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FIFA Sets Draw Pots

FIFA announced today that, for Friday's World Cup draw, the seeded teams in Pot 1 will be: South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina and England. The seeds were based on FIFA's world rankings in October, before the Euro playoffs. If the more recent rankings had been used, France would've been seeded instead of England.

Pot 2: Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, New Zealand, Honduras, Mexico and USA.

Pot 3: Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Pot 4: Denmark, France, Greece, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

No two teams from the same confederation will be drawn in the same group (except European teams, where a maximum of two will be in a group). For example, South Africa cannot play the African teams from Pot 3 and Argentina and Brazil cannot be drawn against the three remaining South American teams.

Best-case scenario for the USA? Perhaps South Africa, Uruguay and Switzerland.
Worse-case scenario? Maybe Spain, Ivory Coast and France.

The BBC sees England's best and worst situations this way:

A worst-case scenario on Friday would result in Fabio Capello's side taking on France, Ivory Coast and the United States, while a far easier proposition on paper would have England facing Slovenia, Algeria and New Zealand.

How do you think the draw will turn out for the Americans?

By Steve Goff  |  December 2, 2009; 8:28 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: Wednesday Kickaround

Comments

We can't do much worse than last Cup....right?!?!

Posted by: ddd001 | December 2, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

We can't do much worse than last Cup....right?!?!

Posted by: ddd001 | December 2, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

You mean in terms of seeding or performance? If you mean seeding, I think you are close, although Spain-Ivory Coast-France/Portugal would rival it.

If you are talking performance, then I disagree. 1990 is too long ago for comparison, but 1998 isn't. And that was bad.

Posted by: TwinCity | December 2, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

If I were England, I'd be far more afraid of Mexico. They're both erratic sides, but Mexico is on the upswing and can be far more explosive on a good day IMO.

Still, it's not a bad thing that the Beeb considers the US a dangerous team to face.

And... at least Mexico didn't get seeded!

Posted by: Modibo | December 2, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

How do I think it will turn out? After two and a half days of doomsday posts and tweets about the potential matchups, the draw will be made and there will be seven months of doomsday posts and tweets and stories about the real matchups.

Then they will play the games and we'll see what will happen. People are going to freak out regardless. The angst and suicide watches that have come simply from the seeding criteria - and let's face it, the same stuff would happen regardless of what FIFA decided - are tiresome.

Posted by: beach3 | December 2, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

What's worse than 3 losses in 3 games? Best thing about hitting rock bottom, nowhere to go but up!

So excited for the draw, lets hope for England or South Africa as the seed of our group.

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | December 2, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I don't really care who we get seeded with. While I would like for the team to get an easy group, I worry that the team won't take them serious enough and end up losing to (perceived) weaker teams.

However, if we get placed in a group of Death, a win over one of the Cup's favorites, would be great... especially if we help prevent a Spain, Brazil, or England from getting out of the group.

Let's face it. The US isn't winning the World Cup, even if they advance out of the group phase. The best measure of success will be how the team performs against the top 10 teams in a serious Cup competition.

Posted by: TCompton | December 2, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

How about: nobody cares?

Posted by: mcoghlan | December 2, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

With any luck, we'll be drawn into a group with Ireland, Costa Rica, and Bahrain.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 2, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

For our final WC tune-up, a football classic: The Incessant Drunken Nasal Whining vs. The Ear-Splitting-Vacuum-Cleaner Yawning.

And the Yawns take the early lead.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | December 2, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Well...we have a 25% chance of drawing South Africa or Algeria. That's our lifeline.

Now that Holland is seeded, there's no group in the Euro Pot that is impossible to a least get a draw with. That helps us, too.

I'm frankly stunned that FIFA chose to force one of Chile, Paraguay or Uruguay on the hosts instead of giving them a 1/3 chance to get Honduras.

Posted by: Shmenge | December 2, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

We're the best team in our pot, but until CONCACAF gets better, we'll be potted with the worst teams. Sucks, but even if we were potted with Africa, we could still end up with Paraguay or Chile.

Anyway you look at it, the draw is completely random and even with a good potting we could get a bad draw. Anyone else heading up to Union Station Friday?

Posted by: wanker82 | December 2, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I understand Irelands argument about being the 33rd team in the world cup, but can someone tell me why Costa rica keeps getting mentioned as the 34th team??? I know it won't happen, but I keep hearing costa ricas name??? did I miss something in that game?

