We found out yesterday that England would not be seeded for next year’s World Cup in Brazil. This means that they will not be one of the teams assigned a group before the draw in December. Instead they will be in a European pot, along with seven other unseeded teams from our tournament.
This has happened because England are only 10th in the World Rankings, what the seeding is based on. This is a new system by FIFA, who used to base the draw on teams’ previous tournament performances.
This means that 2006 winners Italy and 2010 runners-up Holland are not in the seeded pot, as they are ranked joint eighth.
The 8 seeded teams are: Brazil (as hosts), Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Switzerland and most likely Uruguay. The South American country will take their place in the seeded pot if they can overcome a play-off tie with Jordan, which they are expected to win. If this does not happen, the Netherlands will take their place.
Who to avoid for England
Current holders Spain are the obvious team that England will not want to be up against. Germany, who knocked them out of the last World Cup will also be one to avoid, and also Brazil, who looked impressive at the Confederations Cup in the summer.
Who England have the best chance against
On paper, it looks like Switzerland will be team that all the unseeded countries will want in their group. Roy Hodgson used to manage the national team so will have a faint idea on their style of play. Meanwhile, Colombia might look tough, but take away Radamel Falcao and I doubt they would be in the group of seeded teams.
As well as a seed and an unseeded European qualifier, each of the World Cup groups is likely to be completed by a team from a combined Asia, Oceania and North and Central America pot and one of the unseeded African and South American qualifiers or the lowest-ranked European qualifier.
We might just have to face it though, the Three Lions might have to face one of the world’s football superpowers early on in next year’s tournament.