France and Portugal have not been named among the eight top seeds for next summer's World Cup.
FIFA's World Cup organising committee announced the seeds today based on October's FIFA world rankings.
The host country South Africa plus Brazil, Spain, Holland, Italy, Germany, Argentina and England were named as the top seeds.
France and Portugal both needed a play-off to reach next summer's tournament, the French beating the Republic of Ireland in controversial circumstances and the Portuguese seeing of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The eight top seeds could all still end up in a tough group in Friday's draw, though.
There will be four pots in the draw - one containing the top seeds, pot two with countries from Asia, Oceania and north/central America, the third pot with the five other African nations and three South American countries, and a fourth pot containing the other eight European countries.
A worst-case scenario for a seeded team would see them drawn in a group with France or Portugal from the European pot, an Ivory Coast side boasting Didier Drogba and the USA, beaten finalists in the Confederations Cup last summer.
The best scenario would see them take on Slovenia, Algeria and North Korea.
The decision to use world rankings alone breaks with FIFA's previous formulas when they used a combination of rankings with performances in previous final tournaments.
Had they used the old formula France would have been one of the top seeds and Holland would have missed out.
Rankings alone have not been used in the past but FIFA relaunched the system with much fanfare a couple of years ago, boasting the new-look rankings were much more indicative of a country's current position in world football.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke insisted there was no agenda against France as a result of the play-off controversy from their game with the Republic.
Valcke said: "In the past the seedings have been determined by a mixture of world rankings and performances in past World Cups but this time the feeling was the October rankings most closely represented the best teams in the tournament."
Had the November rankings been used then England would have missed out and France been seeded.
Valcke added: "We made the decision last month that the October rankings would be used because they were fairer - countries who had been involved in the play-offs would have had an unfair advantages because they would have played more games and that affects their rankings.
"This is not a case of wanting Holland to be seeded in France, just that the feeling was the October seedings represented the best teams."Reuse content