The World Cup Draw Palaver

Providing the BBC aren’t lying to me, apparently, the World Cup draw can now cost up to £10 million.  Which might go some way to explaining why these things are so damned expensive.
I understand the purpose of the draw, it’s to add a bit of excitement to the proceedings and to make sure Italy fans suffer*.  But at the same time, it does seem like a lot of fuss.
I fence, and the draws for our group stages are done from the rankings.  If there were eight groups, the top ranked fencer attending would go into group 1, the second into group 2 and so on, then the ninth ranked fencer would go into group 8, 10th into group 7 again with the so on, until the 17th ranked fencer goes into group 1, 18th into group to and so on and so on.

Doing this with the October FIFA rankings (here if anyone wants to check my maths) gives the following groups (respecting the max. 2 European teams in a group, max. 1 team from another region.  This was done by skipping teams until they fitted and then putting them in.)

Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F Group G Group H
Spain Germany Argentina Columbia Belgium Uruguay Switzerland Netherlands
Bosnia -Herzegovina Chile Greece Portugal Brazil USA England Italy
Cote D’Ivoire Croatia Russia France Ghana Algeria Ecuador Mexico
Australia Cameroon Korea Iran Honduras Japan Costa Rica Nigeria

Okay, I had to swap Cameroon and Australia for it to work, but you’ve got 8 reasonably solid groups, and even the apparently expected horrible group for Italy.

Even if you change it around so that Brazil are automatically Group A team 1, you instead get:

Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F Group G Group H
Brazil Spain Germany Argentina Columbia Belgium Uruguay Switzerland
Bosnia -Herzegovina Greece Chile Portugal USA England Italy Netherlands
Cote D’Ivoire Ecuador Croatia Russia France Ghana Mexico Costa Rica
Australia Cameroon Korea Iran Japan Honduras Nigeria Algeria

I’ve had to swap Cameroon and Australia again, but we once again end up with some nice balanced groups, although less balanced IMO than previously, and Italy still end up with a horrible group.

Now I haven’t done this just to prove that Italy are cursed, or to show that it doesn’t take £10 million to do a draw (really, FIFA, I’m very cheap).  It’s more I don’t get why they don’t do it this way.  Surely it would be easier for the various federations and their fans to know where they’re going about 2 weeks earlier, when the qualifiers finish.

I know the FIFA rankings are all kinds of crazy (see also, Italy’s ranking dropping because they played a friendly against San Marino or Austria’s ranking dropping despite beating the US in a friendly) but they might as well use them throughout and not just for the top teams.

* Austria are out, if Ireland are also out I default to Italy for footballing reasons.

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