FIFA confirms World Cup draw seeds
FIFA has announced the seeds for the 2014 World Cup finals draw after the October World Rankings were released on Thursday.
As revealed by ESPN on Tuesday evening, hosts Brazil will be joined by Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay and Switzerland.
Uruguay's place in the top pot of seeds is subject to winning the intercontinental playoff against Jordan, and if they fail to qualify then Netherlands will move into the top pot.
Only the top pot is seeded for the Dec. 6 draw in Bahia, with the remaining pools based purely on a geographical basis to ensure a spread of nations in each group. There can be no more than one team from each confederation in each group, with the exception of Europe which will have two nations in four or five groups.
If Uruguay win their playoff, then the geographical draw pots will likely be similar to that of 2006. One pot may contain eight European nations, another should have the four Asian countries and four from CONCACAF (or New Zealand), with a final pot of Chile, Ecuador and the five African qualifiers.
That would leave a separate pot for the lowest-ranked UEFA side, who would be drawn against a non-European team from the seeded pot - Brazil, Argentina, Colombia or possibly Uruguay, to ensure no more than two European teams are in one group. In 2006 this fate befell Serbia & Montenegro, who were dumped in the Group of Death and lost all three games to Argentina (6-0), Ivory Coast and Netherlands - three nations who can be drawn together again in 2014.
The lowest-ranked UEFA team in 2014 will be an unseeded playoff nation, or Ukraine if all seeded countries win their ties. FIFA also confirmed the seeded teams for Monday's European playoff draw as Portugal, Greece, Croatia and Ukraine. The unseeded teams will be France, Sweden, Romania and Iceland.
Should Jordan beat Uruguay there is no obvious geographical split of teams so FIFA will have to devise a different pool system.
Spain continue to lead the rankings, well ahead of nearest challengers Germany.
Switzerland, the surprise seeds, move up to seven to seventh in the world while England are also new entries in the top ten, also moving up seven places to tenth -- one place ahead of Brazil who drop three. Croatia are the other nation to drop out of the top ten, down eight to 18th.
Scotland, on the back of wins over Macedonia and Croatia, pick up the top score of the month (164 points) and climb 28 places to 35th, while the biggest climbers are Moldova who jump 33 spots to 96th.