Consternation was on the rise in some corners as we recently learned about the top seeds for next year’s World Cup in Brazil. Someone being upset at FIFA is every bit as surprising as finding a menu at a restaurant … but it still deserves to be talked about.
So Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay and Switzerland will find their way into these enviable positions. Hard to argue Brazil, Spain, Germany and Argentina, all with rich World Cup histories, and with current versions to be reckoned with. The others? Hmmmm…
The selections were based on FIFA rankings, which emphasize recent results. Fair enough … but then again, Colombia hasn’t even been to a World Cup since 1998, and doesn’t something like that deserve consideration?
Switzerland? Something of a head-scratcher there, too, especially with heavies like Italy (most recent World Cup championship game in 2006) and the Netherlands (runner-up at South Africa 2010) qualifying with such ease and flourish out of Europe.
Heck, Uruguay hasn’t even qualified for the World Cup. Its selection as a top seed is subject to winning an upcoming playoff with Jordan. It will probably happen, but geeeez.
We know today that U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann is among those unhappy about it all. He says so on his latest in-house Q&A with U.S. Socccer. Klinsmann doesn’t come out and say the United States deserves a top seeding, and he knows that someone will be unhappy, no matter what. Still, the U.S. coach says, “it kind of makes you think a little bit, if this is the right way to do it?”
Here’s what he said:
Looking at Pot no. 1 and the seeding of the World Cup, it kind of makes you think a little bit, if this is the right way to do it. You have to find a way hopefully to make everybody happy. It’s not going to happen, nobody will be happy with everything. But, when you have a Pot no. 1, you expect countries in there that really proved it in World Cups, in the history of the World Cup. Now you see teams that haven’t really done that much in previous World Cups and you wonder ‘Why is it that way now?’
“The consequence is that you will have a couple of groups getting drawn on Dec. 6 in Brazil that are Groups of Death that will be killer groups; there’s not even one easy team or whatever. Then you will find maybe two or three groups that are much easier, at least on paper easier. It’s unbalanced now with that seeding procedure and it will cause a lot of question marks, a lot of discussion and debate once the groups are finalized. It is what it is, but I’m not very happy with it.”
Oh, well. Klinsmann will most likely join the players, managers and fans around the world in hoping to be placed in a group along with … yep, Switzerland.