Dutch Driver Nyck de Vries Wins 1st Round of Diriyah Formula E-Prix 2022    Okaz tops Forbes list of most visited news outlets in MENA    Formula E one of key highlights in Diriyah calendar: Inzerillo    Morocco to reopen airspace from Feb. 7    UAE restores flights to five African countries    Share of e-payments reaches 57% in 2021, exceeding FSDP target    New COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia stay above 4,000-mark    A record 9 million need food assistance in northern Ethiopia    Arab Coalition: Saada prison was not targeted, facts will be provided    UNICEF providing aid for children caught up in Syria prison siege    8 facts you need to know about Saudi Arabia's Founding Day    Formula E racing champions at Diriyah Gate to kick off season opener    Saudi Arabia take step closer to World Cup 2022    Al-Attiyah leads after opening super special stage of Oman Rally    Crown Prince to attend 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony    Arab Parliament Condemns Bombing of Baghdad Airport As Threat to Stability of Iraq    UK Condemns Houthi Attack on UAE    Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Receives Phone call From His Nepalese Counterpart    Global stocks mixed    "Mawhiba" to Announce Results of First Edition of the "Gifted Arabs" Initiative    KSrelief Distributes 728 Winter Bags in Marib Governorate, Yemen    KSrelief Performs 104 Surgeries within Voluntary Medical Campaign to Combat Blindness in Chad    Secretary General of Palestinian National Commission for Education Praises Saudi Support for Palestinian Educational, Cultural and Scientific Sectors    Stellar speaker line-up at Leap conference in Riyadh    Tata Group takes over India's loss-making national carrier    Saudi Stock Exchange Main Index Ends Trading Lower at 12,179 Points    'Orange is the New Black' actress Kathryn Kates dead at 73    RCU launches direct flights from Paris to AlUla    Saudi Stock Market Index Ends High At 12,182 Points    Public Investment Fund Launches "Savvy Gaming Group"    Diriyah E-Prix 2-Time Champion Sam Bird Sets His Sight on More Triumph in 2022 Diriyah E-Prix    Royal Commission in Yanbu Achieves Arab Award for Operation and Maintenance    Sir Elton John postpones US shows after positive Covid-19 test    Bollywood's Shilpa Shetty cleared of obscenity over Richard Gere kiss    Taylor Swift slams Damon Albarn over songwriting comments    Omani National Football Team Arrives in Jeddah to Meet Saudi National Team    Eighth Season of ABB FIA Formula E World Championship to kick off in Diriyah    Riyadh's Qualitative Events Enrich its Winter, Attract World Attention    SFDA: Fat is a Source of Energy and Its Abundance is Linked to Chronic Diseases    Reflections on celebration of Christmas    Royal Commission for AlUla to Hold Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup 2022, Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo    Saudi Arabia's Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai Organizes a Dance Theatrical Show for Children    Saudi Arabia rebuffs UN resolution on 'sexual orientation'    Kabir Khan eyes on joint Indian – Saudi film projects    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Romania, Wales set to be surprise World Cup top seeds
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 24 - 07 - 2015

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — At the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw Saturday, two European countries could be rewarded for perfect tactics on and off the field.
Both Romania and Wales should be top-seeded in their groups despite not playing at a World Cup for decades.
Credit is due to in-form national teams and smart national federation officials learning that playing friendlies can damage your FIFA ranking.?FIFA is expected to confirm Friday that seeding will be decided by world rankings alone, as it was four years ago.
That will ensure No. 8-ranked Romania and No. 10 Wales avoid Germany, Spain and the Netherlands in a draw where only group winners are sure to advance.
"For us it will be very important," said Razvan Burleanu, the federation president for Romania, whose last World Cup match in 1998 was the week of his 14th birthday.
The recent rise of Romania and Wales is a surprise, even in the often-mysterious world of FIFA rankings.
World Cup winners Italy and France, plus tournament regulars Switzerland all face being in the pot of second-seeded Europeans.
Romania and Gareth Bale-inspired Wales have surged into top-10 slots ahead of a FIFA World Cup organizing committee meeting Friday. It is expected to accept UEFA's proposal to seed European groups just by ranking, rather than factor in past World Cup performances.?Their timing is no accident, but by careful design.
The Romanian and Welsh federations spotted two factors in helping peak at the right time: Go unbeaten through European Championship qualifiers and avoid playing friendlies in the previous 12 months.
The complex FIFA calculations can reward teams not to play non-competition matches.
Taking matches over a four-year cycle, the points-scoring formula gives recent results more value, takes account of an opponent's ranking and weighs competitive matches up to four times more highly than friendlies.
So, beating a low-ranked opponent in a friendly might be good for confidence but is bad for ranking.
Since July 2014, Romania played just one friendly (a win against Denmark last November) and Wales avoided them completely.
Wales last played a friendly in June 2014, which was a 2-0 loss in a warm-up for the World Cup-bound Dutch.
Today, Romania and Wales are comfortably among the top nine European nations according to FIFA.
Burleanu was elected last year on a mission to restore the national team's pride and status after missing four straight World Cups, and two of the past three Euros tournaments.
"I was interested to see how FIFA calculated the rankings," the 31-year-old Burleanu said in a recent telephone interview.
Romania took advice from a consultant who decoded some mysteries of a ranking system used by FIFA since 1992.
Their rise is even more remarkable given where both started from.?Exactly four years ago, the 2014 World Cup qualifying draw had Romania in pot 4 and Wales, stunningly, had fallen into the lowest of six seeding pots.
Now, Wales now tops its Euro 2016 qualifying group after six of 10 matches, with Bale maturing as a world star. His fifth goal in Euro 2016 qualifying last month beat a Belgium team then ranked No. 2.
While Belgium is enjoying a golden generation — Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne head a stellar lineup — the rise of Romania was harder to predict.
"There is a big difference between Romania and Belgium," Burleanu said. "They started a lot of years ago on the youth system. In this moment we don't have an individual, but we have a very strong team."
That team could be in a World Cup group by Saturday evening with Iceland as a potential second-seeded opponent. — AP

Clic here to read the story from its source.