Based on the FIFA rankings released today, the eight seeded teams for the World Cup draw are:
Uruguay (assuming victory over Jordan in next month’s two-leg playoff)
If Uruguay falters, Netherlands is in.
Safe to say, when the draw commences Dec. 6 in Brazil, non-seeded teams will hope to land in the Swiss group. Respect to Switzerland, but clearly the least menacing top seed. Meantime, 2010 runner-up Netherlands is probably headed to Pot 2 with Italy and England.
In order to avoid inter-confederation group pairings in Brazil (Europe excluded), FIFA is expected to arrange the remaining three eight-team pots geographically. So eight European qualifiers would form a cluster. The United States, Costa Rica, Honduras and presumably Mexico would probably join the four Asian sides (South Korea, Japan, Australia and Iran). If that occurs, to the chagrin of political scientists, the Americans and Iranians could not face one another in the group stage. The five African teams plus Chile, Ecuador and a low-ranked European side would comprise the final pot.
The highest-ranked teams out of World Cup contention: Denmark (26), Czech Republic (27), Serbia (28).
The FIFA rankings also determined the four seeds ahead of the European World Cup playoff draw Monday in Zurich:
Seeds: Portugal (14), Greece (15), Croatia (18), Ukraine (20)
Unseeded: France (21), Sweden (25), Romania (29), Iceland (46)