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Friday, April 3, 2015

2018 FIFA World Cup seeding (UEFA): 10000 simulations (3 April 2015)

See previous simulation results.

As usual with competition/pot sims, I used ClubElo's expected goals formula. Games up to and including 31 March 2015.

Very important: this is based on the fixtures list from If teams schedule other friendlies things will look different.

Based on these 10000 simulations, these would be the pots. Teams are sorted by the average pot over the 10000 sims.

There are new locked teams, besides Germany and Netherlands.

Looking to improve your FIFA ranking before the draw? Use the e-mail address from my profile to contact me.

Pot 1: Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Romania, England, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Italy
Pot 2: Slovakia, Czech Republic, Wales, Austria, Switzerland, France, Poland, Denmark, Iceland
Pot 3: Scotland, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Hungary, Israel
Pot 4: Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Albania, Turkey, Norway, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Finland, Armenia
Pot 5: Estonia, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, FYR Macedonia, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Moldova
Pot 6: Kazakhstan, Georgia, Malta, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, San Marino, Andorra

Croatia replace Czech Republic in Pot 1.
Poland and Iceland replace Ukraine and Israel in Pot 2.
Northern Ireland replace Republic of Ireland in Pot 3.

Best movers:

6 - Northern Ireland
5 - Wales
3 -  Scotland, Poland and Bosnia-Herzegovina

Worst movers:

-12 - Israel
-4 - Czech Republic and Ukraine

Pot 6

100.00% - Andorra
100.00% - San Marino
97.47% - Luxembourg
91.75% - Liechtenstein
89.31% - Malta
85.59% - Georgia
81.29% - Kazakhstan
35.99% - Moldova
16.54% - Faroe Islands
2.06% - Azerbaijan

Pot 5

97.17% - Azerbaijan
96.77% - Cyprus
92.05% - FYR Macedonia
83.82% - Latvia
79.87% - Lithuania
76.77% - Belarus
74.08% - Faroe Islands
69.54% - Estonia
66.23% - Armenia
64.01% - Moldova
30.71% - Finland
18.71% - Kazakhstan
14.41% - Georgia
12.86% - Montenegro
10.69% - Malta
8.25% - Liechtenstein
2.53% - Luxembourg
0.80% - Bulgaria
0.72% - Norway
0.01% - Republic of Ireland

Pot 4

100.00% - Turkey
99.28% - Norway
99.20% - Bulgaria
85.90% - Montenegro
69.29% - Finland
68.52% - Albania
57.98% - Slovenia
48.35% - Israel
48.20% - Republic of Ireland
33.77% - Armenia
30.46% - Estonia
26.57% - Hungary
23.23% - Belarus
21.54% - Northern Ireland
20.13% - Lithuania
16.18% - Latvia
12.56% - Serbia
9.38% - Faroe Islands
7.95% - FYR Macedonia
7.11% - Bosnia-Herzegovina
5.59% - Greece
4.76% - Sweden
3.23% - Cyprus
0.77% - Azerbaijan
0.04% - Scotland
0.01% - Denmark

Pot 3

95.02% - Sweden
94.38% - Greece
73.96% - Ukraine
72.97% - Scotland
72.95% - Hungary
67.37% - Bosnia-Herzegovina
63.22% - Serbia
60.18% - Iceland
58.75% - Northern Ireland
51.74% - Republic of Ireland
46.27% - Denmark
40.98% - Slovenia
34.83% - Israel
34.45% - Poland
31.48% - Albania
1.24% - Montenegro
0.21% - Austria

Pot 2

99.53% - France
97.41% - Switzerland
96.13% - Austria
73.22% - Wales
66.80% - Czech Republic
65.55% - Poland
63.76% - Slovakia
54.39% - Italy
53.72% - Denmark
39.82% - Iceland
33.60% - Croatia
26.99% - Scotland
26.04% - Ukraine
25.52% - Bosnia-Herzegovina
24.22% - Serbia
19.71% - Northern Ireland
16.82% - Israel
11.30% - Spain
2.07% - Portugal
1.58% - England
1.04% - Slovenia
0.48% - Hungary
0.22% - Sweden
0.05% - Republic of Ireland
0.03% - Greece

Pot 1

100.00% - Germany
100.00% - Belgium
100.00% - Netherlands
100.00% - Romania
98.42% - England
97.93% - Portugal
88.70% - Spain
66.40% - Croatia
45.61% - Italy
36.24% - Slovakia
33.20% - Czech Republic
26.78% - Wales
3.66% - Austria
2.59% - Switzerland
0.47% - France

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. Interesting that Italy play Croatia in their last remaining fixture before the draw, Surely the chances of both being in pot 1 are very remote as a result?

    1. Very good point. It's quite remote, as in - it never happened in the 10000 sims.

    2. hm ? What about the elo-predictions I gave last Tuesday and the resulting pot-distribution. Italy and Croatia both in pot 1, doesn't seem that far-fetched, does it ?

    3. Well, something doesn't add up. The simulations give a 66.40% chance for Croatia to be seeded and 45.61% for Italy. 66.40 + 45.61 = 112.01. There must have been at least 1,201 simulations where this happened.

    4. Again, very good point. I was thinking in Romania when I ran a SQL query. I used "Italia" instead of "Italy". 13.16% is the correct value.

    5. The chances of both Italy and Croatia ending up in pot 1 are not remote. I'd say it's even likely to happen given that a draw in June suits both of them. Of course, if Gibraltar are accepted into FIFA on 29 May, then thibgs change and Croatia must pursue a win vs Italy.

