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USMNT remain at No. 13 in FIFA Rankings, will not receive World Cup seed


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As many predicted beforehand and despite two wins this month, the U.S. Men’s National Team will not be seeded for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

In the latest FIFA Rankings for October, the USMNT remained at No. 13, keeping them out of the top seven spots plus Brazil who earn a seed for next summer’s tournament. Earning a seed are Spain at No. 1, followed by Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay, and Switzerland. If Uruguay fail to qualify for the World Cup via the playoffs next month, the Netherlands would then be a seeded team.

Other notables include England moved up seven places to No. 10, Brazil dropped three spots to No. 11, and France jumped three places to No. 21. In CONCACAF, Mexico dropped three places to No. 24, Costa Rica improved two spots to No. 31, and Honduras jumped six spots to No. 34.

With their 2-0 win over Jamaica last Friday and 3-2 victory at Panama last Tuesday, the USMNT improved to 16-2-3 (wins, losses, ties) in 2013 in all competitions.


What do you think of this news? Do you agree with the USA’s ranking? Disappointed in not receiving a World Cup seed?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Omar Gonzalez and Matt Biesler are USA centerbacks. Boy I can’t wait for Brazil 2014 for these fans to get a serious wakeup call. The arrogance from USA fans kills me. I guess it’s the ignorance that’s at fault.

  2. FIFA rankings take into account the last four years – considering 25% of points earned 3 years ago, 50% of points from 2 years ago, 75% of points from last year, and 100% of points from this year. They then total those to get the FIFA rankings. However, just looking at points earned this year, the US is third in the world behind Spain and Belgium. Kudos to the United States on big wins in the Gold Cup, WQ qualifying, and friendlies against tough competition.
    Too bad 2013 won’t help us when we’re fighting for a seed in 2018. Yup. I did it. I already made a reference to the 2018 World Cup. You’re welcome.

  3. I’ve got to root for Jordan. FIFA is really thumbing their noses at Jordan, and I hope they trash the rankings. Anyway, the Argentinians, with nothing at stake in the game, let Uruguay win. Another reason to root for Jordan. Go Jordan!

    But with FIFA, Jordan will probably have two excellent goals disallowed and Uruguay will be allowed a turbo-charged and saber-toothed roomba to clean their penalty box during the game. And then Uruguay will win on a penalty near the end.

    I’m rooting for New Zealand, too, but I’m more optimistic. Mexico won’t have penalty kicks, but they’ll be allowed to cook the pre-game meals for the other team.

  4. Everyone is hating on Switzerland pretty hard here, but they did beat Spain in the last World Cup, obviously only team to do that. In addition they just recently beat Brazil 1-0 in a friendly. Not a cupcake here is my point…

    • Yeah, but there’s a big gap between “not a cupcake” and “legitimate World Cup seed”. Let’s be honest – teams landing in Switzerland’s group will be counting themselves lucky.

  5. The US was ranked 4th in the World before the 2006 World Cup. Fifa then changed the rules in regard to seedings, so that the US would not be seeded, so it doesn’t matter what we do, we will not get seeded unless we get to the semifinals or win the tournament. Although we did make it to the quarterfinals in 2002, that still didn’t make a difference in us getting seeded. Compare our record to the Belgians or the Swiss and we have a better record, so it seems to be just bias on the part of FIFA. They don’t want the US to be seeded because it would anger too many people because soccer isn’t yet a top sport in the US.

    • Well, the ranking itself isn’t biased per se. But teams in Europe and South America get a big built in boost since they’re generally playing tougher competition. It’s extremely difficult for a team from any other federation to get seeded. You’d have to be nearly perfect, including in friendlies against top teams and in the Confed Cup.

  6. The European non-seeded pot has the potential to be nightmarish, even for the seeded teams:


    And one lucky team will get two of these + a South American side, probably us.

  7. Personally, I hope we’re in the same group as Brasil. Why? Cause you know the rest of that group will be fairly week and we should get the 2nd spot after Brasil. I’d only hope we don’t play them in the opening match.

    • You want to play Brazil in Brazil?

      Of teams likely to be seeded, think I’d prefer Colombia. Not that they are bad, but it will take a while to convince me they are as dominating as the Germans, Spanish, Brazilians, etc.

      • (I say Colombia because I flat-out don’t believe the Swiss have much chance of being seeded. Colombia has a chance, however I also have a hard time thinking it will be four from South America, so Colombia in would probably have to mean Uruguay not seeded – assuming they qualify.)

      • Switzerland are seeded. This is now certain with the release of the rankings today. The only question left is the last seed, which will be Uruguay if they defeat Jordan in the playoff, or the Netherlands if Uruguay does not qualify.

