FIFA announces allocation of World Cup pots

2014FIFAWorldCuplogo2 (FIFA)

By FRANCO PANIZO

FIFA announced the 2014 World Cup pots on Tuesday, and as expected the U.S. Men’s National Team is in one that could leave them facing some serious competition in Brazil.

The U.S. was revealed to be an unseeded team in Pot 3 alongside the three other CONCACAF nations and four AFC representatives at a press conference held by FIFA in Bahia. While Tuesday’s news of which pot the Americans landed in is unsurprising, it confirms that their chances of being drawn into a potential Group of Death are high given the overall talent in the three remaining pots.

Heavyweights like Spain and hosts Brazil mostly comprise Pot 1 while the five CAF countries and Chile and Ecuador are in Pot 2. Nine UEFA teams make up Pot 4, but one will wind up being tossed into Pot 2 during the World Cup draw in order to even out the playing field.

FIFA will hold the highly-anticipated draw is this Friday in Bahia.

Here are the complete 2014 World Cup pots:

POT 1: Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay

POT 2: Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Ghana, Nigeria

POT 3: USA, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Korea Republic, Japan, Australia, Iran

POT 4: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia

—–

What do you think of these pots? Starting to get really nervous over who the U.S. could be drawn with on Friday? Who do you think the U.S. will draw?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, FIFA, International Soccer, World Cup 2014. Bookmark the permalink.

187 Responses to FIFA announces allocation of World Cup pots

  1. bryan says:

    Switzerland, Algeria, USA, Greece please.

    • Ian says:

      I wonder what the odds are? Someone should do that math (not me).

      • Reboot says:

        Its either 1 / 512 or 1 / 4096

        Either way, not great odds.

        • Benjamin C. says:

          So, in other words, ‘May the odds never be in your favor.’

        • Nate Dollars says:

          so you’re saying there’s a chance…

        • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

          If there was 4 pots of 8 teams and any selection was valid then 1/4096 would be the probability of each draw. With the random draw from pot 4 to pot 2, and pot X business it’s significantly more complex, but still in the neighborhood of 1/4000 I think.

          • Acebojangles says:

            Are you saying they don’t just pick one team from each pot? If that’s true, I have no idea what the odds are.

            If they do just straight pick one team from each pot, I think the odds of any one combination for the US is 1/512. It’s true that there are 4096 possible draws, but only 512 of them involve the US.

            Disclaimer: I took statistics many years ago and wasn’t a great student. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

            • Joamiq says:

              Some of those draws are not actually possible, like anything with two South American teams or three Euro teams.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          In theory it would be 1/8 cubed (1/512) if it was the simple emptying of pots. But the reality is that pot 4 has 9 teams, pot 2 has 7, balls are shifted between pots as part of the draw, geographic separation results in “skipping,” and other quirks that make it not quite 1/8. You can’t even assume teams in certain pots stay there.

          • Darwin says:

            You have to consider the probability of picking the US. so the probability of this draw if pulled in sequence is 1/8*1/7*1/8*1/9 or 1/4032.

            • Drewbles says:

              No, because we’re only concerned with the other teams in the group with the US. The odds that the US will be in the group containing the US is 1:1.

          • kar says:

            don’t bet the 1/512 odds, the house is killing you slowly . . .

            Odds of US in Swiss group: 1/8
            Odds of Algeria in Swiss group: 1/7 [cannot be the European addition]
            Odds of Greece in Swiss group: 1/9 [prior to extra draw, equal weight given to all 9 teams]

            Since these are independent events, multiply them for a 1/504 chance

          • Corruption says:

            You have to consider the possibility that FIFA is a corrupt organization and the odds don’t matter because they are pre-decided.

        • Claytron says:

          Never tell me the odds

        • HyperboleAside says:

          “Never tell me the odds.”

    • Christian says:

      just posted on Twitter that Switzerland, Algeria, USA, and Greece would be my dream group draw!

    • GJJ says:

      From your mouth to God’s ear.

    • THomas says:

      This is from an SI article on the best/worst possible group we could be drawn into:

      “ESPN statistician Paul Carr ran through the permutations and, based on his national team rankings, found that the U.S. had a 43 percent chance to move through to the second round next summer. Its worst-case-scenario group – Spain/Netherlands/Chile — produces a 15.3 percent chance of advancement. Those odds improve to an optimal 73.6 percent if the Americans are drawn with Switzerland, Algeria and Croatia.”