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Edgar, there was talk of a friendly being arranged between Wales and Northern Ireland for June. Would this be detrimental to Wales' even if we won?

    1. It would drop very slightly to 25.55% with a win vs. Northern Ireland.

    2. Thank you Edgar, if you have the time could you tell us the permutations needed for Wales to get into pot 1.

      Is it a case of beating Belgium or do we need to beat Belgium and have other results go our way?

  3. Will a win against Republic of Ireland in the June be good enough for Scotland to reach Pot 2? They've got a friendly against Qatar a few days beforehand which probably won't help their ranking very much.


    1. With a win vs. Republic of Ireland and also adding the friendly vs. Qatar (this is not set as a win): 89.6% Pot 2, 10.4% Pot 3.

    2. The % with a win against Qatar? thanks

  4. Edgar, If Portugal, somehow, draws with Armenia and lost to Italy, what results of other teams we need to continue in pot 1?

  5. Hi Edgar, what are the Ukraine's chances to get to pot 2? Friendly game against Georgia and Luxembourg.

    1. When and where is the friendly vs. Georgia?

    2. 09.06.15, Georgia - Ukraine, Linz (Austria)

  6. Q for (Dutch) Ed: aren't Holland and Germany always locked in top seeds (regardless of not all of their Brazil2014 ties being in the same timeframe)? Will it be corrected for subsequent draws or will the relevant ties remain in a different timeframe from all other Brazil2014 ties (untill those results are outdated)?

    1. Eun, no that is entirely dependent upon the publishing date of the ranking from which the seeding is established. For the WC18-draw the July 2015 ranking is taken as seeding ranking and the publishing date of that ranking is set at July 9th. That implies that in this ranking the semi final of the Netherlands against Argentina (played on July 9th 2014) is included in the first timeframe as is the third place play-off and the final of the WC14 (played on July 12th and 13th 2014). Those three matches therefore have a weight of 1 in the July ranking calculation, while all the other WC14-matches have a weight of 0.5 in this calculation. So a big advantage for Netherlands and (to a lesser extent) Germany in the July 2015 ranking, entirely caused by the FIFA-choice of the publishing date of this seeding-ranking. I still think it's very unfair to other UEFA-countries, but FIFA has decided regardless of this obvious discriminating consequence.
      Let's hope that for future seedings a ranking (and a publishing date of that ranking) is chosen where FIFA has thought about such consequences beforehand. It's part of the credibility of their seeding instrument that is on stake here.

    2. As an illustration: the Netherlands would have 165 points less if July 16th was chosen as the publishing date of the July ranking. And would now have to win against USA and Latvia in June to get to 1079 points, a points total that is right in the danger zone for pot 1 with Wales, Czech Repbulic, Croatia/Italy all very capable of overtaking them.

  7. Hello Edgar, thanks for a great website! What will it take for Iceland to stay in Pot 2 or have they dropped to pot 3 after the draw against Estonia? If we win against the Czechs at home in June will Iceland be in Pot 2, and a loss will guarantee a spot in pot 3?

    1. A win means 100% pot 2.
      A draw 93.86% pot 3.
      A loss 100% pot 3.

  8. Has the ranking for UEFA seeding already been chosen to be July 2015? Because it may be possible that UEFA chooses June 2015 as the ranking, to be avoid the "discrimination" issue of Netherlands and Germany. I think CONCACAF chose August 2014 for its draw in January

    1. The main problem of discrimination is against France actually. Using July ranking should hurt them strongly. I think this is unfair because they have not had the chance to play official games after WC. If june ranking is used this will be better for france and fair for every team.

    2. Good point. When the FIFA-ranking was used for the seeding of the UEFA-qualifications for WC14 and WC10 EURO-hosts Ukraine/Poland and Austria/Switzerland respectively were also heavily disadvantaged. That is another issue which is not properly addressed by FIFA. They only proclaim that the FIFA ranking should be used for seeding purposes in WC-qualification.
      It is, as far as I know, not yet officially announced that the July ranking will be the seeding ranking for the UEFA qualification draw. Precious little information is given well ahead by FIFA or by UEFA for that matter, as usual. Conform CONCACAF, it probably is the proposal of UEFA (to be approved by FIFA) which ranking to use for the seeding.

      The June ranking (publishing date June 4th) can be calculated already, ignoring the odd UEFA involved friendly in May. These would be the pot changes compared to the latest elo-predicted July ranking:
      Switzerland and France (from 2 to 1) instead of England and Croatia (from 1 to 2);
      Greece and Scotland (from 3 to 2) instead of Poland and Bosnia-Herzegovina (from 2 to 3);
      Israel (from 4 to 3) instead of Republic of Ireland (from 3 to 4);
      Belarus (from 5 to 4) instead of Estonia (from 4 to 5)

    3. You can also look at it another way. The most recent FIFA ranking is the way to go because (according to FIFA) it is a better evaluation of team strength.

  9. Romania will be for sure in Pot 1 even with a defeat in Northern Ireland?
    And why will France drop so many places?

    1. Yes, Romania are certain to be in Pot 1 even with a loss in Belfast.

      The World Cup loses value and France have been playing only friendlies.

  10. Spain will play a friendly with Costa Rica in Madrid on 11 June. This match shouldn't have an impact on the seedings, but it could if Spain fail to win in Belarus.