The seeds for the 2014 World Cup will be determined by the FIFA rankings just like they were four years ago, the world's governing body announced on Friday. Brazil is guaranteed a seed as the host and the rest of Pot 1 will be made up of the top seven teams in the world rankings.
Because some teams will be playing play-offs in November and have an opportunity to boost their rankings while teams that have already qualified won't (qualifiers, play-offs included, are worth more than friendlies), FIFA will use the October rankings to seed teams. The October rankings will be released on October 17, setting the seeds seven weeks before the December 6 draw for the qualified teams.
Only the top seven teams plus Brazil are seeded for the World Cup draw. After those eight teams, which are placed in Pot 1, the 24 remaining teams are placed in pots based on geography so being the highest ranked team not be seeded is treated the same as the worst ranked team in the tournament.
Spain, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Colombia, Belgium and Uruguay are the top seven teams in the September FIFA rankings, putting them in the drivers' seats for seeds in Brazil. The tournament hosts are ranked eighth, not that it matters because they are guaranteed a seed, and the Netherlands is nine with Croatia right behind them.
Argentina, Italy and the Netherlands have all clinched spots in the World Cup, while Spain, Germany, Colombia and Belgium are all in good position to do so in the final two days of qualifying. Uruguay are not nearly as comfortable, sitting fifth in CONMEBOL at the moment, which would only get them into a play-off with Jordan for a place in Brazil, while Croatia also look play-off-bound, albeit against another European team.
The United States is ranked 13th after a six-spot jump from August to September, but it appears unlikely that they will be able to leapfrog five more teams to earn their first ever World Cup seed. At least the Americans have qualified for Brazil, something England and South Africa have yet to do after being seeded four years ago.