      • If you don’t think the Swiss will be seeded, you haven’t been paying attention. They are set in stone as a seed.

      • Hell yeah. You know that’s a guaranteed not Group of Death and US is good enough to beat potential other teams in that group.

      • Colombian fans are going to travel well. i don’t want to play them. as strong of a team as the Swiss are, i think they’re the seeded team i would want in our group.

  8. The U.S. never had a shot at getting seeded this time around. Just the way it is. I’m sure it will happen someday, but not now.

    The World Cup is not bound to use FIFA rankings when assigning seeds. At least it never was before, and if that has changed I must have missed the story.

    The way pots are worked ensures some geographic spread in the groups. If they tried to do something like a March Madness region, you easily could end up with situations in which teams who competed together in qualifiers again face one another in World Cup finals group play.

  9. “the USMNT improved to 16-2-3 (wins, losses, ties) in 2013 in all competitions.”
    Correct me, if I’m wrong, but we lost to Honduras, Belgium and Costa Rica.

  10. There is no such thing as a region is stronger than another region that’s not logical. The simple fact is that if you win, like USMNT winner of CONCACAF, we should automatic be seeded. CONCACAF should file a protest, does anyone now if any nation from CONCACAF has been seated…the real question and why not?

  11. The USMNT hasn’t really played against serious competition other thasn Germany and Belgium. Germany doesn’t count. They sent their B team, and they didn’t take the whole thing seriously when they palyed against the US. Germany never takes friendlies seriously. The fact that we lost against a small country like Belgium should be a wake-up call. Belgium is very strong and can probably beat any of the seeded teams. It’ll be interesting if Iceland (assuming they make it that far)winds up in the US group.

  12. Wish they would do the pots as:
    1) Top 8 qualified in the rankings
    2) Next 8 qualified in the rankings
    3) Next 8 qualified in the rankings
    4) Bottom 8 qualified in the rankings

    If FIFA really gave a crap about fair distribution AND they put such value in their rankings (which they’ve illustrated they do by using them for the seeds), this would make the most sense. Sure, you can still have your geographic rules until you get to the last group or two… if that means three Euro teams in a pool, fine. Deal with it.

    I’m sure there’s some hole to punch in this, but it would make it more competitively balanced IM-Occasionally-HO

    • Thanks for posting this – something I’ve been thinking for a long time. Here’s my two cents:

      If Uruguay wins its playoff, which is pretty likely, then there will be nine European teams unseeded. FIFA would not be able to make a Pot 2 with all UEFA teams and would have to make a Pot 3 with at least one UEFA team in it. This one (or more) UEFA team will have to be taken out of the draw for groups that already have two UEFA teams drawn into it. Plus, they will have to take the Pot 3 (or Pot 2) CONMEBOL teams out of the draw for groups that already have a South American team in it.

      One argument for lumping the US into a group with lower ranked teams from CONCACAF and Asia has been “Well, it makes the draw much easier that way, we don’t have to constantly take teams out of the draw to avoid two CONCACAF teams in the same group.”

      This is now officially a BS argument. They will have to arrange the draw anyway to avoid conflicts with UEFA and CONMEBOL teams. There is no reason why US can’t be placed into a pot with similarly ranked teams, and take CONCACAF teams out of the draw of subsequent pots for US’s group. The argument that it is necessary to lump CONCACAF and Asia or Africa together in order to achieve global diversity in groups is also BS; as long as the restriction against two teams in the same group (except for UEFA) is enforced, global diversity will be achieved.

      In 2010 South Africa was in Pot 1, Group A, other African teams were taken out of the draw when Group A was drawn. It’s just not that hard to do.

      When one asks who is benefitted by the current system the answer is obvious: the lower seeded UEFA teams. Greece and Slovakia were beneficiaries in 2010.

  13. Hasn’t the USMNT lost 3 games in 2013? Belgium, @Honduras, & @Costa Rica.

    Speaking of Belgium, it’s crazy that a team can be seeded when they haven’t even made the last 2 World Cups.

    • What’s even crazier is that a team (Uruguay) can be seeded even though it needs to win a playoff to qualify. Fans of Holland and Italy can be justifiably outraged.

  14. I’m sure we could match up against anyone except Brazil on our best day. On our best day we could beat Brazil but they are at home so it will be almost impossible. For all the other seeded teams, we just have to focus on finishing and being ruthless on our limited opportunities, like the last 3 mins against Panama.

