After all the excitement that followed England’s eventual straightforward qualification for Brazil 2014, the browsing for tickets to Brazil and a decent sun tan lotion, England will in fact not be seeded for the finals.
The seeding system effectively keeps some of the world’s best teams apart at the group stage, creating a better chance of seeing the top teams battle it out in the knockout rounds after supposedly ‘easier’ groups.
This means that when the draw is done, there will be a team from each pot in each group, from pots one to four presumably. The top teams in pot one, the next best in pot two and so on. The teams in the group are therefore usually on a sliding scale of quality.
Of course, as has been opined many times, the game is played on grass, not paper. Many teams have succumbed to defeat in what may have been presumed ‘easy groups’. You only have to look at England’s 2010 world cup group of USA, Algeria and Slovenia to realise it’s not straightforward.
But what it does mean is that England are at the mercy of Lady Luck, and could be doomed to fight out a group with one of the world’s finest teams, such as Spain, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay (providing they beat Jordan in a play-off), Brazil or Belgium.
Fortunately for England, the FIFA rankings system has left them with an out-clause in some respects – there are a couple of teams that have benefitted from the short-term memory of the system. Switzerland and Colombia are to be two of the seeded sides, and although not poor by any means, are likely to be the hope of some pot two sides.
Teams such as England, Italy and the Netherlands will be sweating in pot two as they await their fate. Chance dictates there is a one in four possibility at least one of them may be spared a ‘group of death’ scenario. But unlike France and Portugal, at least England can start packing the swimming shorts.Tweet