3 Dec 2009

Socceroos could face potential pool of death at 2010 World Cup

8:15 am on 3 December 2009

The Socceroos face the potential of being grouped with two powerhouses of world football at next year's World Cup after France and Portugal were left unseeded for this weeks draw.

World football's governing body said the seeds were selected according to the FIFA rankings as of October, meaning Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, and England made the grade.

South Africa were also seeded in Pot One as the host nation.

France and Portugal's omission means they are in Pot Four along with the rest of the UEFA teams, including Denmark, Greece, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Switzerland.

With one team from each pot to be drawn in each group, Australia faces the possibility of drawing both a seeded team, such as Brazil or England, and either France or Portugal in the group stage.

The Socceroos were seeded in Pot Two alongside Asian rivals Japan, North Korea and South Korea, CONCACAF qualifiers Honduras, Mexico, USA and neighbours New Zealand, killing off any hopes of a trans-Tasman clash in the group stage.

Pot Three features Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Algeria.

Under a best-case scenario, the Socceroos could still draw a relatively favourable group that featured hosts South Africa, and the likes of Algeria and Slovenia.

The worst case could be a group consisting of Brazil, France and African powerhouse Ivory Coast.

FIFA denied France, ranked seventh in the world, had being relegated from the seeds because of the controversial way they qualified, with Thierry Henry's handball putting them through at the expense of Ireland.