draws at the moment, then they will have 1154 points in October.
      I would not like to dampen the mood, but even then Bosnia will only be 11th if ELO's word is law for the other countries involved. Some other results would have to go against the ELO-predictions to realize your dream of Bosnia being seeded. This is of course totally possible, so you can hope for now.

      I for one would like this refreshing idea, even though it could be at the expense of the Netherlands. If Bosnia is in the top 7 in October they thoroughly deserve it.

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    4. Well, I'm going to Zenica on Friday and lets hope I bring some luck to our team! :) Seriously though, I would be more than happy with a couple of draws, which would probably take us to the WC for the first time... Unless we draw Portugal again in a possible playoff ;)

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    5. Plus, ELO was wrong on our last two away matches :) hoping it continues to do so!

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    6. Yeah, seeding is a bit overrated. Qualification is much more important.
      Have fun Friday and let's hope Bosnia can get a win. I will root for them too as the Greek football-style is not the one I like to watch.

      Btw be careful what you wish for though: ELO predicts a draw, but it could be wrong in two ways :) Good luck !

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    7. Oh indeed, but I prefer not to think of THAT possibility :) PLUS, if we cant beat Greece, we don't deserve to be in the world cup anyway... :)

      Anyhoo, will continue to follow the stats as well, thanks for this website, its awesome, I got the entire mathematics department here where I work hooked

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    8. And another...

      This blog is Edgar's hobby. I support your compliments towards him completely.
      Good to hear I'm not the only weirdo around here though :D

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    9. @ Vedadpasic

      Greece are dangerous. There's no shame finishing runner up to a team that if they win the group will have qualified for the last 4 tournaments. They just get the job done, no frills, stuffy, defensive, organised, opportunistic team. And it wouldn't surprise me if they win the group. Croatia are stronger than Bosnia, but Greece put them into 2nd place in the last campaign and didn't lose a match (W7/D3)

      Bosnia will likely be unseeded in the playoffs. Might even have to face my England, let's see what happens against Montenegro. Portugal are almost sure to end up in the playoffs with that well oiled Russian team 5pts clear of them. But maybe Israel can put them in third. Unlikely though. But until recently, a big team European team often failed to get through. 2008 my England were the victim. In 2010 if not for the ref's mistake, there's a very good chance France would have fallen to Ireland. Maybe 2014 is the year Portugal will fail. A third encounter with Portugal might not be that bad a thing though. Portugal might get complacent a third time, while Bosnia might really fire up.

      He he, nice about your mathematics colleagues/friends.

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    10. @ Ed

      I've seen some Greek sides in action in youth tournaments the last few years, and they've played some really good, fluid, attacking football. Complete opposite of the seniors. A change could be coming in the future...

      The U19s got to the last final, knocking England out in the semis, and Portugal out in the group stage, a game I watched in which Greece really impressed me:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_UEFA_European_Under-19_Football_Championship

      And in the U21s I think the previous campaign, England finished runner up to an excellent Greek side in their group, which totally outclassed England in both games, so lucky to get that draw with the early goal as Greece started slow, Greece pretty much battered England for the rest of that game, and Portugal finishing third in that very hard group. Portugal don't like facing Greece, do they? England stil made the playoffs though and won, while Greece had the rotten luck to draw the Czech Republic, who would go on to eliminate my england in the tournament itself:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_UEFA_European_Under-21_Football_Championship_qualification_Group_9

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    11. @Lorric I see Your argument, but I disagree, especially in relation to Croatia (I am both Bosnian and Croatian, so neutral). Bosnia is far more dangerous than Croatia now, but have been more than unlucky in play-off draws, unlike Croatia, and have don cumulatively better than them in arguably stronger groups in the last couple of qualifiers. I believe this also shows Bosnia's attacking skill http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_FIFA_World_Cup_qualification_%E2%80%93_UEFA_Second_Round#Goalscorers

      Of course our defence leaves something to be desired and also we keep on losing great players to other European countries (most notably Zlatan Ibrahimovic of course).

