World Cup Pots Announced; US Potentially DoomedBy: Brian Powell - December 3, 2013
The draw for the 2014 World Cup pots will happen on Friday in Brazil, the host country for the event. However, in a press conference which demonstrates once again why Americans aren’t in love with the most popular sport in the world, the final draw pot allocations were announced today. In looking at the potential match-ups the US could find itself facing, the odds are not in the United States’s favor to advance far in 2014.
Pot 1 consists of the highest ranking FIFA qualifying members and host country Brazil:
Pot 1: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland
Pot 2 is comprised of 5 unseeded African teams, 2 South American countries, and a yet-to-be-determined European team:
Pot 2: Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, Ecuador, European Team TBD
Pot 3 is made up of the 4 CONCACAF qualifying members, Australia, and 3 Asian competitors:
Pot 3: USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Australia, Iran, Japan, Korea Republic
Pot 4 is composed entirely of 9 unseeded European teams:
Pot 4: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia
In order to decide who plays who this Friday, the process works as such: 8 pools will be created (labelled A-H), and each pool will consist of 4 competitors. Brazil, as host, is already slotted to post A-1. In order to ensure geographical separation, slots 2-4 in Pot A will be filled by one competitor each from Draw Pots 2-4.
The initial process is fairly simple, but there is a special caveat this year due to the high number of qualifying European teams. As it currently stands, there are 9 teams in Pot 4 and 7 teams in Pot 2. In order to balance the teams, there will be a preliminary drawing on Friday to put another European team from Pot 4 into Pot 2. That European team will be guaranteed to play one of the top-ranked South American teams in a move that is supposed to create the most fair and equally balanced World Cup. In essence, all this means that one of the 8 pots will contain 2 European teams, something no country wants to face due to the high quality of European teams this year.
What all of this also means is that the odds of the United States winning the 2014 World Cup are terribly slim. No matter how one cuts the cake, the US is almost predetermined to be placed into an unfortunately difficult pot. The best case scenario places the United States into a Pot with Switzerland, Algeria, and Croatia (The odds of the US advancing from this pool are at 73.6%).
Unfortunately, the US will most likely not receive a favorable draw, though, due to the fact that the US has been placed in an initial pot with the lowest ranked teams, ensuring that they will not be placed with these teams in the final draw. The worst Group of Death scenario for the US team places them into a Pot alongside Spain, the Netherlands, and Chile. In this scenario, the United States would have only a 15.3% chance of advancing to the second round.
If the people of the United States needed another reason to add to their list of reasons why they don’t have an affinity for soccer, here it is.[Image via Facebook]