Posted by: Norteno4life | December 2, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

How about: nobody cares?

Posted by: mcoghlan | December 2, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

How about: don't comment, then.

Posted by: TwinCity | December 2, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

What's worse than 3 losses in 3 games? Best thing about hitting rock bottom, nowhere to go but up!

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | December 2, 2009 9:01 AM

How about 3 losses and no goals scored. Just sayin'.

Posted by: sec133row5 | December 2, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

If there was ever a time for the US to draw South Africa - now's that time!

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | December 2, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

If we don't sort out our defensive and forward depth problems, it might be a literal case of rearranging deck chairs on the titanic. In any case, don't want the "weak side" to be an African nation like Ivory Coast.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | December 2, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

South Africa would be great to draw, but we'd have to hear those damn vuvuzelas. I'd almost rather face Brazil than have to spend the time trying to stuff the curtains into my ears.

Posted by: mmathai | December 2, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"FIFA Sets Draw Pots"

Where's dadryan?

mcoghlan, I feel the same way. You never know how it is going to work out. Case in point: US v Portugal. I'm sure Portugal felt very confident when they drew us and Poland and Korea.

Posted by: Reignking | December 2, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

if not south africa, wouldn't you actually want to draw argentina, since there's like a 50/50 chance that maradona will show up in south africa smashed on coke and having picked a squad of random, aging players from mid-table argentinian clubs? you can't rule anything out with that guy. all of the top seeds are good, only one of them is being managed by a crazy person.

Posted by: stairs | December 2, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

If history dictates it, the chances of a favorable draw are not good.

Posted by: mjwies11 | December 2, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

What pot is Ireland in?

Posted by: Reignking | December 2, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I am hoping we get England, Ivory Coast and Portugal!

Posted by: Barracudas | December 2, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

"With any luck, we'll be drawn into a group with Ireland, Costa Rica, and Bahrain."

Posted by: I-270Exit1

***********************************

I'm glad we won't be in that group with the other 170 or so teams.

Good news for Holland and maybe England in getting seeded. Most pundits had France (who did make the last WC final) seeded so the news has to be a disappointment for them. Maybe the hidden hand of Sepp Blatter trumps the unseen hand of Henry?

And, FWIW, Honduras may be about as dangerous as Uruguay.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | December 2, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Forget South Africa. The host always makes it out of their group. Give me Italy from the top tier. Only this time, let's try and avoid red cards.

From the other two, I'll take Algeria and Denmark.

Posted by: psps23 | December 2, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I think we should look at this from the seeded teams perspective.
I wouldn't want the USA in my group even if we are in the "weakest" pot.
We have proved we can beat top level teams on any given day.
And don't forget the WC is not being played in Europe where we have a horrible track record.
Look at our WC results when playing outside of Europe.
We need an underdog mentality to get us through.

Posted by: ussccr | December 2, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

What's worse than 3 losses in 3 games? Best thing about hitting rock bottom, nowhere to go but up!

So excited for the draw, lets hope for England or South Africa as the seed of our group.

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | December 2, 2009 9:01

If you are talking about WC 2006, the US did not lose 3 games. We lost two and tied one, the tie being to eventual champion Italy.

Posted by: Ron16 | December 2, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

How about: nobody cares?

Posted by: mcoghlan | December 2, 2009 9:04 AM

Uh oh - must have a link to this story on the sports home page! Troll food.

***

Aside from the obvious, the draw I don't want to see; Germany, Paraguay and Denmark. Talented, professional teams that would have no problem beating us 1-nil. Denmark performed remarkably well in winning a tough group. And they just thumped us a couple weeks ago.

Posted by: Kev29 | December 2, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Charlize Theron is helping out with the draw?

Now I'm watching.

Posted by: Reignking | December 2, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

What pot is Ireland in?

you had to ask...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt0uzkf5K0A

Posted by: DadRyan | December 2, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Goff: "The seeds were based on FIFA's world rankings in October, before the Euro playoffs."

Does this mean they tossed out the past practice of weighing the last three WC results in the formula? So is FIFA blatantly crooked or just random? (I know they're crooked, just a bit surprised they'd be that obvious about it.)

