Posted December 03, 2013

CONCACAF, Asia grouped together in World Cup draw

2014 World Cup, FIFA, FIFA World Cup
FIFA pots

The pots are set for Friday’s World Cup draw . (Screenshot, Brian Straus)

As expected, the USA and its fellow CONCACAF World Cup participants were paired with Asia’s four competitors ahead of Friday’s World Cup draw, which means all of the doom and gloom group scenarios that many have been speculating about for weeks are fully in play.

FIFA released the pots and its draw procedure Tuesday after its organizing committee meeting, with the results being:

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

Pot 2*: Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, Ecuador, European Team TBD

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

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

Instead of choosing one of the nine unseeded European teams from Pot 4 to put into Pot 2, FIFA will conduct a meta-draw of sorts to select that team. That one team will then be placed in Pot 2 to create four pots of eight teams. It will not, however, be able to be grouped with two other European teams, nor can Chile and Ecuador be paired with seeded CONMEBOL teams from Pot 1.

WAHL: What if FIFA ditched the draw?

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your Group of Death scenario engines.

49 comments
rkcla08
rkcla08

the world cup draw should be pulled by iowa farmers...those who don't give a crap.  that's the only way to ensure fairness instead of a fifa rigging.

MattS
MattS

Can any draw run by FIFA be fair and above board?   There is too much done behind closed doors.  

I fear the Brazil World Cup is going to be one big mess. 

Charlie P
Charlie P

Best case scenario, with all due respect to Switzerland, is for the US to get drawn into its group.

joe6647
joe6647

If the USA can avoid Brazil, Spain and Germany in group play, that would be huge

joe6647
joe6647

A dream  draw group for USA would be something like : USA, BH, Ecuador, Belgium.

Group of death would be something like: Brazil, USA, Ivory Coast, Italy

DamienW
DamienW

Group A

  • Brazil 
  • Portugal
  • USA 
  • Russia
Group B
  • Spain
  • Chile
  • Japan
  • Greece
Group C
  • Uruguay
  • Camaroon
  • Honduras
  • Italy
Group D
  • Belgium
  • Nigeria
  • Australia
  • England
Group E
  • Germany
  • Ecuador
  • Costa Rica
  • Netherlands
Group F
  • Switzerland 
  • Algeria
  • Iran
  • Boznia-Herzegovina
Group G
  • Argentina
  • Ghana
  • Mexico
  • Croatia
Group H
  • Colombia 
  • Cote de Ivoire
  • Korea Republic
  • France

Ashasan2005
Ashasan2005

What bothers me more than the group of death, is the group of crap scenarios. Having the top 8 seeds include unworthy Columbia, Switzerland and Uruguay could lead to a dull group of Switzerland, Cameroon, Australia, and Russia..

AprilMarieSanderson
AprilMarieSanderson

This is one of the worst ideas since the dawn of mankind. Americans are paired with China? Shows what our European and South American allies truly think of our nation.

6marK6
6marK6

Look, if you are a good team, your draw does not matter. So quit crying and making excuses. You can argue that they did this because they don't respect the ability of those countries. You can lose and prove they were right or you can win and ram it in their face. The choice is America's. 

espnrefugee0218
espnrefugee0218

ohhhh that makes sense! 

just like ties and 0-0 finishes

SHOGUN
SHOGUN

what the hell is a meta-draw...explanation would be useful

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

So what happens with Mexico since we let them in the cup and have to play them?

Blinker
Blinker

Same old song and dance.  What a bunch of crap.  I guess if we wish to be respected we need to put a nail in what is considered a good teams coffin.  Kick some butt USA!  USA USA USA USA USA!!!!!!!

jimmyjon_55555
jimmyjon_55555

the US will somehow - inexplicably- wind up with one of the more difficult draws.   

JulioEcheverria
JulioEcheverria

@MattS On what basis? All this talk but it's a format that benefits international play not just regional.

MikeChiappetta
MikeChiappetta

@AprilMarieSanderson ... actually, it has more to do with what they think of the calibre of CONCACAF competition. In order to progress their national football program, Australia left Oceania for the Asian federation. Similarly, if the United States wanted to get better, face stiffer competition and actually challenge for a World Cup, they would petition for placement in CONMEBOL and leave CONCACAF. Playing against those South American sides would do wonders for the training and development of American players than even MLS can be credited with.

The pairings are designed to maximize equity between the groups. Will there be a group of death? Statistically, it's likely. That said, I'd rather have one group of death than four of them just so we can artificially inflate the hopes of footballing minnows by having them qualify for the knockout stage and get summarily bounced in round 2. Nothing is gained by making it "fairer" for developing footballing nations other than reserving the best WC matches for the group stage instead of the knockouts.

Superseded
Superseded

@6marK6 Good point. Fans in every sport wonder why the best teams never get bad calls. They do, but their team is good enough to overcome it. Same logic...if you're good enough, you don't sweat this stuff.

morejunk
morejunk

@RicardoCastilloOgle

I don't think FIFA has to go out of their way to ensure that CONCACAF and Asian teams get eliminated real early.  