      If Bosnia is second, I refuse to go to another playoff match, it takes too much out of me ;) When Ibisevic missed that chance in Zenica v. Portugal, I nearly had a heart attack.

      I would LOVE to play England in a playoff if it comes to that, as that is also MY team, having studied undergrad and PhD there ;)

      Concerning Greeks, so underrated, no comment, I believe the time has come to bring them crashing down to earth, and concerning their quilifications to major tournaments, if they played the same teams Bosnia did, there would be no chance of that happening...

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    12. Well, I'm going to have to disagree with you on that one, it sortof makes me want Bosnia to finish 2nd, along with Croatia now, and then have them meet, and then we'll find out :)

      I'm not impressed with Bosnia beating on weak teams, that didn't do them any good when they played Greece the first time. You've played Greece and 3 of your 4 easiest matches.

      Croatia could also claim to have lost Zlatan. Anyway, Zlatan is a choker in important matches. You don't need him. He'd bang in goals against weak teams, and you don't seem to have a problem with that.

      Hmmm, I wonder how you'll feel closer to the time if it happens. How would you feel if you got Portugal again?

      If you like England, wouldn't you prefer to keep them seperate, so both could go through? Or is it more so one will go through for sure? Dzeko would like that I'm sure.

      That's because they got in the top pot, although I'll admit they've been fortunate there with their draws. But they've been written off before and got the job done. You need to knock off some top teams, then you can get better draws. The draw you got is an excellent chance to move up in the World, especially for a pot C team. I think it's the weakest group.

      If Greece come 2nd, I imagine they'll get through the playoff anyway, since they'll be seeded.

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    13. Greece are extremely underrated, especially in the Balkans. Somehow, we all believe we are better than them, but then they do a "Salpingidis" and in the end - results prove us wrong. We can talk about the "prettiness" of gameplay, but as Lorric said, the Greeks get the job done and cold facts support their case. The match on Friday - this type of games is what Greeks love the most and excel in, and BiH have very little to bargain with when they try to assume the role of a favourite in a match against Greece. Much like when Bosnians try to compare their team with Croatia. :)

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    14. We will eventually see of course, things should be much clearer after Friday.

      Concerning Croatia and Bosnia, I base my claim that Bosnia has a better team than Croatia on fact, not bias. Bosnia was twice second in the last 2 qualifiers, playing against teams like Spain, Turkey, Belgium and France (France only managing a draw in Paris from a nonexistent penalty etc etc) whilst Croatia was 3rd and 2nd (and second to Greece, only ahead of Israel and Latvia etc). Lets face it, if Bosnia had the same pot as Croatia, they would have played both tournaments, easy!

      Plus Croatia basically onluy rides on the shoulders of that great generation of the late 90s, and also has several Bosnians playing in some key positions :P and always has... The eternal curse of Bosnia, having Croatia and Serbia as neighburs, only Poland had it worse historically :)

      Anyhoo, screw that, this is a stats site not a cheap forum for Balkanians to vent their frustrations (lol), we shall know after Friday where we stand! As far as I am concerned, only this matters:

      http://sphotos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/487419_10151388667468311_605279259_n.jpg

      Those bad boys are mine! :)

      @Lorric I would only like England as we never played them and would be lovely to go to Wembley supporting Bosnia :) And may the best team win! But we need to go for direct qualification this time...

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    15. Saying that Bosnia would qualify ahead of England in 2010 qualifiers and ahead of Greece in 2012 is not based on facts, but on your subjective opinion. In the end, Croatia DID qualify for Euro 2012 and played a very good tournament there, losing the qualification to 1/4 finals very narrowly and against two best teams in Europe that summer. Bosnia had numerous chances to qualify for a major tournament, but they failed each and every time since 1996. On the other hand, Croatia qualified seven times during that period, and it is unfair and disrespectful to say that all of it was based on a lucky draw. Just look at the Euro 2008 qualification group. Performances in final tournaments (especially in Euro 2008 and 2012) also prove you wrong. But if you think I'm biased, ask other, impartial, posters.