Posted by: benonthehill | December 2, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I can see why the media in England might think the USA is the strongest team in "our" pot. I f we were healthy and in form, I might be inclined to agree. Right now, with the injuries, it's hard to see where the goals will come from, and our defense suddenly looks very vulnerable. Even Tim Howard is suddenly looking very average and shell-chocked at Everton. Things may change, but the USA isn't looking very formidable now.

Posted by: fischy | December 2, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

It's the World Cup, there are no easy groups....

Posted by: dchooligan | December 2, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, normally we can rely on our back 4. Not so much right now.

Posted by: Reignking | December 2, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, fischy - I think that a lot of commentators around the world are basing the "we want to avoid the US in pot two" stance on the last thing they saw us in - probably Confederations Cup. We also scored some style points from the Italy match in 2006, hence the "they are fit and physical" analysis. Countries could be wishing for Australia and Mexico at their own risk.

That said, it's a World Cup outside of Europe, so we can expect the unexpected (ir)regardless of draw.

Posted by: Kev29 | December 2, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@benonthehill -- FIFA uses a different formula every 4 years. This is neither random nor crooked. They have a sense of a starting point -- knowing which teams ought to be seeded. From there, they probably work backwards to come up with the formula that ensures those will be the seeded teams. Clearly, it's not random -- but, that doesn't make it crooked or even unprincipled.

By the way -- in the last Cup draw, FIFA did not weigh the last 3 Cups. It was performance in the prior 2 Cups, weighted along with rankings for the prior 3 years. USA needs to do will this time around and the next time around to gain a future seed. Just our luck, the next time that could happen is 2018, at which time the USA may automatically be seeded as host.

Posted by: fischy | December 2, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Man, I'm all atingle. God, I love the WC.

Posted by: Matte | December 2, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

@fischy,

Thanks for the info on the '06 seeding process. But I'm still gonna argue that picking who needs to be seeded and then rigging a sham formula to justify the conclusions is crooked.

Posted by: benonthehill | December 2, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Absolute best case draw for the US would be South Africa, Slovenia, Paraguay. Worst case would be Spain (or Brazil), Portugal, Cameroon.

Posted by: soccerman | December 2, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

if i'm wearing my optimistic hat (it's stylish!), i would say that we have proven can hang with several teams in Pot 1: Brazil (Confed Cup final), Germany ('02 WC), Spain (Confed Cup), Italy ('06 WC, Confed Cup game was close). of the others, i'd probably be most worried by the Netherlands. if we get England, Argentina or South Africa, i would be happy. nothing in the other groups worries me too much other than France and Ivory Coast.

so how about a nice, medium draw of Argentina, Cameroon and Greece? no easy games in there, but nothing insurmountable either. don't like that one? there's 511 more to choose from, give or take.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | December 2, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

If New Zealand ends up in the South Africa group, we'll know that FIFA doesn't mind blatant manipulation of the draw. If France end up in the group, we'll know that even FIFA can screw up a blatant manipulation of the draw. :-)

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | December 2, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Best Case Scenario:
South Africa, Uruguay, Greece

Worst Case Scenario:
Brazil, Cameroon, Portugal

Posted by: GoUnited | December 2, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

It's the World Cup, there are no easy groups....

Posted by: dchooligan

Exactly. Besides, trying to predict what will happen in a four pot random draw is just stupid. Lets just wait until Friday and debate about the US's chances then.

Posted by: rademaar | December 2, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I personally think there are some "big name" teams that the US would actually do well to face in South Africa. You also should remember that European teams don't often perform that well outside of Europe - I'd much rather get Spain in South Africa than Brazil.

Pot 1: Italy. Italy played terribly at Euro 2008 and the US held them to a draw in the last World Cup. I could see it happening again.

Pot 1: Argentina. As long as Diego Maradona's in charge, this team can lose on any given day.

Pot 3: Nigeria. Struggled mightily during qualifying. Nigeria is a big name but they're a dysfunctional squad that barely squeezed past Kenya to qualify.

Pot 4: France. Imploding. Plus, they have a lousy coach.

