The 2014 World Cup Draw was held today in Bahia, Brazil, and it will leave fans across not only the United States, but across the globe, talking and debating from here all the way to the start of the World Cup Finals in about six months.
The U.S. Men’s National Team did not fare well in the World Cup Draw, and finds itself in the tournament’s Group of Death. The U.S. side is in Group G, with Germany, Ghana and Portugal.
Complete 2014 World Cup Draw Results are below:
Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria
Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA
Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea
2014 Brazil World Cup Draw Results Analysis
The U.S. Men’s National Team really had some bad luck with their draw. Group G has Portugal, led by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and ranked as number 5 by FIFA but unseeded, Germany, the number 2 ranked country in the world, and Ghana, the team who has twice ended team USA’s World Cup hopes in past tournaments, including in South Africa in 2010.
Only two of those four countries can advance, giving the U.S. an incredibly tough mission.
Indeed, make no mistake about it, the U.S. is in the Group of Death. That doesn’t mean that all of the other groups are pushovers though. In Group B, you have both Spain and the Netherlands, ensuring Australia and Chile quick exits from the tournament. Group D has Italy, England and Uruguay, and only two can make the cut.
While the dreaded Group of Death is always a concern in the World Cup, this year global fretting was enhanced even more than usual. The 32-team field has been cited as one of the deepest in modern history, perhaps the deepest ever, thanks in part to host country Brazil being one of the world’s foremost powers, as opposed to a walkover team with a free bid.
Fans of the U.S. Men’s National Team were also concerned because the qualifying teams from CONCACAF were placed in a pot with Asia’s qualifiers, which meant that the U.S. couldn’t share a World Cup group with any of those teams, generally regarded as the weaker entrants, as opposed to the remaining European or South American sides.
Additionally, by using only FIFA rankings to create the eight seeded teams which head each group, several at large powerhouses lurked in waiting, ready to instantly create a worst-case scenario for a team looking for a relatively easy path. For instance, Colombia and Switzerland were seeded teams, while the Netherlands, Portugal and Italy were not.
Here were the four pots used to create the eight groups:
Pot 1 (Seeded Teams):
Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Switzerland, Uruguay
Pot 2 (Africa & South America):
Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, Ecuador
Pot 3 (Asia, North & Central America):
United States, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea
Pot 4 (Europe):
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia
In a testament to how far U.S. soccer has come though, other countries across the world feared being paired with the United States, as the strongest team from the weakest pot.
Travel considerations were another major concern in advance of the 2014 World Cup draw. That’s because the sites are spread across the brawling countryside of Brazil, which could leave a Group Stage travel schedule of anywhere from 1,946 miles to 8,866 miles.
The U.S. Men’s National Team was slotted as G4, which is unfortunately the most dreadful travel schedule. For the Group Stage, the U.S. side will need to go from Natal to Manaus to Recife, for 8,866 travel miles, which is as bad as it gets.
So, not only does the U.S. men’s soccer team land in the Group of Death, with powerhouses Germany and Portugal to go up against, along with rival Ghana, they also have the most miserable travel schedule with nearly 9,000 miles to log in between their opening three games.
This will not be an easy assignment for Team USA, and if they’re able to advance into the knockout stages, it’s going to be a fantastic achievement.
*This article was first published on Yahoo Sports on December 6, 2013