FIFA World Rankings 2013: Seeds England Can Face at World Cup
The latest Coca Cola FIFA World Rankings have been announced, confirming the seven nations who will join hosts Brazil as top seeds for next summer's World Cup.
The results are as had been expected, with Switzerland pipping Netherlands and Italy to seventh and the final top seed position in the draw for next summer's tournament.
Only if Uruguay should lose in their playoff to Jordan next month will the top seeds now change, in which case Netherlands would substitute La Celeste at the top of the draw.
|Brazil (Hosts)||Colombia (4)|
|Spain (1)||Belgium (5)|
|Germany (2)||Uruguay (6)/Netherlands* (8)|
|Argentina (3)||Switzerland (7)|
For England, the announcement confirms what was already known. Roy Hodgson's side will not be a top seed in Brazil. As such, the Three Lions will face one of Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Colombia or Uruguay (Netherlands) at next year's competition.
The revelation that France will enter UEFA's playoffs as one of the four unseeded sides also opens the possibility that they would be the lowest-ranked European side at the draw.
|Italy||Playoff Winner 1|
|England||Playoff Winner 2|
|Russia||Playoff Winner 3|
That outcome would mean that the French (or whichever is the lowest-ranked UEFA nation) would definitely play one of the non-European top seeds, as well as a fellow European country.
Consternation has been high at the seeding system in France, with Reuters reporting via the Guardian that the French Football Federation plan to complain to FIFA about the supposedly unfair rankings.
Hodgson will be disappointed that England will not enter the draw as top seeds, having not lost a competitive fixture since taking the reins in early 2012.
Indeed, England have lost just once in that period to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired Sweden in a friendly encounter, having played both Brazil and Italy twice.
However, with two sides progressing from each group at the tournament, England will be expected to progress—based on rankings—regardless of which two non-seeded sides complete their group.
If you want to understand how FIFA do their seedings and rankings, this explains everything: http://t.co/Ews9TCFWDz— AFC Academy (@AFCAcademy) October 17, 2013
Of the top seeds, England would doubtless feel that the best possible outcome would be to draw either Switzerland or Belgium in Bahia this December.
The worst-case scenario, meanwhile, would be Brazil or Argentina—with either opening up the possibility of a second UEFA nation also being drawn in the same group.
|England's best-case scenario||England's worst-case scenario|
More important, perhaps, will be a draw that allows Hodgson's side to avoid too many sapping long journeys and encounters in the humid North and North-East regions of Brazil.
Distance travelled and playing conditions will be big factors at the competition, with the unaccustomed Northern European sides likely to be among those who will suffer most.
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