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December 2, 2009
USA “potted” with weakest teams in World Cup Draw

by Michael Lewis Editor

USA coach Bob Bradley said he was not surprised by where his team was grouped in advance of Friday’s World Cup draw.
USA coach Bob Bradley said he was not surprised by where his team was grouped in advance of Friday’s World Cup draw.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- That the U.S. wound up in the weakest pot for Friday's World Cup draw did not rankle U.S. coach Bob Bradley one bit.

The U.S. wound up with two other CONCACAF countries in Pot 1 - Mexico and Honduras -- four Asian confederation sides -- Australia, Japan, South Korea and North Korea -- and New Zealand when FIFA announced the final draw seedings at the Cape Town Convention Centre Wednesday.

“In regards to our group, I think it was expected the three CONCACAF teams would be grouped with the four teams from Asia and New Zealand, so that certainly was not a surprise,” Bradley said.

“It will still come down to the luck of the draw."

But there was one big surprise. In a major break from tradition, FIFA surprisingly threw out the old criteria and announced that the eight seeded teams would be determined by the organization's October rankings.

Results of the three previous World Cups, which were weighted, were used to determine the top seeds. For the 2006 competition in Germany, that method, plus the most recent rankings determined the top eight teams.

Using that criteria, host South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina and England were declared the eight seeds in Pot 2 by the FIFA Executive Committee, secretary general Jerome Valcke said at a press conference.

The Netherlands replaced France. and England, which many didn't think would be seeded, managed to squeak in at the expense of Portugal.

“The one big question in terms of seeds was whether a seed would go to the Netherlands or to France, and I think the choice of the Netherlands being a top seed certainly caught some people a little bit surprised," Bradley said.

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