Today was a day all soccer enthusiasts across the planet have been looking forward to as the World Cup draw took place in Costa do Sauípe Resort, in Bahia Brazil.
Before each of the 32 teams taking part in next summer’s mega event learned their fate, former South African president Nelson Mandela’s memory was honored with a tribute video after news of his passing spread like a wildfire throughout the world the previous day.
Here is a breakdown of the groups as they were drawn, the teams that I expect to qualify will be in BOLD:
GROUP A: Brazil, Croatia, Cameroon, Mexico.
GROUP B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia.
GROUP C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan.
GROUP D: Uruguay, England, Italy, Costa Rica.
GROUP E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras.
GROUP F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria.
GROUP G (Group of Death): Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States.
GROUP H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea.
Now if you’re a soccer novice and you don’t know why I gave Group G the grim label ‘Group of Death,’ well it’s simply because there are no easy games like at all, and unfortunately for the United States that can mean an early exit from the tournament.
The U.S has been placed in a group with two teams that currently sit in the top five of the FIFA World Rankings in Germany and Portugal, and another (Ghana) that is ranked 24th. There’s a real possibility that they may not win a game let alone qualify to the knockout stages.
One statistical silver lining that may benefit the U.S and hosts Brazil a team that is one of the favorites to win the whole shebang, is that the seven World Cups that have been held in the Americas have never been won by an European team.
Brazil seemed to get the hometown roll of the ping pong balls as they have been placed in a relatively easy group with Croatia being their stiffest challenge.
Argentina, another South American team who can win the entire thing with the likes of Messi leading the squad, perhaps have the easiest path to the knockout stages with overconfidence being their one true opponent.
Defending champions Spain who have managed to maintain their dominance of the game since the last World Cup, will face a tough challenge in the Netherlands and Chile but I still expect them to advance to the next round.
The biggest sporting event in the world commences in June and with all the quality teams participating in the Brazil edition, there’s little doubt in my mind that it will be a tournament to remember.
“Get your popcorn ready!”