Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Grouping according to FIFA rankings

Back in December, amid much pomp and circumstance, FIFA put a show on to determine the groups for this summer's World Cup. In my opinion, it was a rather convoluted process, with pools and pots and seeds, and even a special "group" of teams that only had one team in it.

The goal was to try and achieve a regional balance to the groups. That means that no more than two European teams would be in any one group. The cynic in me believes that FIFA President Sepp Blatter, from Switzerland, and the FIFA Organization, based in Europe, decided to spread out the European teams so that there's a better chance to see more European teams in the knock-out stages. If you put 3 or 4 European teams in one group, then of course you can write off one or two of those teams right off the bat, because only 2 teams from each group will move on to the single-elimination, 16-team second-round knock-out phase.

Of course, as a CONCACAF fan, I wouldn't really like to see the USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Trinidad & Tobago placed in the same group, even though it would afford us an excellent chance to go through.

I wonder what the groups would look like if they were straight seeded according to the FIFA rankings...

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