On November 18, 1999 UEFA published a European national team
ranking table based on coefficients or points per match averages calculated from the qualifying results in
World Cup 1998 and European Championship 2000, excluding the playoffs. Since
France, as host nation, did not take part in qualifying for World Cup 1998,
their points average was calculated solely on the basis of qualifying results
for European Championship 2000. And since Belgium and Holland, as host nations,
did not participate in qualifying for the European Championship 2000, their
coefficients were determined on the basis of their World Cup 1998 qualifying results
were ranked 17th in Europe. In
world ranking released a day earlier, England were placed 11th, behind only
seven European teams (France, the Czech Republic, Spain, Germany, Croatia,
Norway and Romania) rather than behind 16 as in the UEFA ranking. This
discrepancy resulted from the differences in the bases the two
organizations use for their rankings, one of which is that the FIFA ranking
takes account of all results, not just qualification results in the major
The reasoning behind UEFA's use of
qualification results alone apparently is that they serve as the best basis for
a comparative ranking since all nations but the host country and, in the case of
the World Cup, the reigning champion participate in qualification group play for the major
competitions and because the qualification groups are roughly equivalent in the
difficulty of the competition they provide. For an explanation of the UEFA ranking system, see
UEFA European Ranking 1997.
England's sharp drop from the
4th place position they held in
ranking to 17th two years later is attributable
solely to a poor performance in the Euro 2000 qualifying
competition. The 1997 ranking was based on qualifying results in the 1996
Championship and the 1998 World Cup, and, since England, as host nation,
did not participate in the 1996 European Championship qualifying competition,
their 4th place spot in the 1997 ranking was based
solely on their 1998 World Cup qualification results. Those 1998 World Cup qualification
results produced a points per match average of 2.375, which, standing alone, would have been good enough to put them even with
Holland at 5th place in the 1999 ranking. But the 1999 ranking also was
based on results in the Euro 2000 qualifying competition, and England earned a
points average of only 1.625 there, which reduced their overall points per match
average for the
1999 ranking to 2.000, dropping them to 17th place.
With a slight
modification--the exclusion of 12th-ranked France because they qualified
automatically for the World Cup 2002 final competition as reigning
champion--FIFA used the UEFA ranking table to seed the other 50 European teams for
2002 World Cup preliminary competition draw, held in Tokyo, Japan on December 7, 1999.
That draw determined the composition of the nine European groups in the World
Cup 2002 qualifying competition. With France excluded, England were seeded
16th among European nations, which put them well down in the second tier of
nations for the draw.
UEFA used the same ranking table to
make Spain, ranked 1st, one of the four top-seeded teams in
the 2000 European Championship
final tournament draw held December 12, 1999 in Ghent,
Belgium. That draw assigned the 16 participating teams to four groups for first round play in the finals.
The ranking table played no part in selection of the three other top-seeded
teams. Germany were seeded top as reigning European champions and Holland and
Belgium as the host nations, although none of them were among the top four
nations in the ranking. Just two days before the draw, UEFA decided it
would also use the ranking table
to seed the other 12 qualifying teams into three tiers of four teams each.
The four top seeds were assigned to the four groups, and each of the other three
tiers of teams were placed in a separate pot for the draw.
England were placed in the bottom group of four
because only Turkey, Denmark and Slovenia ranked lower among the nations
that qualified for the finals.