      • Rory Miller says:

        I freaking hate these BS statistics. This is the fault of idiots like Nate Silver. You cannot, just CAN FREAKING NOT create a formula for chances of advancement before any games are being played. You can get statistics of any particular draw (of teams into a group), but there is no such thing as a statistic for a chance for a win, a loss, or a tie, much less the chances for what you are looking for (that the US will wind up with more points than two teams in the group). Not to mention all the intangibles to change between now and then.

        Sorry but it’s time to stand up to this nonsense. ESPN is paying people to write this nonsense.

      • Joamiq says:

        I read somewhere that Carr used his own subjective team quality/difficulty rankings, so I’m not sure how much stock to put into his numbers.

  2. Benjamin C. says:

    As much as people say the U.S. is not quite ready for primetime (which I agree with), I doubt any of the power teams want to see them as their Pot 3 opponent. I would say Japan is another squad that nobody wants to have to play in the group stage.

    • Eric W says:

      That is a good point, which makes me feel *slightly* less horrible about the reality of this situation. It’s nice to think that other countries will be hoping they don’t draw us.

    • John says:

      I’ve seen a few English outlets list the US in there group of death.

    • Umlaut says:

      Yeah in a lot of ways it really sucks for the US to be seeded with Asia because we’re arguably the best team in the weakest pot (Japan and potentially Mexico being the other contenders), and yet we won’t have a shot to play any of them.

      But yeah for other pots no one wants to draw us (or Japan or Mexico) from pot 3, when you could be playing Honduras or Iran.

  3. jason says:

    i think these are as fair as it gets, i think espn had france in a different seeding group which didnt make sense to me. Hopefully usa can either draw a bosnia or switzerland, and then get a team like algeria, or ecuador.

    • Joe+G says:

      The move of France to the African/S. America pot was to make the draw easier. They are the lowest ranked of the UEFA entrants.

    • Acebojangles says:

      I think a straight seeding without regard to geography is vastly more fair. Maybe it makes sense to trade some fairness to avoid early regional match ups. Personally, I don’t think it does. If you have a tournament, I think you should seed a tournament to make it most likely that the best teams advance.

  4. bottlcaps says:

    Best potential match up for US (IMHO)

    Pot 1 : Uruguay or Swiss
    Pot 2: Algeria or Ecuador
    Pot 3: USA
    Pot 4: Greece

    Worst Potential match up

    Pot 1: Brazil
    Pot 2: Ghana
    Pot 3: USA
    Pot 4: Ned/Fra

    Best Group of Death

    Pot 1 Germany
    Pot 2 Chile
    Pot 3 Mexico
    Pot 4 England

  5. jason says:

    By the way, are foreign teams even scared of the usa? I have no idea what the outsiders perception of the usa would be, I think we wouldnt be the worst draw for some teams, even though we are obviously capable of beating anyone on the day

    • Andrew says:

      Pretty sure no one wants the USA in their group stage. We may not be a power house but we are very very dangerous and can sting at any given moment.

    • Benjamin C. says:

      I would say, without knowing foreign perceptions of U.S. soccer, that the answer is yes. The Americans have a keeper that can give you that special game (Howard) and have several players that can give you a moment of brilliance. Plus, depending on the matchup, there are several guys on the squad that can score on a junk header off of a set piece.

    • James says:

      I think top teams are certainly not scared of the US. They’re likely weary, but there’s no way Spain or Brazil is scared going into a match with the US. That being said, the US is the last team a big nation wants to draw from our pot.

      • Rafael Sousa says:

        I’m from Portugal, and we don’t want to be faced against USA not because we think that we can’t beat them but because there is a lot of easier teams in the pot.

        From pot3, only usa and mexico are “scary”.

        But if we could chose our group, a group with USA USA USA and PORTUGAL, was an ok one :p

      • Joe+G says:

        I don’t know if they are “weary” of us yet, but they are certainly wary.

      • usaalltheway says:

        I can tell you that here in Brazil, NO ONE is worried about the US. Brazil won’t take it lightly but they won’t question the final outcome.

        My guess would be that Holland, Spain, Germany and Italy all feel the same despite our successes with those teams at different points in time.

        The US is trouble. The team isn’t settled on, the back line is a total mess and without Bradley, the team simply falls apart. It isn’t looking good at all.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i wouldn’t say they’re ‘scared’ of the usa, but i’m sure they would rather play almost any of the other teams in our group.

