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Look what we found at the bottom of the pot
by Paul Kennedy, December 5th, 2013 1:27AM

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TAGS:  belgium, france, japan, world cup 2014


[WORLD CUP 2014: Draw] All the talk has been about the possibility of multiple groups of death being drawn on Friday at the World Cup 2014 Draw in Costa do Sauipe. But it takes away from the fact that there will be no easy groups. The 2014 World Cup is the deepest field in the history of the tournament. Here are four teams ranked at or near the bottom of each pot you'll want to avoid.

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

Friendly losses to Japan and Colombia in November may be the best thing that could happen to the Red Devils, who've been hyped as World Cup darkhorses. But you only need to know that Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet, Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini and Everton's Romelu Lukaku aren't likely to crack the starting lineup to get an idea of the stunning depth of the Red Devils, who've struck a remarkable vein of young talent from its immigrant scene.

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

The Super Eagles, winners of the 2013 African Cup of Nations, may be the youngest team at the World Cup. The average age of the 10 field players who started in the final qualifier against Ethiopia was only 23. Except for goalie Vincent Enyeama (11 straight shutouts for French club Lille) and John Obi Mikel (Chelsea), no player has more than 50 caps. Defender Kenneth Omeruo (Chelsea) and midfielder Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio) are only 20, and Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow) is 21.



Pot 3 (Asia/Concacaf):
FIFA RANK/TEAM
14 USA
20 Mexico
31 Costa Rica
41 Honduras
45 Iran
48 Japan
54 South Korea
59 Australia

Just a couple of months ago, the talk was all about Japan firing Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni after a series of poor friendly results. But the Blue Samurai traveled to the Lowlands in November and beat Belgium, 3-2, and tied the Netherlands, 2-2. The remarkable thing is that the Japanese came back from a goal down in Belgium and two goals down in the Netherlands. When they are on, the Japanese are deadly with their quick passing. The big name is Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa, but the player to watch is Keisuke Honda.

Pot 4 (Europe):
FIFA RANK/TEAM
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


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