Despite jumping seven places to 10th in October's FIFA rankings, England fell just short of one of the eight seeding positions - which have been awarded to hosts Brazil plus the top seven FIFA-ranked teams.
The Swiss took the final spot after leapfrogging Italy - the 2006 champions and Euro 2012 runners-up - to go seventh in the rankings.
That was despite the fact that the Swiss went out in the group stage at the 2010 World Cup, failed to qualify for Euro 2012, and had only a marginally superior qualifying record than Italy. Italy won six and drew four of their matches in a group that included Denmark and the Czech Republic, while Switzerland had seven wins and three draws in a group which included Cyprus, Albania, Norway, Slovenia and Iceland.
Seeded status ensures teams avoid the other tournament favourites in the group stage.
The eight seeded teams are (FIFA ranking in brackets):
- Brazil (11 - hosts)
- Spain (1)
- Germany (2)
- Argentina (3)
- Colombia (4)
- Belgium (5)
- Uruguay (6) - if they come through a playoff against Jordan
- Switzerland (7)
- Netherlands (8) - only if Uruguay fail to qualify
Portugal, Greece, Croatia and Ukraine will be the seeded teams in next Monday's draw for the European zone playoff round, which also features France, Iceland, Sweden and Romania.
The World Cup finals draw takes place in Bahia on December 6. Unseeded teams are split up by continent - in 2010 Pot 2 contained teams from Asia, North America and Oceania; Pot 3 was for Africa and South America, while Pot 4 contained European teams.