Thursday, September 12, 2013

An early handicapping of the US' World Cup seeding chances

If FIFA uses it's Germany 2006 formula, the United States' chances of being seeded are slim.

The formula accounts for each country's finish in the past two World Cups with the most recent (in this case, South Africa 2010) counting twice as much as the one before (Germany 2006).

That weighted average is then added to the average point value for each team's year-end world rankings from the past three years to produce a seeding coefficient.

For the 2006 World Cup, the November world rankings were used along with the 2003 and 2004 December rankings. 

Below is the table for that system with the most recent world rankings.

Team               Seeding coefficient
1. Spain           61.3
2. Germany      60.3
3. Argentina    56.0
4. Netherlands 54.7
5. BRAZIL          51.6
T-6. Portugal     49
T-6. England      49
8. Uruguay         43.4
9. Italy               43.0
10. Ghana          35.0
11. Japan          33.7
12. Switzerland   32.9
13. Mexico         32.7
14. Chile            32.3
15. USA            31.7

Other Notables
France      29.7
Greece     26.0
Croatia     24.7
Colombia  22.3
Ukraine     18.3
Belgium     17.7

CAPS = Host, automatically seeded
Bold = Already qualified

Now, FIFA can use this formula and take the November rankings if it likes them better than the December rankings. FIFA can make up an entirely new formula. Or FIFA can just use whichever edition of its own rankings suits the seeding best.

For the 2010 World Cup, FIFA just used the October rankings.

That would actually be best for the U.S., as the team can vault into the Top 10 and/or hope teams on top don't qualify.

September FIFA Rankings (Pts)
1. Spain (1,514)
2. Argentina (1,263)
3. Germany (1,261)
4. Italy (1,199)
5. Colombia (1,180)
6. Belgium (1,159)
7. Uruguay (1,126)
8. Brazil (1,067)
9. Netherlands (1,058)
10. Croatia (1,051)
11. Portugal (1,029)
12. Greece (1,016)
13. USA (996)
14. Switzerland (992)
15. Russia (968)
16. Chile (967)
17. England (947)
18. Bosnia-Herzegovina (934)
19. Ivory Coast (902)
20. Ecuador (851)

One each off Belgium and Croatia,Russia and Portugal, Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina and France and Spain will be in a playoff.

Uruguay, Ecuador or even Colombia could end up in a playoff with Jordan.

If the U.S. beats Jamaica and Panama next month, it will have 1,061 ranking points, good enough for ninth in the current "table." 

Keep in mind that most of these teams have two games left in qualifying, plus a potential playoff that would be a factor if FIFA goes with later rankings. Until FIFA publicly makes up its mind though, I guess there will be a lot of cynical watching of UEFA qualifiers stateside.

My head hurts.

- Jacob Klinger


Unknown said...

This is great. A friend asked me about this just this morning. In my opinion this shows there is little chance of the US being seeded and that gives Klinsmann room to experiment a bit more with the roster. Perhaps use the next 2 qualifiers to test other players (Lihaj, anyone) before using subsequent friendlies to work on tactics with as he narrows his list to 23. Thank you, Jacob.

FirstStar said...

A lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. FIFA never releases their "formula" until after announcing the seeds. They pick the seeds and then reverse engineer the formula. There's no way we are getting seeded, no matter who gets upset in October.

jon said...

It's true that there's no way we are getting seeded, but not because of some FIFA conspiracy. Or rather, maybe it is a conspiracy, but not one specifically directed at the US or one that I can fault right now. Does the US deserve to be seeded? Seriously? No. We just want it because it would make things easier.
As as aside (and I don't mean to be "false equivalency guy"), but just imagine if only confederation champions were automatic selections and FIFA picked the rest of the tournament teams like the NCAA selection committee.

Greg Seltzer said...

Ha! That would otherwise known as the world's end.

Greg Seltzer said...

I was in such a hurry to crack my funny-because-it's-true joke, I forgot a word.

Unknown said...

Until we can make deep runs in the tournament for several World Cup runs in a row, we will never get a seed, no matter what we do in the regular season. At the very least we need to become a regular at getting out of our group, and then win a couple games after that. Until then, fuggedabowdit.

Justin said...

Absent a surprise loss to Jordan, none of these teams in the current top 8 are in any danger of not making the World Cup.

Jacob Klinger said...

@FirstStar Yeah, I know.

dikranovich said...

lets make it easy: brasil, spain, argentina, Germany, Italy, Uruguay, Netherlands, and that is seven, so that leaves on slot left.

or, they might go straight fifa rankings plus brasil and that would leave USA about 70 points shy of top 8, having gained 30 points since the last rankings, to jump to 13.

heck, that road Scotland game might just be the deciding factor. I wonder how much more a win in costa rica would have helped our rankings? that would probably be worth something like 35 points in the fifa rankings

John said...

Unknown: Klinsmann isn't going to experiment next month in the last 2 WCQ's.