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    16. As an impartial poster I think there are some bold statements you make there, vedadpasic. I think Bosnia still has to prove something, anyway a lot more than Croatia at the moment.
      Starting this friday with a win seems to me a good way to prove your point. And I agree with Lorric and nogomet: that will be far from easy against the Greeks.

      But hey, as you said correctly, this is no cheap forum about who thinks what but a stats site. So back to the numbers: if ELO's predictions are realized for all the matches to be played until the October ranking than Croatia will be second (!) in the October ranking and Bosnia will be 21st. As I said earlier, two wins extra results in 11th spot for Bosnia. Still a long way from Croatia's position.

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    17. Speaking of Greeks getting the job done, allow me to be mischievous, and implant a little nightmare scenario into your mind, vedadpasic. This happened recently:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mve73FFLwAA

      As for the rest of you, it's worth watching, because it's an excellent goal.

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    18. Well now vedadpasic, your team has my attention now. Not many put 3 past Greece.

      The group is yours to lose now. And with the Slovaks being held at home by Finland, and Latvia also drawing with Liechtenstein, at least a playoff spot is practically guaranteed.

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    19. Well done Bosnia. Finally a win against a very good opponent. This should be the turning point of the group and should be enough for the first qualification.

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    20. Back from Zenica, of course ecstatic! Not only did we beat Greece, we CRUSHED Greece! :)

      I will not comment on the nationalistic comments of certain western neighbours and compatriots of mine, let them wallow in their own ignorance... No need for that at all after this result!

      @Lorric thank you and I completely agree that the group is now ours to lose! So let Bosnia and England meet in Brazil!

      @nogomet thanks very much, congrats to Croatia too! I am indeed a fan of my other homeland as well, however much some people here tend to doubt that, my opinion is only that Bosnia no has more quality than Croatia, and has had for a 4 years or so now, as tonight's result goes a long way to show. But that doesn't mean I dislike Croatia! But some nationalists see black and white...

      On another note, I must say that Samaras played superbly, and was pretty much the only Greek on the Zenica pitch playing at all... Kudos to him!

      In any case, my prediction is on track, lets see how the other teams fare and whether Bosnia can not only qualify (although that is by far the most important things of course!), but maybe take a shot at a seeding position, however unlikely!

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    21. Hey vedadpasic,

      congrats man, you must be over the moon ! Splendid performance and what a way to make your point.

      On the chances of becoming a seed: Bosnia is at the moment at 12th spot in my calculations. A bunch of nations with the likes of Greece, Sweden and Uruguay are already overtaken. A win in Slovakia (instead of the predicted draw) still projects Bosnia at 11th spot though.

      @nogomet
      Croatia at nr.1 in October ? Dream or a fair chance ? You will be watching the France-Spain match on Tuesday with extra attention, I suppose :)
      With a loss for Spain Croatia is in touching distance in October.

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    22. I notice in my previous post what should be Lithuania has ended up being Finland. Probably because I'd just commented on Finland's draw with Spain.

      Bosnia's biggest enemy now is complacency. You can afford to drop 3pts and you'll still win, and that's with Greece winning all their remaining games, though with the level of the opposition, and Greece being Greece, they likely will. It's still a magnificent position to be in for Bosnia. Heavy, heavy favourites to win the group now.

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    23. @Ed
      I dare not think about it yet. The mere qualification is still very far away given how Belgium are playing and there are potentially some very strong play-off opponents. So I won't let myself get carried away with the rankings when the rabbit is still in the forest. (That's a proverb in our language). :)

      But do I like the way Croatia are looking and playing at the moment? I do. In my opinion, this generation of players has enough quality and experience to exceed the 1998 bronze generation.

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    24. nogomet, the right attitude !

      in Dutch: verkoop de huid niet voor de beer geschoten is. In English: don't count your chickens before they're hatched.

