French player bashes FIFA seeding after Women's World Cup loss
France's Camille Abily expressed her unhappiness with FIFA's draw process after losing to Germany in the Women's World Cup quarterfinals.
Abily made her feelings known in French paper L'Equipe, upset that her team had to meet Germany this early in the tournament. SI's Grant Wahl detailed the process earlier in June. FIFA chose not to draw seeded teams into groups, like they do on the men's side, but rather to place them into their respective pools by hand.
This decision effectively determined which teams were set to meet in the knockout rounds, assuming favored teams won their groups and then advanced past the Round of 16. For example, Germany in Group B and France in Group F knew from the beginning of the tournament that they were set to meet, assuming best-case scenarios for both sides.
Abily, in quotes translated into English via Deadspin, was none too pleased.
Isn’t the main frustration at having to face Germany so early in the competition?
“Yes, unfortunately, we are going back to that but FIFA did not conduct a real draw," Abily said. "This is not to blame them [for the loss] but why don’t we do it like the boys? A1 is Canada and for the rest, we would’ve be drawn randomly according to our seeding. Do not tell me that for the World Cup, there wasn’t anybody in Moncton! At some point they have to stop taking us for idiots ... I’m sorry but if they did a real draw, maybe we would not have played Germany or the United States after. Inevitably, it’s frustrating even if we knew this from the start. The hope was still to go all the way, as we proved Friday.”
In addition to Germany and France being pitted against one another early in the tournament, Brazil received a seed over Sweden as officials hand-picked their seeded teams rather than use the FIFA world rankings to determine them. Earlier in the tournament, FIFA offered SI.com an explanation for its seeding decisions.
“Similar to previous draws for FIFA Women’s World Cups like Germany in 2011, teams are seeded ... and allocated into specific groups for ticketing and promotion reasons," a FIFA spokesperson told SI's Grant Wahl. “Whilst the interest in the FIFA Women’s World Cup has grown significantly over the last years, the success and great interest from the public in the tournament in Germany in 2011 can’t be compared to the Brazil [men’s] World Cup. Filling the stadia is a FIFA and host association key objective. The allocation of teams to venues, the ticketing and promotion plan and the ticket price strategy are among the key factors for the overall success of the event.”
- Jeremy Woo