Ryan19
Ryan19

@SHOGUN


  • One European team will first be randomly drawn from Pot 4 and placed into Pot 2, in order to create four even pots of eight teams.
  • The draw will then proceed with the drawing of the other seven top-seeded teams into Groups B–H, with Brazil having been predetermined to be in Group A.
  • To maximise geographic separation, an ancillary pot ("Pot X") will be created during the draw procedure into which the four seeded South American teams (from Pot 1) will be placed.
  • The European team previously drawn from Pot 4 and placed into Pot 2 will then be placed into the group of the seeded team drawn from "Pot X".
  • The groups will be drawn sequentially from the pots (i.e. Pot 2, 3, then 4) into the groups in alphabetical order (i.e. Group A, then Group B etc). During the drawing of Pot 2, group(s) may be skipped over to ensure that the two South American teams in Pot 2 do not become placed into the (remaining three) groups headed by South American seeds.
  • The positions within the groups will then be drawn for the non-seeded teams, in order to determine the order of the fixtures within each group. The eight seeded teams are automatically allocated as Team 1 within the group (i.e. Brazil will be A1).
  • DSmithy3211
    DSmithy3211

    @SHOGUN It's explained in that very same paragraph.  One of the Pot 4 teams is first drawn to be moved to Pot 2.  It's a draw to determine which pot the team will be placed in.  Hence, meta-draw.

    Ryan19
    Ryan19

    @WHO*IS*ESPN We won't play them unless we happen to meet at some point after the group stages.  That happened in 2002, but is not very likely to happen again.  

    6marK6
    6marK6

    @jimmyjon_55555 How about going out and playing good soccer and make other countries regret being in our draw. 

    kcostell
    kcostell

    @MikeChiappetta @AprilMarieSanderson Not even that.  It has more to do with them being able to count to 8.   Pairing either North America or Asia with Africa would give 9 teams instead of 8, so they put Africa with South America to make the pot sizes come out right.   That leaves North America and Asia paired together.  


    The pots were pretty much forced once Mexico and Uruguay massacred their playoff opponents.  

    Mzilikazi
    Mzilikazi

    I'd like to see CONCACAF merge with CONMEBOL. If Europe can manage so many teams in one federation, why can't the Americas?

    SHOGUN
    SHOGUN

    @DSmithy3211 @SHOGUN it just seems extremely odd..and thus perhaps there is some specifics about which team can actually come out of pot 4. For instance, if Italy got chosen to go to pot 2, this creates the possibility of Brazil, Italy and Netherlands in the same group. I can't see that being possible. This meta-draw must somehow only include certain teams from pot 4

    train805
    train805

    Yeah, like South Korea did a few years back, right? Oh wait, they were handed a quarterfinal and semi ticket werent they! This is more FIFA corruption at its best. USA is better than pretty much every country at every major sport, with the exception of soccer. This is how FIFA makes it even more difficult for us to succeed at the highest level. Making it to the semis would be a nice kick in the balls to FIFA. Let's hope that happens.

    laclipperzfan
    laclipperzfan

    @MatthewVogt @laclipperzfan I don't even need to look at some random internet article, I already know it's proper verb conjugation.  It's just not common in American English, but it is an English word.  Just look it up in a dictionary if you don't believe it.  

    morejunk
    morejunk

    @AYahoo!u5er @Mzilikazi 

    Yet.

    The Americans aren't going to get better playing Mexican and Central American scrub teams.  Better to go get slaughtered by Messi and company for a few years.

    JulioEcheverria
    JulioEcheverria

    @AYahoo!u5er @Mzilikazi Ya, so, Bolivia would beat the USA in Columbus or Mexico in Mexico City? Most South American teams have a hard time with at least those 2.

    AYahoo!u5er
    AYahoo!u5er

    @Mzilikazi Because there is no team in CONCACAF which could challenge a South American side.  

    SHOGUN
    SHOGUN

    @DSmithy3211 @SHOGUN Respect your points, but you must admit the qualifications used for "ranking", which were used to determine seedings, are ridiculous. Friendly games having considerable weight? Not to mention, the qualifications for assessing rankings were not known far in advance. Regarding the groupings, to say it doesn't matter is a bit much. Yes, these teams would play each other in the knockout rounds, but at least they would make the knockout round, and give fans of those great teams some sustainable enjoyment. Finally to say it's much better for Brazil to play those teams early implies they would be the team to beat.....totally different analysis, but I disagree! Your comment re: Germany - spot on.

    DSmithy3211
    DSmithy3211

    @SHOGUN Nothing unfair about it.  Italy and Holland weren't ranked high enough on the cut-off date to be in the top 7 + host.  Those were the rules from day 1 of qualifying.  If you wanted to avoid the likes of Brazil, you better make sure to be in the top 7.

    Now, you can argue why there's a meta-draw to begin with and not instead (as per usual) simply drop the worst-ranked European team from Pot 2 to Pot 4 (in this case, France).  Platini-related conspiracy theories abound.

    In the end, it doesn't matter.  In a theoretical group with Brazil, Italy, and Holland, those teams would have had to play each other in the knockout rounds regardless.  For Brazil, it's much better to play those teams early, so as to avoid them in the early knockout rounds.  Teams like Germany would love to play Italy in the group rounds, I would think.

    Also, this wouldn't result in an uproar.  This would result in at least three great games early on the World Cup.  No complaints about that.

    SHOGUN
    SHOGUN

    @mikeblenkarn @SHOGUN @DSmithy3211 I know it is possible..I'm saying it is completely unfair and would cause uproar towards FIFA....those are arguably 3 of the best teams in the tournament and they should not be in the same group

    mikeblenkarn
    mikeblenkarn

    @SHOGUN @DSmithy3211 Why do you think the Brazil Italy and Netherlands could not be in the same group?  That is 2 from Europe and one from SA, so that actually can be a valid group, would probably be the group of death, but totally possible, in fact that would be a fun group!

    morejunk
    morejunk

    @train805  

    Leave CONCACAF  for South America (and win).

    We play in a scrub league and the world knows it.

    mikeblenkarn
    mikeblenkarn

    @train805 Try beating a decent team and you will get respect... the USA soccer team gets all the respect that it has earned, to get more it needs to be better.

     FIFA is as corrupt as they come, but this is one area that it is hard to claim FIFA corruption!