    Too often, we give possession away easily and have defensive lapses in the middle of the defense by guys ball watching instead of tracking every opponent coming into the box. It takes tactical experience to anticipate when guys will be moving into that space and you don’t need a coach to tell you that unless you are playing at a high level everyday, i.e., not MLS.

  15. Picking poison… I’d take Switzerland, Colombia (though I’d be scared), or Uruguay (crafty and clutch, but can sometimes be crap and Forlan will be another year older by then) as my top three seeded teams i would like to see us end up with.

    • I would also pick Belgium as they have a lot of talent, but no WC experience and they will be far from home. European teams usually don’t do that well in South America and teams without WC experience usually under perform. I would want to avoid Columbia; their forwards could absolutely shred our back line I’m afraid.

      • um depending where in brazil they have to play. remember its going to be winter down there. colder weather suits europeans

  16. If we look at the how they did the pots last time, and pick out a middle-of-the-road team in each, we’d see something like:

    Columbia or Belgium, Greece, Nigeria, and USA.

    • 5 hours might end up being an understatement…

      Ooh, Group A just got Brazil, Japan, Ghana, and Netherlands. That might be the worst Group of Death I’ve seen in the last 5 tries, haha.

    • Anyone know what you call the opposite of the Group of Death? Group Cupcake? I dunno.

      All I know is running this simulator we never seem to get it but Italy sure does! A lot! -Switzerland, Honduras, Nigeria, Italy-

      I also think I saw them get Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Algeria a minute ago.

    • I think the worst would be Brazil, either Holland or Italy, and Ghana. Good would be Switzerland, Australia, and a lesser African team.

      • If the simulator is correct we can’t be in the same group with Australia unfortunately. I think every non-seeded team on earth is praying they get Switzerland’s group. Every non-seeded UEFA team is probably hoping to get the Swiss, a CONCACAF, and a CAF team not named Ghana/Ivory Coast.

        I’m actually getting a lot of relatively balanced groups with the simulator. To me the toughest possible group for anyone would be some combo of Brazil/Spain/Germany, Japan, Ghana/Ivory Coast, and Italy/Netherlands. I think I’ve only seen that once so far though.

    • The more I simulate the more I realize how the US gets jobbed with this system. Pot 4 teams all get the luxury of not having to play any of the other quality teams in their pot, while also having a 6/8 chance (not counting Japan and US) of facing at least one fairly weak side out of Pot 2. Meanwhile, the US in Pot 2 just has to hope and dream for an Algeria or Ukraine. No matter what group we are placed in, it will most likely be a group of death. While its exciting to see new matchups, would much prefer to see a rankings based draw than a geographic draw as a US fan.

    • I did it three times. The US got:

      Brazil, Algeria, Netherlands
      Brazil, Ghana, Italy
      Argentina, Ivory Coast, Italy

      I think I’ll stop now.

    • 1. Switzerland/USA/Chile/France

      2. Brazil/USA/Cameroon/Portugal

      3. Uruguay/USA/Nigeria/Bosnia & Herz.

      I’d be happy with any of these three. The fact is WE make a group the group of death, because there is a guarantee of at least 2 very good nations.

  17. I am optimistic…

    We need to stay away from the top seed high-power offenses like Argentina, Brazil, and Germany. I like our matchups against Spain, Swiss, Columbia, Belgium, & Uruguay, where we can remain competitive.

    Our weak spot right now is defense. If we can sure up our back line, we can go very far in this tournament. We have a 3-pronged attack with Jozy/Dempsey/Donovan. Bradley and Jermaine are the best we have ever had in the middle (although an argument can be made for Reyna/O’Brien). Timmy will stand on his head for us once again.

    The biggest question is our back line, in particularly the fullbacks.

    Unfortunately, the World Cup for nations outside the top contenders is solely based on the draw. A favorable draw gives hope, a hard draw foretells elimination.

    • I am crossing my fingers and hoping for
      a) a weak WC group,
      b) a forward/midfield that does NOT include Jozy & Dempsey (two stockers which contribute about 50% each to the team thus being minus 1 player),
      c) a faster & better back US defensive line to face “WC” opponents, and
      d) for Klinsi to use his extensive WC experience to train & pick the right US players to get us out of the group phase & possibly to the quarter round (the semi would be a miracle).

  18. Interesting to see 5 CONCACAF Teams ranked higher than the top ACF team, and of the qualified teams (likely incl Mexico) CONCACAF teams with higher average ranking than African teams.
    Avg ranking of qualified/poss qualified teams (not overall avg of total confederations):

  19. It’s the World Cup, there’s really no such thing as an easy group. I think we’ll end up seeing Argentina, USA, Iran, and Nigeria (especially if Bob Bradley goes there).

