Netherlands left World Cup

Spain and Mexico were the surprise choices Tuesday among the eight seeded teams for the World Cup draw, while the Netherlands was left out. Host Germany and defending champion Brazil were automatically seeded for Friday's draw. Also making the list were four other former champions, Argentina, England, Italy and France. FIFA based its seedings on results at the last two World Cups and the world rankings of the past three years. Based on that rule, Brazil topped the standings with 64 points, ahead of England with 51, Spain with 50 and Germany with 48. The fifth-ranked team was Mexico with 47, followed by France with 46 and Argentina and Italy tied in seventh with 44 points. The United States fell just short of the top eight with 43 points, while the Dutch were well back with 38. Brazil was given top spot in Group F because it can play in Berlin, Munich and Dortmund, the biggest of the 12 World Cup stadiums. Germany was already seeded to head Group A and will play at the same venues. The Netherlands, a two-time World Cup runner-up, failed to make the seedings despite being third in the FIFA rankings behind Brazil and the Czech Republic. Spain and Mexico have never reached the final at a World Cup. Spain, a perennial underachiever, only qualified through the European playoffs. Mexico was runner-up behind the United States in the North and Central America and Caribbean group. The Czechs failed to qualify for the previous three World Cups. The draw was also set up to prevent teams from the same continent landing in the same group. Europe, with 14 of the 32 teams, is the exception. But no more than two European teams will be paired in the same group. The field has four teams each from South America, Asia and the CONCACAF region and five from Africa. Australia represents Oceania, reports the AP.

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