Monday, October 14, 2013
What the US needs for a World Cup Seed
1.) A win in Panama
2.) The Netherlands to lose away to Turkey.
3.) A Swiss home loss against Slovenia.
4.) Chile drawing or losing to Ecuador in Santiago.
5.) England drawing or losing to Poland at Wembley.
6.) One of Spain and Uruguay to end up in and fall in a playoff.
UPDATED: Belgium is safe so the odds are slimmer than I thought I had found.
It's actually a little more likely than the current rankings might indicate, though still a rather long series of shots. Some UEFA teams will drop serious points as Euro 2012 results drop in value.
FIFA announced that the October 2013 world rankings will determine which countries get seeded at Brazil 2014. So the United States just needs to crack the top seven in qualified nations. Brazil is automatically seeded as the host.
Here's what those rankings look like now, excluding Brazil:
Team Pts Status
Spain 1514 P
Argentina 1263 Q
Germany 1261 Q
Italy 1199 Q
Colombia 1180 Q
Belgium 1159 Q
Uruguay 1126 P
Netherlands 1058 Q
Croatia 1051 P
Portugal 1029 P
Greece 1016 P
USA 996 Q
P=Clinched playoff spot
Now if Spain, Uruguay, Croatia, Portugal and Greece all end up in and blow their playoffs and the U.S. beats Panama, then that last seed is guaranteed. But that's ridiculous.
Let's just assume Spain makes it. There's no way the best team in the world falls to Georgia by enough for France to take Group I and loses a two-legged playoff. Realistically, not happening.
Uruguay getting knocked out by Jordan is almost as unlikely. El Celeste could still qualify automatically, but that's besides the point. Without one of the last World Cup's semifinalists falling, the U.S is out of the seeding race.
Wins for Croatia, Portugal and Greece still leave each behind a victorious U.S. side, one that would still be at least two teams short of a seed unless the six scenarios above play out.
In that universe, though, according to FIFA.com's ranking prognosis tool, the worldly table, less Brazil, looks like below:
Note: Every team in the above top seven is out of reach points-wise. They could all lose Tuesday and stay well ahead of the U.S.
# Team Pts
1. Spain N/A
2. Argentina N/A
3. Germany N/A
4. Italy N/A
5. Colombia N/A
6. Uruguay N/A
7. Belgium 1138
8. USA 1040
9. Portugal 1036
10. Croatia 1004
I'm not about to call it simple, but it sure beats cheering for Georgia and Jordan.
- Jacob Klinger