    • Hate to break it to ya but we won’t be winning the WC next year. No way, no how.

      So yeah, I’d like to see a favorable draw that might improve our chances of making it to the quarterfinals, or even the semis. We’d have to be playing great, obviously, but some luck in the draw would be helpful, too.

  20. Those are some seeded teams you are not afraid that you have little chance against, huh ?

    You can always fear the group of death, but there is a 12.5% chance that you face the Swiss, FIFA joke rankings could help us !

  21. Everyone should prepare themselves for having US drawn in with at least two teams that will be meaningful to modest favorites over USMNT. The probability is about 65% that happens and here are the prime candidates:

    From the seeds: Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Colombia, Uruguay (7 of 8)- on neutral ground I’d like out chances versus COL/URU better than in their backyard…

    From UEFA non-seed: Italy, France, Netherlands, Portugal, England (5 of 8)

    From Africa/CONMEBOL: Ghana and either Cote D’Ivore or Chile/Ecuador (2 of 8)

    then you’d have to throw in all the toss-up games with Chile, Ecuador, Russia, Croatia- this will not be an easy road to the second round unless the 10% chance of Switzerland+ a weak UEFA+ middling african team comes to bear

    • the very best case scenario for the U.S. and one that is very unlikely is that Jordan somehow beats Uruguay and leaves FIFA in a pickle.: 5 CAF, 5 Asian, 4 Concacaf and 1 extra UEFA team. If that happens there are no easy slots and by some miracle maybe USMNT as the highest rated CONCACAF/Asian teams gets potted in with the mixed stew of CONMEBOL, CAF and stub UEFA team

      • If Jordan won, there wouldn’t be a stub Euro team.

        The 16 teams would be 5 African, 5 Asian, 4 North/Central American, and 2 South American

        But you are right that they would have a ton of fun trying to figure that mess out.

        If Jordan and NZ win, I think we still see Asia/N. America, then Africa/S. America/New Zealand

      • but if Uruguay and NZ win, then we’d have 5 CAF, 4 AFC, 3 CONCACAF, 2 CONMEBOL, 1 OFC, and 1 UEFA stub, right? In that case, I think there’s a decent chance they make one pot CAF/CONCACAF one pot AFC/CONMEBOL/OFC/UEFA. It would be nice to not have an African team in our group.

  22. Its the WC. You play who you must. On paper, today, things look bleak. But then again they also did two years ago when many had us fighting for the 4 spot. Before any paper-stats-I-watch-this-league specialists flip their lid – I get it that was CONCAF and this is totally different. But to simply write us off already? I dunno, I think our squad is much better than we think and I am sure there are some big boys out there who are not looking forward to having us in their group either.

    You gotta play the best to beat the best. I think between now and the WC, JK will have us playing teams that will help put us in the best position to take on our opposition – whoever they end up being.

      • Actually, you were right … IF Netherlands isn’t seeded. In that case, there would be 9 unseeded UEFA teams, so 1 group would have to have 2 unseeded UEFA teams … thus, it would be possible for Group A to be Brazil, Netherlands, France, and USA.

        That said, the USA’s group could also be: Switzerland, Iceland, Burkina Faso, and USA.

      • If Mexico loses to NZ and we get lumped with CAF instead of AFC, we could get Switzerland, Iceland, Australia. Best possible draw?

    • That would be terrifying. I seriously doubt we’ll see the host country with two stacked sides like France and Netherlands. Brazil would be so pissed. 🙂

  23. We had our chance in 2010 to take advantage of a relatively ‘easy’ group, as I think one English paper put it after the draw.

    Then the group stage broke our way, and Ghana broke our hearts. The point is, we’ll really have to earn our way into each round from here on in. My guess for our group?


    See ya in 2018

  24. I actually love the seedings. Having Colombia, Switzerland, and Belgium as top seeds shakes up the norm. It’ll be fun to see if two Groups of Death are drawn now that France, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands (potentially), Croatia, etc… could be drawn with any of the other big boys.

  25. If the USA is ranked 13, does that put them in pot 2, meaning they could not be drawn into the same group as other pot two countries like Italy and England?

      • Any idea on how the pots will be determined? Personally, I would love to end up in the same pot as Africa so that we aren’t stuck with Ghana in the group!

      • All things considered, Ghana wouldn’t be bad to have in our group. We would much prefer to stay out of the Africa pot.

      • I would prefer neither of them! But, having said that, I would really prefer one of the Asian teams over an African team due to matchup issues.