    • AC says:

      Even the top teams of the world want the lesser ranked teams. But that being said, the USA is known as one of the teams they definitely don’t see as an easy team, given our history of rising up in underdog situations and known for being very organized. Funny how the teams who play on the feel see that, but the fans in many countries don’t see it.

    • Jake says:

      From our pot, there are many worse teams. Few that any would say are absolutely better than the US.

    • GJJ says:

      The English newspapers have been commenting on England being in a potential group of death and every article I have seen has placed the USA in that group. I don’t think we are viewed as a world power, but we are viewed as potentially a very tough nut to crack. I think that if any team could build there own “easy” group from all four pots that the USA would not appear on anyone’s list.

  6. Andrew says:

    With the political turmoil I would like to have seen Iran in the group stage, but that won’t happen now.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      People thought 1998 was easy pickings with Iran and that was a depressing tournament to watch.

  7. JSmiley says:

    So it could actually be Brazil, Italy, Netherlands, and US.

    • Eurosnob says:

      No, Italy and the Netherlands are in the same pot so they can’t be drawn to the same group.

      • mb says:

        Nine UEFA teams make up Pot 4, but one will wind up being tossed into Pot 2 during the World Cup draw in order to even out the playing field.

        • Eurosnob says:

          I wasn’t aware that they would be moving one of the teams to a different pot. If so, this scenario is theoretically possible, but I would still say it is unlikely that FIFA would move one of the stronger Europen teams (such as the Netherlands or Italy) to a weaker pot. It would be more likely for them to move someone like Bosnia or Greece, but, hey, stranger things have happened at FIFA.

        • JSmiley says:

          Correct. And if that team is either Italy or Netherlands, and they wind up in Group A with each other, and US is drawn into Group A, then you have it.

          “Even out the playing field” being the height of irony.

    • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

      This is the worst possible outcome for us. I would cry. Probably a lot.

  8. Detroit! says:

    Holy smoke!
    I knew the draw was going to be tough, but this is really daunting. Very little likelihood of a manageable group.

    Maybe this just means a greater chance for unexpected glory?

    • Paul Miller says:

      There’s a couple teams that got seeded who don’t seem that strong – one in particular with Switzerland. And then there’s the oddity of one team being drawn for position in another pot.

      But that only changes odds a little bit. There’s always been ‘groups of death’ and weaker groups. The U.S. has always been from CONCACAF, which is subject to placement with teams from Europe, S America and Africa in group play. Sometimes we get the short end of the stick and sometimes we don’t, like four years ago. We also were allowed to host once, which guaranteed us a seed, when clearly we weren’t top eight. All in all, we’ve been luckier than not.

      This is the World Cup. It’s not supposed to be easy. We’re supposed to line up with the best in the world, even in group play.

  9. espada says:

    Would prefer either Switzerland, Cameroon/Algeria/Nigeria, USA, Bosnia/Croatia. But that’s being hopeful.

    • usaalltheway says:

      You know, I would rather face European teams that African teams.

      I just feel that after Ghana’s beating of the US in both 2006 and 2010, there isn’t much good energy with African teams. At least the US has shown well against European teams in past World Cups.

  10. Ian says:

    First choice:
    Switzerland, Algeria, USA, Greece

    Second choice:
    Belgium, Cameroon, USA, England (yes, England)

    (Distant) third choice:
    Uruguay, Nigeria, USA, Bosnia-Herzegovina

    Thoughts?

    • Christian says:

      i posted on twitter that my dream group would be usa, switzerland, algeria, and greece. i definitely agree with you on your first choice!

  11. KP1935 says:

    I ran 4 random draw sequences on ESPNFC:

    group H
    Uruguay
    Algeria
    Italy

    Group D
    Spain
    Nigeria
    England

    Group H
    Switzerland
    Algeria
    B & H

    Group E
    Columbia
    Ivory Coast
    Russia

  12. James says:

    Statistically, we have about a 1:170 chance of getting “an easy draw” (ideal opponents from pots 1, 2, 4). Assuming though you get a tough opponent no matter what from pot 1, our odds of getting ideal opponents for the next two teams rise to 3:16. A true group of death (worst possible opponents) are about 1:14

    Time to get back to work

  13. Travis says:

    Someone from pot 4 is going to be very mad when they get moved into pot 2, pot 4 is almost as stacked as 1.

    • Greg says:

      I may be alone but I have to respectfully disagree.

