3 Dec 2009

France not among top seeds for Cup finals

8:14 am on 3 December 2009

France have been handed a World Cup football finals bombshell after learning they're not among the top seeds for next year's tournament in South Africa.

The French delegation had travelled to Cape Town confident that they would be among the seven heavyweights of world football along with the hosts South Africa in the top strata ensuring a relatively easier draw for the group stages.

But they were shocked when FIFA's secretary general Jerome Valcke announced that the Netherlands would fill the remaining spot that had been in doubt.

The seeding system from South Africa was different from four years ago, as it was based purely on the world rankings as at October this year, and FIFA says the Thierry Henry handball incident in their final qualifying match had nothing to do with their ommission from the top eight.

The seedings format had been decided well before their controversial match against Ireland.