      • I believe they usually just arrange it so each confederation fits into neat 8 team groups. So, if the favorites, Uruguay and Mexico, win, It would break down like this:

        Conmebol – 4 seeds, 2 non-seeds
        Concacaf – 0 seeds, 4 non-seeds
        UEFA – 4 seeds, 9 non-seeds
        CAF – 0 seeds, 5 non-seeds
        AFC – 0 seeds, 4 non-seeds

        Because both Concacaf and AFC have 4 non-seeds, i’d almost guarantee we’re put in the same pot because it easily equals out to 8. The other two would be:
        5 CAF, 2 Conmebol, 1 UEFA
        8 UEFA

        This is almost exactly how the last 2 draws played out, so I imagine we’ll see more of the same. Unfortunately, that means drawing an African team is a very real possibility…

      • If it plays out like that I bet you’ll see a special pot with the last UEFA team, like in the draw for 2006, that gets drawn into the groups headed by non-UEFA top seeds first.

      • If Uruguay and NZ win, I could see them stacking the 3 CONCACAF teams in a pot with with CAF, and mushing NZ in with the 4 AFC, 2 CONMEBOL, and the odd UEFA seed. I think this would play out better for us because I’d rather not be grouped with the CAF teams. I’d take Iran or NZ over Ghana or Nigeria any day. So…one more reason to root against Mexico I guess. 🙂

      • Usually it is…
        Pot 1: Seeded teams
        Pot 2: All other Euro teams
        Pot 3: USA/Asian teams
        Pot 4: Unseeded Conmebol/Africa

        Then I believe they hold back the worst team who qualifies to throw in and ensure that no more than two Euro teams are in the same pot. That’s the general idea at least based on my memory.

      • You are pretty much right, except the order with which they draw the teams. The second Euro group is usually last. In 2010, the NA/Asian pot was Pot 2, Africa/SA Pot 3, and Europe Pot 4.

  26. Yeah lost in all this is that second pot of European teams will include Netherlands, Portugal (probably), England, France (probably) and Italy. I didn’t like the seeds at first, but since there will be so many powerhouses in that second pot, teams like Belgium, Colombia and Switzerland are more than likely going to have to play one of those teams and prove themselves. The only seed I don’t agree with is Switzerland. Belgium and Colombia have earned it over the past year I think. But there’s no doubt there will be numerous group of deaths regardless.

    • It’s about time to remember that as we look for ways for us to not get that group of death,most other countries are wanting us drawn in their group.

      • I dunno… of the teams in the 3rd and 4th pots, we will be one of the harder ones. I bet most people would rather have Honduras or like Burkina faso.

      • True, but I guess I meant to say that Concacaf is the softy, and they would rather see one of us that perhaps a Ghana, or South Korea, depending on how the pots line up.

      • dont know that this is true. Other countries know they are going to get one of the concacaf or asian countries, they probably most want to avoid US, Japan, Korea, Mexico.

      • I actually really believe most seeded teams don’t want us in their group. Not because they think we’re by any means better, but we’re a total wild card. We could be a total push over, but we also have the potential to beat any team.

      • Nope. You have no idea what you are talking about. The US is the best team in their pot with only Japan being close. No team wants to draw the best team in any pot.

        We will not be in a pot with Ghana. So yeah, most teams would rather play us than Ghana. Or Spain. None of that is relevant, nobody wants the US in their group.

    • Here’s one possible group of death: Brazil, France, Ghana and the United States. On the other hand, it could also be something like Switzerland, Iceland, Brukina Faso and the United States.

      • Chuck, that’s just nitpicking. Holland would definitely be a great choice for the group of death. However, you are underestimating France – they are much better than the disfunctional squad they had 4 years ago. In their qualifying group, they finished second just 3 points behind Spain (i.e., one head-to-head win difference). And France did better than Holland did in Euro 2012.

    • Of course! Whatever happens, please no Ghana! I have a feeling we are due to have one of the powerhouse South American teams – like Brazil.

  27. Italy is not seeded according to this (they are behind the Netherlands). That means we could potentially be in a group with Spain and Italy. Ouch.

      • bring it. i have no illlusions about how hard that would be, but on our best day I like our squads chances to finish second in a group against any of those teams on any given day. Italy always starts slow, so that could be a draw or upset, Brazil will have a LOT of pressure on them, so we might be able to nick a draw from that if they get the lump over that. Ghana would then be yet another game for the ages. Plus, if we make it out alive, the rest of the tourney will be a breeze…

  28. I think the biggest story is Switzerland jumping seven spots in the rankings to #7 due to beating European powerhouses Albania and Slovenia. Switzerland as a seeded team for the 2014 World Cup? Please God let us be drawn into their group.


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