      The way I see it, Pot 4 is a 50/50 pot, meaning I think we have a good shot against about half of the teams. Specifically:
      – Greece and Croatia we should be favorites over
      – Russia & Bosnia will be tough but I think it’d be a coin flip
      – Finally, England & France are both quite vulnerable this cycle

      Of course, I REALLY don’t want to see Italy, Netherlands or Portugal in our group, but after watching the African qualifiers several of those teams pose incredibly serious problems, specifically for our full backs.

      • Paul Miller says:

        Absolutely. We’ve shored up the back line quite a bit, but are still more vulnerable to flat-out speed than most national team defenses who will be in Brazil. We saw that when the fast but not-even-MLS-quality striker from A&B (Byers I think) gave us fits a while back.

  14. Michael V says:

    Why do people want the US to have an easy group??? I certainly do not. I am ready for the US to challenge the heavyweights. I, for the first time ever, feel totally comfortable with facing anyone in the world. Does that mean we will beat them and/or progress in the WC — I’m not sure. But I want us to make a statement and the best way to do so is by playing the heavyweights.

    • Eurosnob says:

      If the USMNT gets an easier group and advances, it will likely face the heavyweights at the elimination stage, which is a much better time to make a statement. :-)

    • slowleftarm says:

      I prefer “winning” to “making a statement”

      • Nate Dollars says:

        hell yes.

        nobody remembers who teams played in the group stage, so any ‘statement’ wins will be meaningless (for whatever they’re worth in the first place).

        best case scenario is getting the easiest matchups all the way to the final; at that point, you’re going to be playing the top teams anyway.

        • Sharkbait says:

          “nobody remembers who teams played in the group stage”

          Exactly this. One thing that’s irked me since this summer is when people say our U-20 team did poorly at their World Cup in Turkey. The only thing people remember is that they didn’t advance, not that they happened to be grouped with the team everyone thought would win the tournament (Spain), the team that did win (France), and our evil nemesis that got 3rd place (Ghana).

    • usaalltheway says:

      +1

      I am with you man.

      The US needs a challenge. Plus, the games will be more interesting and a win or draw against Holland or Brazil (just examples, don’t attack me for it) will garner much more respect.

      Not mention, JK needs to put his actions where his words are. Can we really hang with the best of the best? I want to hope so but I doubt it.

  15. slowleftarm says:

    Brazil, Ghana, Holland, USA anyone?

  16. Chazcar2 says:

    Best case scenario is to be drawn with a European team from pot 1. That eliminates the possibility of having to face a pot 1 team and two other European teams.

    Does anyone know how and which team the pull from pot 4 into pot 2?
    Worst case I could see is Argentina/Brasil, Netherlands, Italy/England/Bosnia, USA
    Best case: Switzerland, Algeria, USA, Greece/Crotia

    • JSmiley says:

      They draw eight teams from Pot 4. Whoever is not drawn goes into Pot 2.
      Brazil, Italy, Netherlands, US.

      • Chazcar2 says:

        This is wrong. I see they are going to draw first from pot 4 and take that team temporarily to pot 2. Then they are going to draw that team from pot to and draw a team from pot “x” (seeded South American Teams) and match them into a group.

        They said that they would also ensure that the two south american teams in pot 2 don’t end up with a pot “x” team, but they didn’t say how. basically means that two groups will be seeded euro team plus south american, and one group seeded south american team and a random team from pot 4. so Group of death from above can happen.

        • JSmiley says:

          You’re right; I got my information from the wrong place. But statistically it’s the same, 1/9 chance for each Pot 4 team, at least if the draw is really fair.
          Draw procedures are posted at fifa . com.

  17. A.S. says:

    It is an utter travesty that FIFA uses its rankings for Pot 1 but not for the other 3 pots. There is absolutely no reason that they couldn’t allocate all 4 pots by rankings and yet still keep the geographical restrictions. It’s just another example of FIFA essential fraudulent nature.

  18. Mwing09 says:

    Im feeling a little more optimistic than most people about this draw. As long as we can avoid Italy and Netherlands out of pot 4, ill be happy. Unless we draw Switzerland or Colombia, lets assume the top seeds will all go through. Which means we will just have to beat whoever we draw from 2 and 4. Outside of Italy, Netherlands, and probably Chile, is there another team thats really daunting enough to say we dont have a chance? While teams like Ghana, Ivory Coast, England, Bosnia, Russia all have talent, I wouldnt foresee any of them handling us with ease.

  19. Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

    Franco, you should note that FIFA is making a special pairing before the first group is drawn to connect the UEFA team pulled out of pot 4 with one of the seeded CONMEBOL teams from pot 1. This special “Pot X” draw and pairing will prevent any group from having three UEFA teams.

