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'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


Unknown said...

You misread Belgium's score. If they lose to Wales, they will be at 1138 - not 1038. There is no way for the US to pass Belgium for a seed.

So for the US to be seeded either Spain or Uruguay has to fail to qualify.

Anonymous said...

Awesome breakdown! Thanks!

Jacob Klinger said...

@Unknown Damn, you're right. Apologies for getting anyone's hopes up.

Unknown said...

So you are saying we have a snowball's chance in hell to get seeded?

Unknown said...

Nope. Not even that now. The Netherlands and Switzerland are moments away from wins or at least draws, so the golden seeding goose is gone and cooked.

John said...

@Jacob Klinger: The golden seeding goose lives on for the next WC cycle.

Unknown said...

A quarterfinal showing in Brazil would go a long way.

That crazy old goose ...