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How does Brazil-Italy-Netherlands-USA sound?
by Paul Kennedy, December 4th, 2013 1:08AM

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TAGS:  fifa, world cup 2014

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[WORLD CUP 2014: Draw] The FIFA organizers are no dummies when it comes to organizing a World Cup draw. There will be suspense right off the bat in Friday's 2014 World Cup draw in the resort of Costa do Sauipe as one team is separated from the remaining pot of unseeded European teams to even out four pots of eight teams. And fans around the world will have to tune in until the very end to see where those unseeded European teams are drawn. The draw possibilities include multiple groups of death like Brazil-Italy-Netherlands or Spain-Portugal-Chile, filled out by one team from Pot 3 that contains the USA.

The first scenario is possible for three reasons:

1. Pot 4, the unseeded pot of European teams contains such powerhouses as Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal, all currently ranked among the top nine teams in the world but not ranked high enough in October when the FIFA rankings were used to determine the seven seeds that would join host Brazil in Pot 1.

2. Three are nine European teams in Pot 4 so one of them has to be moved to Pot 2 -- containing five African and two unseeded South American teams. The FIFA World Cup organizing committee chose not to separate the odd-team out on any predetermined basis -- as an example, the October or November rankings -- and instead will begin the pre-draw by moving the European team into Pot 2.

3. Since FIFA wants no more than two European teams in any group, it will conduct a special draw to determine which group containing one of the four seeded South American teams -- Brazil, Argentina, Colombia or Uruguay -- the European team in Pot 2 will be placed. The other four seeds are all European teams: defending champion Spain, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.

It's on that basis that there is a one-four chance Brazil will get the extra European team and that there's just as good a chance that team will be one of the strongest unseeded teams -- Italy, Netherlands or Portugal -- as it is one of the weakest teams -- Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Russia, for an example.

Otherwise, the draw will take on a familiar pattern.

-- Teams will be emptied by pot, beginning with the seeded teams in Pot 1, then going to Pot 2 (Africa, South America plus the ninth European team), Pot 3 (Concacaf and Asia) and Pot 4 (Europe).

-- Except for teams in Pot 1, which will be placed in position 1, teams will be drawn not only into their group but also their position in the group, which determines the order or their games and their locations. The latter will be important as there are huge differences in the amount of travel teams will have to do criss-crossing Brazil.

-- Besides Europe, which will have a maximum of two representatives in a group, no confederation will have more than one team in a group, which means the two remaining South American teams in Pot 2 -- Chile and Ecuador -- can't land in a group with another South American team and may have to be jumped into the next group containing a European team.

For those Pot 3 teams -- like the USA -- worrying about the possibility of facing a trio of Brazil-Italy-Netherlands or Spain-Portugal-Chile, there's also the chance of a landing in a much easier group.

No one would complain about, say, Switzerland, Algeria and Greece.

World Cup Draw:

Pot 1 (Seeds):
1 Spain
2 Germany
3 Argentina
4 Colombia
6 Uruguay
8 Switzerland
10 Brazil
11 Belgium

Pot 2 (Africa/South America):
15 Chile
17 Ivory Coast
23 Ecuador
24 Ghana
26 Algeria
36 Nigeria
51 Cameroon
*European team
 (plus one currently in Pot 4)

Pot 3 (Asia/Concacaf):

14 USA
20 Mexico
31 Costa Rica
41 Honduras
45 Iran
48 Japan
54 South Korea
59 Australia

Pot 4:

5 Portugal
7 Italy
9 Netherlands
12 Greece
13 England
16 Croatia
19 France
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina
22 Russia
*One European team in Put 4 will be drawn into Pot 2

Note: Number represents November FIFA ranking. (October rankings were used to determine seeds.)


1 comment
  1. dustin johnson
    commented on: December 4, 2013 at 9:22 a.m.
    No matter what happens we'll just lose to Ghana anyway.

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