  20. MiamiAl says:

    No matter what group we get drawn in, we are going to have to beat someone good to advance. Our team is set up to take on all comers. Spain, Brazil, Ned., Germany, we can hang with them all…

    • Nate Dollars says:

      “Our team is set up to take on all comers. Spain, Brazil, Ned., Germany, we can hang with them all…”

      i like the optimism, but what makes you think that?

      • Eric B says:

        Oh, little things like:

        1998 Gold Cup Semifinal vs. Brazil 1-0
        2002 World Cup vs. Portugal 3-2
        2009 Confederations Cup Semifinal vs. defending European Champion Spain 2-0

        We have the talent to win any game at any time if we play up to our potential and a bit of luck is on our side.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          oh. i thought he was talking specifically about the current iteration of our team, not our soccer program in general (and especially not from 10+ years ago).

        • azgeezer says:

          Using results from 1998 and 2002 have very little to do with WC 2014. I am as optimistic as anyone, but a dash of reality is also in order.

        • louisz says:

          there is a reason why those upset results are spread over 10+ years, yes we can beat the big boys but we also lose to them a lot more than win.

    • Benny says:

      I agree. The U.S. has always played tough games against all of these sides and beaten them, except Holland I believe. Last time these two played Holland won 2-1 and before that 1-0 both games played in Amsterdam. Plus, I think the U.S. is going to be much more organized in the back. If they are well organized in the back, they will get out of their group.

  21. Beto says:

    Good job screwing this up too fifa, should have 8 teams in each pot! Not 7 not 9 Eight!

  22. Clint says:

    Anyone think a team from pot 3 will make it to knockout round?

  23. Typs says:

    U actually describe a team with in-form and experienced midfielders such as KP Boateng, Kwadwo Asamoah, Ayew, Essien, and Muntari as out of shape?

    • Travis says:

      Calling Muntari in-form is a bit of a reach, he has not been very good at all at Milan this year and most people want him benched. Also Essien is barely playing for Chelsea. Ghana is certainly a good team regardless

  24. TheFrenchOne says:

    umm… Pot 2 only has 7 teams listed, and Pot 4 has 9 teams … what up?

    • Travis says:

      One team from pot 4 is going to be drawn to be moved into pot 2, everyone assumed it would be the lowest ranked team (France) but it isnt getting done that way. Someone is going to be mad

  25. Landon Klinsman says:

    I am very glad that we are in the same pot with dark horses like Japan and spoilers like Iran. I actually think this pot allocation lessens our chances of being in a group of death.

  26. John Lowe says:

    I just want to be drawn with England again.

    I am still pissed about the last world cup draw when they posted the Group as EASY

    England
    Algeria
    Solvinia
    Yanks

  27. Brain Guy says:

    What odds will you give me that Brazil ends up with an especially easy group?

    • Landon Klinsman says:

      Brazil is sure to make it out of the group stage. So, if they have an easy group, then that means there will be more competitive teams against them in the elimination rounds. Right?

    • Eurosnob says:

      I wouldn’t mind it because it would mean that we don’t get drawn with them.

  28. JSmiley says:

    The random placement of a Pot 4 team into Pot 2 finally makes a little sense to me now. France (read: Platini), being the lowest ranked UEFA qualifier in the October rankings, didn’t want to be ignominiously lumped into Pot 2 and face a greater chance of being drawn into a group with Brazil/Argentina and Italy/Netherlands. It still might happen, but much less of a chance since all other Pot 4 teams could end up in Pot 2.

  29. Smacking says:

    With the arbitrary grouping of continents (especially in Pot 2 this year), it make you wonder why there are pots at all. Why not just have all the top seeds allocated to groups and then an open draw for the rest. FIFA can maintain the continental limitations per group, just as they will now to ensure that we don’t end up with 3 Euro or 2 S. American counties end up together.

  30. Eric B says:

    Whatever, is it Friday yet?! Whoever we get picked with, we have to win, and giant or minnow, any team can pull off an upset on the big stage. In 2002 everyone thought Portugal was impossible to beat, South Korea our easy team, and Poland a team we could beat. Few would have picked the US and South Korea to advance, but that’s how the chips fell. We should have beaten Germany (f-ing hand ball) and gone to the semi-finals against South Korea, where we could have made the final.

    Simple twists of fate, calls or non-calls, lucky bounce here or there. That’s why I love the game!

    Bring on June 12, 2014!

