Power Rankings for 2014 World Cup Groups
Power Rankings for 2014 World Cup Groups
Now that the groups for the first round of the 2014 World Cup have been set, it’s the perfect time to come up with a power rankings to determine which groups are the toughest and which groups are the easiest. We know that all World Cup groups are not created equally, and it’s time to find out which groups in Brazil next summer will be the most difficult to advance out of, and which should give the favored teams an easier time.
FIFA made a huge mistake this time around by basing the seeded teams in the tournament on the world rankings from the month of October. For starters, it’s December, and so those rankings are two months late and were decided before the qualifying process even came to an end. Second of all, everybody who follows international soccer knows that the FIFA World Rankings are incredibly flawed and are rarely an accurate representation of the top teams in the world, and that has created a situation in which several undeserving teams were given a seeded position, when any bit of common sense should have ruled them out of such an advantageous position.
The result has been a collection of eight groups that are as unequal as we’ve seen in the past several World Cups, perhaps ever. There are some groups that have four teams that are capable of advancing to the knockout stage and further, while in other groups it’s difficult to find two teams that will be worthy of advancing beyond the group stage. With that in mind, here is a power ranking of all eight groups in the 2014 World Cup.
8. Group F: Argentina, Bosnia, Iran, Nigeria
This is undoubtedly the weakest group. For Argentina, the group stage should be nothing more than a formality, as they should have no problem collecting nine points. The second most talented team in the group, Nigeria, is inconsistent and unreliable. Iran has never had World Cup success, while Bosnia is a first time participant with low expectations.
7. Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
With Switzerland being the seeded team, there isn't a whole lot of power in this group. France may actually be the best team, and they barely qualified for the tournament. Ecuador and Honduras aren't exactly accustomed to World Cup success, and while they may have a chance this time around, that doesn't speak well about the strength of the group.
6. Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea
Believe it or not, Belgium is the power source in this group, which is part of the problem. South Korea is a solid team too, and Russia has some potential, but Algeria is a long shot to do anything substantial, which brings the strength of the group way down.
5. Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
Brazil is obviously a powerful force, but other than that, this group leaves a lot to be desired. Having Mexico in the group helps a little, but not that much considering how awful they were during qualifying and how lucky they are just to have qualified. Cameroon isn't even a top-tier African team, while Croatia is one of the lesser European sides in the tournament.
4. Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
This group isn't overwhelmingly strong, but it's balanced with all four teams being capable of advancing to the second round. Colombia is an intriguing South American side while the Ivory Coast has a tantalizing amount of talent if they can finally put it all together at a major tournament. There is also Japan, a solid side that's perfectly capable of making the knockout stage.
3. Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
This is where the groups finally start to get good. Uruguay and Italy were both semi-finalists last summer in the 2013 Confederations Cup, so both have recent success on the big stage against tough competition, and it's not hard to envision both making the semi-finals of this tournament under the right circumstances. England is at a big disadvantage in this group, but for a team that's projected to finish third in their group, they have a lot of talent.
2. Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
It doesn't get much better than the reigning world champions, Spain, and the team they beat in the finals to claim that title, the Netherlands. It's a little unfair to put those two teams together, but it makes for one heck of a group. The addition of Chile takes the group to another level, as they could prove to be a difficult opponent for both Spain and Holland, and could end up stealing one of the top two spots in the group. Australia is decent and should play hard, but this group will be too much for them.
1. Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA
There should be no debate that this is the infamous "group of death" and the best group from top to bottom in the 2014 World Cup. Not only are all four teams capable of advancing to the knockout stage, but all four teams should be considered capable of winning at least one, if not more, match once they get past the group stage. Germany is one the tournament's favorites, Ghana is a dark horse to go deep in the tournament, the USA has never been better, and Portugal has one of the best players in the world. This may be the best group we've seen in the last several world cups and it should be fascinating to watch it unfold.
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