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The Uruguayans, who live next door, got there by way of Jordan. The Mexicans made it by going through New Zealand, the Croatians via Iceland, the French via Ukraine. The Americans hopscotched around Central America and the Caribbean. But all of them ended up with reservations to Brazil for next summer’s World Cup soccer tournament, whose 32-team field will be drawn Friday morning in the beach resort of Costa do Sauipe.
More than a few of the hopefuls may end up with dyspepsia thanks to a ranking system that made for a random sampler of seeds with Uruguay, Switzerland and Colombia tossed in with the hosts, defending champion Spain, traditional powers Germany and Argentina and Belgium with former titlists Italy and France plus the Netherlands bypassed.