  31. beto says:

    i think uncle Sepp was a little too eager to put Switzerland in the seeded group.. should have used the FIFA Rankings from this month. Italy & Portugal (now #5 & 7) are better than Belgium (#10) & Switzerland (#8).

    also, if you are going to seed the top 7 teams why not just use that system for the rest of the draw?
    –>
    Group A (H, 15, 16, 31), Group B (1, 14, 17, 30) Group C (2, 13, 18, 29) Group D (3, 12, 19, 28) Group E (4, 11, 20, 27) Group F (5, 10, 21, 26), Group G (6, 9, 22, 25), Group H (7, 8, 23, 24)

    in this draw we would get Germany, Mexico & Cameroon –> hopefully a shot at either Argentina, England or Japan in the second round.. i guess this tournament is just full of good teams.

  32. Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

    Anyone have odds on which top tier team implodes? It was France in 2010 (thank you Nicolas Anelka) with Italy as first runner up, Netherlands in 2006 (that quadruple red card game with Portugal was epic), kind of Spain in 2002, Spain in 1998 (and us, though we’re hardly top tier). It’s always fun to see how which teams totally defy expectations, and which ones bomb.

  33. chatnoir says:

    The basic chances of a hard group mainly depend on pots 1 and 4. Pot 2 has a lot of theoretical variability, but unless a powerhouse gets moved there, all the teams are more/less the same.

    We have a 50% chance of hitting a top team in pot 1 (Germany, Spain, Brazil, Argentina)

    We have a roughly 44% chance of hitting a top team in pot 4 (France, Italy, England, Netherlands, Portugal).

    Chances of having both in our group = 0.5 x 0.44= 22%

    Chances of having none of these teams in our group = 0.5 x 0.55= 28%

    So, roughly speaking, we have a :
    -25% chance of having a hard team from both 1 and 4
    -25% chance of an easier team from both 1 and 4
    50% chance of either having a top team from 1 or a top team from 4 (but not both)

    I’d list that as roughty a 75% chance of a draw that is reasonable, 25% chance of a really hard draw.

  34. wandmdave says:

    I saw somewhere else that the extra UEFA team will be picked and then drawn with a CONMEBOL team from Pot 1 immediately to ensure a max of 2 UEFA teams per group. Will there be a similar procedure with Chile and Ecuador to ensure they aren’t pared with a CONMEBOL team from Pot 1?

    • Mason says:

      Sort of.

      After pairing the extra UEFA team with a COMNEBOL seeded team, they’ll draw the original pot 2 (seven teams) sequentially from A-H (skipping the group that has already has two teams). If a COMNEBOL team is drawn into a pot with another COMNEBOL team, that pot is skipped.

      It seems they’re just hoping they don’t seed a COMNEBOL into the later groups (H, G) and get stuck with one or more COMNEBOL teams left in pot 2. The procedure doesn’t say what they’d do in that situation. They’d probably have to redraw the entire pot, because anything else would required moving teams that had already been drawn.

      • wandmdave says:

        Interesting. Thanks for the info.

      • away goals says:

        They didn’t outline how they’d hande that scenario, but one solution:

        If a caf team is drawn for a group with a seeded uefa team resulting in more unseeded conmebol teams remaining than available seeded uefa teams, the caf team would skip to the next group with a seeded conmebol team.

  35. RBNY says:

    We’re going into the Group of Death :-(

  36. If you think about the teams in terms of their top player your pots looks like this:

    Messi, Neymar, Hazard, Falcao, Neuer, Iniesta, Shaqiri, Suarez

    Algeria?, Song, Vidal, Toure, Valencia, Prince Boateng, Obi Mikel

    Howard, Chicharito, Espinoza, Ruiz, Son, Kagawa, Cahill, Iran?

    Dzeko, Modric, Rooney, Ribery, Samaras, Buffon, van Persie, Ronaldo, Dzagoev

    Who do you want in that draw??

  37. Skifast! says:

    The trend for the last several World Cups has been: qualify out of group, last place, quarterfinals, crash out of group stage, qualify out of group… I fear this trend continuing this time around.

