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Multiple scenarios could produce groups of death
by Paul Kennedy, October 16th, 2013 11:31PM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014


[WORLD CUP 2014: Draw] The one thing we know for sure about the World Cup 2014 draw, which will be held Dec. 6 in Salvador, is that the FIFA/Coca-Cola Ranking released Thursday will be used to determine the seven teams to join host Brazil as top seeds.

Those seven teams are tournament favorites such as defending champion Spain, Germany and Argentina, Uruguay (if, as expected, it beats Jordan), Belgium and Colombia (which both failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup) and Switzerland (which overtook the Netherlands and Italy with the results of the last week).

(If Uruguay loses to Jordan, the Netherlands will be eighth team in the pot of seeded teams.)

The other three groups will be determined by geographic and sporting considerations. If they follow the format used for the 2010 World Cup draw, one pot will include eight European teams, another will include Concacaf and Asian teams and the third will include the five African teams, plus Chile and Ecuador and one European team. These assume that Mexico and Uruguay win their intercontinental playoffs against New Zealand and Jordan, respectively, in which they will be favorites.

The October rankings leave such European teams as the Netherlands, Italy and England -- all seeds in 2010 -- on the outside.

If you're one of the teams in the Concacaf/Asia pot, like the USA, you could be facing something as difficult as Brazil/Italy/Ghana or Spain/Netherlands/Ivory Coast in your group.

Possible World Cup 2014 Pots:
1. Spain
2. Germany
3. Argentina
4. Colombia
5. Belgium
6. Uruguay (or 9. Netherlands)
7. Switzerland
11. Brazil (host)

8. Netherlands
8. Italy
10. England
16. Bosnia-Herzegovina
19. Russia
*Europe Playoff 1
*Europe Playoff 2
*Europe Playoff 3

13. USA
24. Mexico (or 67. New Zealand)
31. Costa Rica
34. Honduras
44. Japan
49. Iran
56. South Korea
57. Australia

12. Chile
22. Ecuador
17. Ivory Coast or 64. Senegal
23. Ghana or 51. Egypt
33. Nigeria or 95. Ethiopia
52. Burkina Faso or 32. Algeria
59. Cameroon or 47. Tunisia
*Europe Playoff 4 or 70. Jordan

*Europe Playoff Teams:
14. Portugal
15. Greece
18. Croatia
20. Ukraine
21. France
25. Sweden
29. Romania
46. Iceland

Note: Number represents October ranking.

  1. Mark Friedman
    commented on: October 17, 2013 at 9:05 a.m.
    This drives me nuts, Iran, Australia, even Mexico is just as likely to get an easier draw as the USA is. What's the point? Shouldn't there be a reward for dominating your region? Let's hope for Switzerland from the first pot and take our chances with the rest... Even Switzerland, Italy Ghana though would be tough. I don't see how the USA (or Chile) gets a draw that refelcts the advantage they should have of being a top 15 team
  1. Albert Harris
    commented on: October 17, 2013 at 10:21 a.m.
    This is why all the talking heads blathering about how far the USA "should" go are full of hot air. Until you see the draw, it's a waste of time discussing whether we're even going to get out of our group. Brazil/Netherlands/Chile would be a far different kettle of fish than Switzerland/Greece/Algeria for example. Let's keep our powder dry and wait until we know who we will be playing.
  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: October 17, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.
    There is a good scenario for the USA. If Jordan beat Uruguay, they will be placed in the Asia/CONCACAF pot and moved the USA to the "rest of the world" pot with Chile and others. The better option is to seed the top 16 teams because 16 teams will move to the next round but FIFA is always fascinated with a "group of death" scenario. So, I ma not counting on it. The USA will end up in a group of death, no matter what.
  1. Jim Murphy
    commented on: October 17, 2013 at 12:05 p.m.
    I agree it doesn't make sense to sweat until you see the draw, but all in all, it might not be the worst thing having Uruguay and Colombia seeded, instead of, say, Netherlands and Italy. CONMEBOL teams have done very well in recent WCs (all five made it out of group stage in WC'10). Playing on "home soil" will make them even tougher to beat. I think the chances are good that one or more of the supposedly "tough" European teams will slip up playing off the continent (see: France, Croatia and Portugal in '02, Italy and France in '10). The African pot will be a wild card. Africa has performed terribly at the last few WCs, but there's so much talent on those teams you can't take anything for granted. Bottom line: assuming we don't get Switzerland from pot 1 and/or Greece/Bosnia from the Euro pot, this is going to be a huge step up for US and will require three phenomenal performances to get out of whatever group we get.

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