Posted by: diego_r | December 2, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

@fischy

you don't think Donovan, Dempsey and Altidore can score goals? as for Howard, i think the problem is more that Everton is not the same team they were the past few years, especially on defense. they've lost Phil Neville for some time and Lescott basically forced them to move him to Man City.

that said, Howard will not be able to bail out the US defense if they can't stay organized and mark well. assuming Gooch and DeMerit are back in good health, i'm betting on Howard turning in a quality performance.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | December 2, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

btw: the seeding process revealed France's "unannounced" punishment for Thierry Henry's handball. It's fairly obvious that the seeding process was designed specifically for France not to be placed in pot 1. If they had used the formula from last World Cup, FIFA rankings plus performance in the past 2 World Cups there is no way Netherlands would be seeded because they didn't qualify for the 2002 World Cup.

Posted by: diego_r | December 2, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

1. Yeah, there'll be some doom and gloom posts regardless of the draw we get. But mostly there will be tremendous optimism. Remember how convinced most US fans were that we'd take Ghana and might get a win against the CR? Hah! Meanwhile, I seem to remember a chat with Herr Goff who was in Germany at the time who when asked about the US chances against Ghana said that the US would struggle with Ghana's pace and athleticism.

2. I don't want to face any of the top S. American teams in our draw. What Japorea showed is that when you get the Euro teams out of Europe, many of them do an El Foldo. You have to wonder if S. Africa would be similar. I worry about Spain or Italy but I also wonder if they'll be just as impressive outside of Europe--traditionally the answer is "no." Meanwhile, other than Argentina (as long as they're coached by Maradona), any of the South American sides (including Uruguay) would be a handful for us.

3. Whoever said that we've shown we can hang with anyone didn't get it right. The US record in Europe is abyssmal. Take us out of the US and our record is so-so--and that includes Concacaf matches against teams like T&T or Jamaica or Costa Rica who didn't even make the WC.

Saying we can "hang" with other teams or play with almost anyone really defies the logic. If you look at FIFA sponsored tournaments we've done well at (even the 2002 WC), our final record was never that impressive--often times just over .500.

For the US to do well in South Africa, we need a favorable draw, healthy players who are in-form, and some key breaks. And that probably produces a 1-1-1 record so we get into the knockout rounds and face Brazil or Germany.

Posted by: JoeW1 | December 2, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Re: Seeding France

Shouldn't there be some kind of implicit rule that if you have to play in a playoff to qualify, you can't be a seeded team? Makes sense to me.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | December 2, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

What's worse than 3 losses in 3 games?


Three losses in 3 games and Mexico wins the World Cup

Posted by: rcdwriting | December 2, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

What's worse than 3 losses in 3 games? Best thing about hitting rock bottom, nowhere to go but up!

This comment has already been corrected above, but I'll correct it again because I care so (too) much: We didn't have three losses in WC'06. We tied Italy while playing a man down for considerable time. It is the only game in the Cup the Italians didn't win.

Posted by: WorldCup | December 2, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't know; this might be a good time to get seeded with Argentina given that Diego will still be the coach and he'd probably start his second string against the US because he's not the smartest man on the planet.

We just need a break and a friendly draw for a change. Im sure Blatter can arrange whatever he wants; so c'mon man!

Posted by: hacksaw | December 2, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Oops; meant "get drawn into the same group as"... not "seeded"...

Posted by: hacksaw | December 2, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm blanking on how it happened in years past - how are the groups selected from these pots? Balls is a fishbowl? Names drawn from envelopes? Slot machines?

Posted by: eadc | December 2, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

My ideal draw:

1. South Africa. Yes, the hosts always get through, but let's be blunt: this South Africa team is the worst team to host in WC history. They were in the WC qualifiers since they double as the qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations, and didn't even make the final round. Obviously playing the home team in the WC can be tough (see: Korea, 2002), but I'll take a bad team with great home support over Spain or Brazil any day of the week.

2. Uruguay. They play a bit like a more skilled version of Guatemala (ugly, hyperaggressive, cynical). The downside is that, with Diego Forlan, we could play very well but give up 2 goals on 2 chances. There's also the fact that we are fairly poor in terms of discipline, and this would be a game where someone's getting sent off.

3. Slovakia. Yes, they just beat us, but they were terribly unimpressive in doing so. I can live with anyone from this pot aside from France (Domenech or no, they're still France) and Portugal.

Nightmare draw:
Brazil
Ivory Coast
Portugal

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 2, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

South Africa is a good call but I would rather like to see the US in the group with the only seeded team that will be selected and managed by a (1) crack-head and (2) crypto-fascist sympathizer and US hater.

