FIFA's World Cup 2002 Organising Committee adopted a
complex formula to rank the 32 qualifying teams for purpose of seeding for the
the Committee used the ranking only to
choose the five top-seeded teams that joined reigning champion
France and host nations South Korea and Japan atop the eight first round
groups. It did not use the ranking to assign the remaining teams to the
pots used in the final draw, but, instead made those assignments on the basis
of confederation affiliation.
The teams were ranked on both their previous World Cup performances and
their standing in FIFA's world rankings of national teams, and equal weight
was given to these two measures in calculating the ranking.
The Committee examined the 32 qualifying teams'
performances in the last three World Cup final tournaments, those of 1990,
1994 and 1998. First place in one of those final tournaments earned 32
points, second place 31 points, third 30 points and so on down to 16th place,
which earned 17 points. Teams eliminated at the group phase of those
tournaments received either 9 points (for 17th through 20th at the 1990 and
1994 tournaments and 17th through 24th at the 1998 tournament) or 8 points
(for 21st through 24th at the earlier two tournaments and for 25th through
32nd at the 1998 tournament).
The Committee decided the more recent the tournament, the
more weight it deserved, and so it scaled the points earned at the three
tournaments to give them a 3:2:1 ratio. Points given for the 1998
tournament were multiplied by 3, points awarded for the 1994 tournament by 2
and points awarded for the 1990 tournament by 1. The resulting numbers
were added and the total was divided by 6 (the total of the multipliers) to
give a World Cup final tournament points average.
For example, England finished 4th at the 1990 tournament
and earned 29 points, which was given a multiplier of 1, resulting in a 1990
total of 29 points. England did not qualify for the 1994 tournament and
so earned 0 points, which was given a multiplier of 2, producing a 1994 total
of 0 points. England finished 9th at the 1998 tournament, earning 24
points, which was given a multiplier of 3, producing a 1998 total of 72
points. The points for the three tournaments were added together,
producing a total of 101 World Cup points (29+0+72=101). That total was
divided by 6, producing a World Cup final tournament points average of 17 for
The Committee also examined the 32 qualifying teams'
standings in FIFA's national team rankings for the past three years. In
particular, it looked at the December end-of-year rankings for 1999 and 2000
and the latest available ranking for 2001, which was November's. The
team with the highest ranking among the 32 qualifying teams was awarded 32
points, the team with the second highest ranking was awarded 31, and so on,
down to the team with the 32nd highest ranking (the lowest among the 32
qualifying teams), which was given 1 point. The points earned for each
ranking were given equal weight and so no multipliers were involved in this
calculation. The points earned for all three ranking periods were
added together, and the resulting total was divided by 3 to give a world
rankings points average.
For example, England were 12th in the December, 1999
ranking, and since that was the 9th highest ranking among the 32 teams
qualifying for the World Cup 2002 final tournament,
England were awarded 24 points. England were 17th in the December, 2000
ranking, and because that was the 11th highest ranking among the 32 World Cup
2002 teams, 22
points were awarded. England were 10th in the November, 2001 ranking,
which was the 8th highest ranking among the 32 teams, earning 25 points.
The points for the three rankings were added together, producing a total of 71
world rankings points (24+22+25=71). That total was divided by 3,
producing a world rankings points average of 24 for England.
The Committee added together each team's World Cup final
tournament points average and world rankings points average, producing a
combined total, which was used to rank the teams.
For example, England had a World Cup points average of 17
and a world rankings points average of 24, which produced a combined total of
41. That total was the 8th highest among the 32 teams qualifying for the
World Cup 2002 tournament.
We have not checked the FIFA entries
for accuracy, but a few errors were apparent on the face of the ranking table
FIFA published. It gave Belgium no credit for their 19th place finish at World
Cup 1998, thus depriving them of five points in the combined point totals, and
we have adjusted Belgium's total points from 26 to 31. The FIFA table
also erred in adding the World Cup points average and the world ranking points
average for a few teams. Brazil\s combined points total is 62, not 61,
as FIFA had it, the U.S.A.'s is 32, not 31, Sweden's is 31, not 32, and South
Africa's is 20, not 19. As a result of these corrections, Belgium ranks
14th, not 15th, and Portugal 15th, not 14th, the U.S.A. occupies 12th place,
not 13th, and Sweden lies 13th, not 12th.