  38. Squatchy? says:

    Here is my opinion. The pots are ranked by the team I would like to face most to the team I would like to face the least,

    Pot 1:

    Switzerland
    Colombia
    Uruguay
    Belgium
    Germany
    Argentina
    Spain
    Brazil

    Reasoning: Germany might seem too low, but here is my thinking. We are simply not going to get a result against Brazil in Brazil. USA vs. Brazil in Brazil during the world cup…..a draw in that case might be the best result in the history of the USMNT. I have Spain 2nd just because its a bad matchup. Spain is obviously a bad matchup for everyone in the world, but I feel that we have a better chance of pulling off an upset against Germany than Spain. I put Argentina 3rd for the same reason as Brazil. Argentina obviously has the talent, and along with that, getting a result against Argentina in South America is asking a lot. I have a ton of respect for Germany, and think they actually might be the most talented team in the world, but I can see a 1-1 USA vs. Germany result, a lot easier than I can a 1-1 USA vs. Brazil. I don’t think we get either result, but slightly better chance against Germany. Switzerland is the easy pick for easiest opponent, and just because there has to be a 2nd easiest team, Colombia falls into 2nd place. Truth be told, I don’t think we get a result against any team in this pot (including Switzerland). A draw against any team other than Switzerland would be a fantastic result in my opinion, and if we get Germany, Argentina, Spain or Brazil, a draw is hard to even think of as a real possibility. Not breaking any news here, but obviously getting Switzerland would be huge.

    Pot 2:

    Algeria
    Cameroon
    Nigeria
    Ecuador
    Ivory Coast
    Ghana
    Chile

    Reasoning. Chile is the truth. I can see Chile making major noise in this tournament (I could see them going all the way to the Semis). About a year ago, Belgium was the team that was the up and coming team. The secret on Belgium is obviously out, and Belgium isn’t sneaking up on anyone anymore. Chile still seems under the radar. This tournament is setting up perfectly for Chile. Under the radar, the tournament is in South America, and this team doesn’t have unrealistic expectations/pressure. Very quietly, Chile has been getting result after result, and I want to avoid them. Ghana is 2nd place…….no further comment needed. Ivory Coast still has the talent to be a force. I am not sure what to think of Ecuador, and still am not sure that they have more talent than Nigeria. Ecuador gets the nod due to geographical reasons.

    Pot 4:

    Greece
    Russia
    Croatia
    France
    England
    Bosnia
    Italy
    Portugal
    Netherlands

    Reasoning: Every team is this pot is good, that goes without saying……..but we have to avoid the Netherlands. I am very bullish on this Dutch team, and would not be surprised to see them back in the finals. I am actually not in love with Portugal and their inconsistency, but my thinking is that if we have to play Portugal, we might as well start the game down 1-0, and I say that because I can’t believe that we put together such an unbelievable defensive masterpiece, as to keep Ronaldo off the score sheet. I could see us getting a draw against Portugal, maybe 1-1, but Ronaldo will get behind our D multiple times throughout the game. England is a team to look out for in this group. I think they could be dangerous. I am surprised at the approach taking by the England FA…..all but saying they aren’t in position to win a world cup until 2022. England is trying to downplay itself, and I think the strategy is working. People don’t fear England, and people want to draw England, but to me, its a easy trap to fall into. England still has enough talent to concern me. Granted, its a flawed team for sure, but England is luring everyone into a false sense of security, and could be much more dangerous than expected. I also do not buy into the idea that Croatia is the worst team in this group. Greece and Russia are good (especially Russia), but I would rather either one over Croatia.

    Conclusion: So here is how I see it. I am not expecting any points from our games in Pot 1. If we get Brazil, Spain, Argentina or Germany……we leave this pot with 0 points. If we get Belgium, Uruguay or Colombia, we probably leave this pot with 0 points, and if we happen to get a point, we should run like we stole something. If we get Switzerland, I would probably still take a point, a loss would be a disappointment for the reason that we were given the easiest route, and let it get away, not because Switzerland is an easy opponent. We almost have to have the mindset that we win our game from pot 2. The only team I would expect to lose to outright, is Chile. All the other teams, we need a point, and if we get Algeria or Cameroon, we have to think 3 points for sure. For pot 4, I don’t expect any points if we get Netherlands. A point would be great against Portugal or Italy, with losses likely. The other teams, a point would be great, with a potential for stealing 3 points.

    Our goal needs to be 4 points. We have to win our pot 2 game, and get a tie between pots 1 and 4.

    • Amru says:

      I enjoyed that break down. Thanks!

    • Greg says:

      Really fun read, nice analysis and everything is incredibly rational…especially for an message board!

      One thing I’d add, I did watch a bit of Equador play during quals…they are for real. They’re deceptive because, outside of Valencia, not a lot of huge names. But what sets them apart from many SA teams is their defense, they’re loaded with Barca talent that can really play the game. Interestingly, they’re a little weak at striker, so it actually could be a fun match-up, but I’d rather avoid if I had the choice.