Even if they do have Messi.

Posted by: OWNTF | December 2, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I hope Davies, Gooch and DeMerit are back to their top form by the start of the tournament. I also hope Jermaine Jones can come in and bolster our squad. If all those things happen, we could do well.

Posted by: WorldCup | December 2, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@benonthehill -- FIFA uses a different formula every 4 years. This is neither random nor crooked. They have a sense of a starting point -- knowing which teams ought to be seeded. From there, they probably work backwards to come up with the formula that ensures those will be the seeded teams. Clearly, it's not random -- but, that doesn't make it crooked or even unprincipled.

By the way -- in the last Cup draw, FIFA did not weigh the last 3 Cups. It was performance in the prior 2 Cups, weighted along with rankings for the prior 3 years. USA needs to do will this time around and the next time around to gain a future seed. Just our luck, the next time that could happen is 2018, at which time the USA may automatically be seeded as host.

Posted by: fischy | December 2, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Much like the decision to seed the playoff teams in Europe like 6 weeks before the actual playoffs (that already pissed off the Irish), FIFA having the ability to decide seeds and come up with a creative way (this time not so creative but still with explanation for using October ratings instead of November..bye bye France) to ensure the seeds they want is crooked to no end.

Hey FIFA, come up with a way to determine seeds and STICK TO IT EVERY FOUR YEARS ALREADY!!!

Posted by: LAfanofSI | December 2, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Italy played terribly at Euro 2008 and the US held them to a draw in the last World Cup. I could see it happening again.
Posted by: diego_r | December 2, 2009 11:16 AM |

Give me Italy from the top tier. Only this time, let's try and avoid red cards.
Posted by: psps23

___________________________________________

I agree. Italy always seems to start slow. USA almost tied Italy in 90 Cup and almost beat them in 2006. Wouldn't mind opening with them.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | December 2, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

If Italy starts slow, as many claim they do, what about us?

1990 WC 1-5 Czechoslovakia
1994 WC 1-1 Switzerland
1998 WC 0-2 Germany
2002 WC 3-2 Portugal
2006 WC 0-3 Czech R
2009 CC 1-3 ITALY

We loost 3, dru 1, and one 1.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 2, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

...how are the groups selected from these pots? Balls is a fishbowl? Names drawn from envelopes? Slot machines?
Posted by: eadc
==========

Given that they're pots, I'd imagine balls in the pots. I suppose they could put envelopes in the pots too, but that wouldn't make sense. Then again, this is FIFA we're talking about.

Is Adidas coming out with a new WC10 ball for the goalkeepers to complain about?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 2, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The draw for the Confederations Cup ( Brazil, Italy and Egypt ) was pretty brutal and the USMNT still advanced, if they have a similar draw for the World Cup they have the confidence and knowledge that it can happen again.

Posted by: terpfan4141 | December 2, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

If Italy starts slow, as many claim they do, what about us?

Posted by: I-270Exit1

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%$

Other than in 2002, USA always starts slow. If history is a guide, we will start slow, end slow and bow out after the 1st round.

We are capable of winning the the whole thing or losing all 1st round games by 4 goals each. USA is the team that nobody really wants to play.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | December 2, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Is Adidas coming out with a new WC10 ball for the goalkeepers to complain about?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 2, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Of course:
http://www.footballshirtculture.com/balls/adidas-jabulani-world-cup-2010-match-ball.html

Posted by: DadRyan | December 2, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

off the subject a bit but in a interview charlie davies says he will be ready for the next years world cup...the interview will are on friday during the world cup draw. i know it is unlikely but if he is in good form it would be amazing to see him play next year.....

Posted by: gtrplaya87 | December 2, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

the interview will air*

Posted by: gtrplaya87 | December 2, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Fishcy said: Even Tim Howard is suddenly looking very average and shell-chocked at Everton.


There is always the man who is backstopping Aston Villa to the Carling Cup, Brad Guzan! The man is already a cult hero with the claret-and-blue faithful. Although the beard has to go.

Posted by: templetontherat1978 | December 3, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

"Three losses in 3 games and Mexico wins the World Cup"

yes and no. A CONCACAF WC win would bring greater legitimacy to our corner of the football world, and perhaps a (full) 4th slot in 2014.

Posted by: ah___ | December 3, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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