Terry Duffelen
Wed 2 December 2009

World Cup seeding punishes France

After weeks of speculation, the World Cup seeds have been determined and FIFA have used the shortest route with France as the biggest losers. Readers of SPAOTP will know that in the past FIFA have used a baffling array of criteria to decide which team gets those coveted places as the top dog in each group. However, on this occasion, the powers that be have chosen to use the most straightforward methodology possible and handed the seeding to the top seven teams in the official FIFA Rankings plus the hosts South Africa. The seeds for the World Cup 2010 are as follows

South Africa

Brazil
Spain
Netherlands
Italy
Germany
Argentina
England

The main bone of contention is surely the absence of France who many (including us) believed would be seeded ahead of the Dutch. Our reasoning for this is based on the French performance in prior World Cups plus their overall rankings, and perhaps a little bit of fairy dust.

However, Raymond Domenech's men must now take the bus to the second round with the rest of the slobs. We here at SPAOTP are pretty convinced that by not seeding them, FIFA are punishing France for Thierry Henry's handball during the World Cup Qualifying Play-Off against Ireland. Why? Well because if you look at the ranking for November you'll find that France are in the top seven teams. FIFA however have chosen to use October's rankings instead.

Of course, had they gone with November's ranking they would have had to have seeded Portugal in addition to France. Even Sepp Blatter might have baulked at the idea of seeding two teams that failed to win their qualification groups. However, we suspect that that is not the point and FIFA have censured the French for cheating and hopefully mollified the Irish in order to avoid another war in Europe. We do not expect France to kick up too much fuss.

The glorious irony is that FIFA, by choosing the most straightforward path, still managed to inject an armful of intrigue and machination. Symptomatic of any arbitrary system.

And remember, this is just for the seeds. Imagine the hilarity to come on Friday when the Draw is made. Gotta love the World Cup.

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