      None the less, really good stuff, thanks for the write-up!

    • JSmiley says:

      I think our goal needs to be five points. In 2010, nine teams got four points in group stage but only four of those teams advanced to knockout stage. All teams with five+ points advanced.
      I wouldn’t mind drawing Italy at all, as long as the rest of the group is reasonable. We beat them in a friendly in Italy; they are capable of a meltdown, as demonstrated in 2010; and if Joey Rossi starts, there should be plenty of extra motivation among our players.
      Apart from Netherlands and maybe Portugal, I think any team in Pot 4 is within reach. European teams sometimes dissappoint when they’re not playing in Europe. Our two best showings in the past four cups have been in Not Europe, so as long as we get a reasonable draw, I don’t see five points or even six as being too lofty a goal.

      • John says:

        I don’t really think many US players hold Rossi’s decision against him the same way fans do. Some probably even look at it as a spot they wouldn’t have if he had gone with the US.

        • Northzax says:

          You mean Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, Terrence Boyd, Fabian Johnson and John-Anthony Brooks won’t have special motivation to play against a player who chooses to play for a country besides the one he grew up in? Do tell.

    • Tim S. says:

      I love the analysis, nice job. I really think all of the pots are the haves and have nots. I would be thrilled at being drawn with four teams in Pot 1 (Switzerland, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay), four teams in Pot 2 (Algeria, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast), and four teams in Pot 4 (Greece, Russia, Croatia, Bosnia).

      I will consider it to be a very favorable draw if we get our way (well, my way) in two of the three pots.

      The two teams I want to avoid at all costs are Chile and Netherlands, who seem to me to be far and away the class of their respective Pots.

  39. Gary Page says:

    I just wish that one time CONCACAF were not partnered with Asia. Would rather have an Asian team in our group than an African one, although Algeria might be easy.

    • Mingjai says:

      If Mexico doesn’t qualify this time, does CONCACAF finally get partnered with CAF or does New Zealand simply take Mexico’s place in the CONCACAF-AFC pot? We will never know.

  40. EspinDOHla says:

    Could someone post the link to that group generator website? Should’ve bookmarked it earlier.
    Please and thanks!

  41. Rory Miller says:

    Your second pot is missing a team. I assume this is the last European team?

    • bryan says:

      correct:

      “Nine UEFA teams make up Pot 4, but one will wind up being tossed into Pot 2 during the World Cup draw in order to even out the playing field.”

  42. squirt-lover says:

    Everyone is ready to jump off the cliff. I am trying to be more optimistic.

    Pot 1 has four or five teams that we don’t want to face, but the others I can envision us getting a tie.

    Pot 2 really doesn’t scare me, except we haven’t traditionally played well against African nations. But, I feel that we are now more prepared than ever to face their athleticism.

    Pot 4 has three teams that we don’t want, but the others are not terrible.

    1-1-1 gets us to the next round.

  43. John says:

    Lets just say Fifa wanted to fix a draw for the effect of a good story line. Who would they put us in a group with? Certainly the German connection with Klinsmann is one possibility. Perhaps a rematch with Colombia 20 years after the meeting in 94 is another. Anyone else have some good potential story lines?

    • Tim S. says:

      The best story line for FIFA if the fix was really in would be to have the US be the last team left to be drawn out of Pot 3 only to have Qatar be the name inside the last ball, screwing us out of our spot in the World Cup.

    • Squatchy? says:

      I think if FIFA could hand pick a group for us for storyline purposes, I would say that it would be Germany, Ghana and either England or Portugal.

      I completely agree with you on the Germany storyline. The Ghana storyline is obvious (and if FIFA were handpicking this, not only would they give us Ghana, but they would give us Ghana as the third game in the group). The last pot is a little tougher. My thinking for England is because they would try to market this game as much, or even more so than the last World Cup. I don’t remember a USMNT game that had more advertising than last year’s England game. My thinking for Portugal is that FIFA would want Ronaldo on US television to market him to the US audience and get as much buzz around the US as possible.

  44. Jon says:

    If we don’t get the Swiss it really doesn’t matter who we draw. Every team from pot 1 will be favored to move on. The worst possible matchup would be either Brazil or Spain. Just hope you play them third and they are already through by the third game.

  45. toby says:

    germany ghana usa england

    With all our German-Americans we might surprise people..Ghana=revenge..England b/c we can get a good result

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