      Exciting prospect, that match with the Belgians on October 11th. I wish for you that it is as clear cut as ELO thinks it is: a win for you, but I have my doubts about this one.

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    25. @nogomet and Ed. Absolutely, I am very glad that even here in Bosnia everyone is still not too euphoric, and a healthy respect of our remaining opponents is very much present!

      Croatia played really well, but the match in Zagreb will be the decider... At least Croatia has an away goal though, that is relevant, if I am not mistaken? If Croatia and Belgium play 0:0, and have the same number of points, Croatia would go through on an away goal, correct?

      In any case, I will leave you with a small video I recorded in Zenica on my mobile the other night, it was near the end when I finally could becertain of victory... And of course, I recorded the Greek goal lol! Here you are:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/bo2e8cl65rsegtj/2013-03-22%2022.39.06.mp4

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    26. Vedadpasic,
      As this is a FIFA qualification, the tie-breakers are goal difference and goals scored. If that's equal then head-to-head decides. So Croatia's away-goal has little importance. Belgium has a small advantage in goal difference at the moment: +9 vs. +6 for Croatia.

      On another note: it would be nice if Bosnia and the Netherlands will meet in Brazil as we've never played each other.

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    27. @Ed OK thanks, I thought it was head to head. Goncerning Netherlands, agreed, but not before at least the quarter final :)

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  10. @vedadpasic

    Bosnia lost Zlatan? Has he ever been to Bosnia?
    And if it's ethnicity that counts, why do you complain about a few Bosnian Croats playing for Croatia? You biased? Noooooo...

    And how does Croatia ride on the shoulders of the "Bronze Generation"? That stopped affetcing the seeding more than a decade ago.

    So it's a fact Bosnia is better than Croatia? Maybe Bosnia is better, but it's a "fact"? And you base this on the last two qualifying campaings? Let's see:

    EURO2012
    B&H 6 2 2 20pts
    play-off 0 1 1

    CRO 7 1 2 22pts
    play-off 1 1 0
    QUALIFIED!
    main tour. 1 1 1 4pts

    WC2010
    B&H 6 1 3 19pts
    play-off 0 0 2

    CRO 6 2 2 20pts

    hmmmm...some hard facts here.
    Not to mention what it would look like if you hadn't chosen the convenient cut-off point after EURO2008 (CRO 3 1 0).

    And then to top it all (and make me want to reply), you go into politics. Considering Croatia invaded Bosnia only one time in its history, has a country ever, "historically as you put it, had a better neighbour? And even this invasion, the one from the 90s, was when the Government had no control of the country, with Serbs taking 70% of territory, and with the Muslim controlled government being both unable and unwilling (Ravno) to defend the Croatian populace from the Serbs. The Bosnian War started in 1992 but the first clashes between Croats and Boshniaks started only in 1993 - yes, a typical invasion. Not to mention that only a year later an alliance was made, the Government legitimied the Croatian army's presence in Bosnia and then the Croats effectively liberated Bosnia with the offensive towards the Serb capital and forcing them to withdraw their declaration of independence. As a sign of gratitude the Boshniaks are now robbing the Bosnian Croats of a representative in the three seat Presidency (which should consist of a Serb, Muslim and Croat, instead the "Croat" is a "cosmopolitan Bosnian" elected by Boshniaks). And still the Republic of Croatia never complained about it and only ever supports the Bosnian state. Rightly so. And 90% of Croatia will be cheering for you against the Greece. Because we're to you "what Germans were to Poles".

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    Replies
    1. Portugal scraped a draw in Israel with a last minute goal, final score 3-3. I watched the match, it was a fun game. Unfortunately that probably makes Portugal, for all their problems, favourites to get 2nd in this soft group, even though Israel still hold 2nd.

      8pts in 5 games though, maybe there's a chance this group could be the one with the worst runner up...

      Emphasises what a great job Capello is doing with Russia though, went to Israel and won 4-0.

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    2. Replied to wrong post.

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