Soccer: 2010 World Cup draw on Friday Dec 4
By Jonathan Swindlehurst
The world’s gaze will be firmly focused on the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday, December 4 as the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals draw will take place at 17:00 GMT
All 32 qualified nations (or Participating Member Associations to give them their full FIFA title) will learn their group stage fate and possibilities for knockout rounds for this summer’s tournament. FIFA have announced that 27 of the 32 Coaches have confirmed their attendance including Dunga, Fabio Capello and Marcello Lippi, with the remaining four welcome Coaches expected to do so prior to Friday. Diego Maradona is serving a FIFA ban for his tirade following Argentina’s last-gasp qualification so it is likely that AFA President Julio Grondona will be present in his place. The only current player hoping to make the tournament to be present is David Beckham with a 2018 bid salvage mission on the cards for the former Real Madrid man.
FIFA has yet to announce the exact format for the draw, but it is expected to follow the same pattern as the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The format will be to pick teams from four separate pots with one team from each pot present in each of the 8 groups (A-H). The criteria to establish which teams are present in each pot is a combination of seeding based on prior World Cup performances, recent performances in the qualifying campaign, official FIFA ranking and geographical aspects.
Pot One is the only pot which is seeded according to the aforementioned criteria with the remaining three pots simply made up due to geographical location. Teams from the same continental Confederation are placed in the same pot so to avoid them being drawn against each other in the same group. This will ensure that no more than two European teams (UEFA) are in any of the eight groups and no more than one from South America (CONMEBOL), North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF), Africa (CAF), Asia (AFC) and Oceania (OFC) are in any of the eight groups. According to this structure we should see the following teams in the following pots:
Pot One (seeded elite across all Confederations)
Pot Two (UEFA Nations)
Pot Three (CAF Nations, CONMEBOL Nations)
Pot Four (AFC Nations, OFC Nations, CONCACAF Nations)
In order to avoid African or South American teams playing against each other in the First Round, South Africa will draw from South America and the two South American seeded teams – Brazil and Argentina – will draw from Africa before the African and South American teams are placed into Pot Three.
South Africa as the host nation are seeded in Pot One and are already announced as Team A1 meaning that they are already drawn and so will not be making an exit from any velvet bag on Friday. This is to enable them to take part in the opening match of the tournament to take place at the newly developed Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. This is slightly different from tournaments gone by and it is only since 2006 that the host nation has taken part in the opening match rather than the holders.
At previous tournaments we have seen so-called ‘groups of death’ where four strong nations have been drawn against each other in the same group. An example of this was in 2002 when England was drawn against Argentina, Sweden and Nigeria. Looking at the probable pots above, it is clearly conceivable that there may be a similar group of death drawn this time around with the likes of Portugal and Holland included in Pot Two, the likes of Ivory Coast and Paraguay in Pot Three and South Korea and USA in Pot Four. Come Friday there may well be some nervous head coaches immediately following the draw.
Swindlehurst is an analyst for a different league
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