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2014 World Cup draw simulator: Field set, so how tough will it be for USMNT?

Nov 21, 2013, 2:15 PM EDT

Jamaica v United States - World Cup Qualifer Getty Images

Okay, about this time last month I stumbled upon the dreaded “World Cup draw simulator” and plenty of the PST regulars have enjoyed endlessly clicking to try and see which nations the U.S. national team will be paired up against in Brazil.

It’s time to have another go folks, here’s the World Cup draw simulator… this will bring you hours of fun.

Or more than likely iprovide plenty of sleepless nights for soccer fans of every nation between now and the FIFA World Cup draw on December 6.

Now seems like a good time to revisit this incredibly catchy site, as the field has been set for the 32 teams who will square off in Brazil this summer.

(MORE: 2014 World Cup draw simulator: USMNT destined for tough group)

Like last time, I couldn’t help but have a few clicks on simulating the draw myself and, well, this World Cup is going to be incredibly tough for the USA.

Look, I know what you’re all saying right now, “every World Cup is tough,” and I get it.

But recently I spoke with U.S. internationals Geoff Cameron, Tim Howard and Michael Bradley about the nations that have qualified for the dance and how that compares to the 2010 tournament in South Africa. They all agreed that the 2014 World Cup is the toughest in a long time.

(MORE: Next date on your World Cup 2014 calendar: the Dec. 6 draw)

Let’s take a look at a few of the draws I managed to pluck out for the U.S. side and believe me, there were plenty of “groups of death” out there to try and avoid. Even the more favorable draw will see the USMNT struggle to get out of the group.

Have a go yourself… Warning, it is hugely addictive.

Group of Death – A


Group of Death – B


Group of Death – C


The easiest Group that I could find for the USA…


  1. tylerbetts - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    The problem for the USA is quite simple: If these pots are indeed the pots used, they will be the best team in their pot. That’s the formula for being put into a “group of death”.

    My fear is not a group of death. If we don’t advance out of a group because we have to play Spain, Netherlands, and Cote D’Ivoire, so be it. That’s part of life as a soccer an of a team that’s not elite but still pretty good.

    My fear is we get a group of death, and Mexico gets a relative cupcake group (insofar as one can exist this World Cup). So, basically, I’m hoping that if we get screwed, they get screwed, too. If we get Germany, they get Spain. If we get Argentina, they get Brazil. If we get France, they get Italy.

  2. charliej11 - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    The US gets the shaft in this hybrid seeding. Put England and Ghana ( similar teams ) in a group with very good teams, put the US in a pot with the worst teams.

    They need to figure out a process that works. Why not completely random ?

    • danielofthedale - Nov 21, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      They do it because its the simplest way to ensure that no group has more than one team form any Confederation except for UEFA and they don’t have more than two. I agree that is probably a better way to do would be the same FIFA Rankings which are used to pick the Top Seeds and then use them to Seeds Pot 2 with the next eight, and the same for pots 3 and 4.

      If they were to do that the four pots would look like this:
      Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4
      Brazil Holland Ivory Coast Algeria
      Spain Italy Croatia Nigeria
      Germany England Russia Honduras
      Argentina Chile France Japan
      Colombia USA Ecuador Iran
      Belgium Portugal Ghana South Korea
      Uruguay Greece Mexico Australia
      Switzerland Bosnia Coasta Rica Cameroon

  3. danielofthedale - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    The best way to look at is to split the three pots the US is not in into two groups, the teams you don’t want to see and the rest. For me the split goes like this:

    Pot 1: Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Spain are the teams I don’t think we have a really good shot at getting a point against in the opening game of the Group. Switzerland, Uruguay, Belgium, and Colombia are teams I think we could get a point from.

    Pot 3: Chile, Ghana, Ivory Coast, France* are the teams I think getting a win from would be a tough go. Ecuador, Nigeria, Algeria, and Cameroon are teams I think getting a win against would not be considered a upset.

    Pot 4: Italy, Portugal, Holland, France* are once again teams I think the US would be big underdogs against and it would be tough to get a point. England, B&H, Croatia, Russia, Greece are teams where a draw would be very reasonable to hope for and a win would not fall into the crazy category.

    So what are the odds you avoid all those teams that I want to avoid in the group draw? Around 12.5% to avoid one of the tougher teams from all the pots. To avoid them Pots 3 and 4 those with the best chance of getting wins from is 25%. So most likely we end up with a very difficult group but not out the realm of probability we end up with a group we could realistic expect to advance out.

  4. greej1938l - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    I fear a team like Chile more then England present day…

  5. The Brant St Blog - Nov 21, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    I ended up with the USA in a group with Switzerland, Ecuador and Greece. Not the worst thing.

  6. talgrath - Nov 21, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    This is, arguably, one of the most evenly talented World Cups in history, lots of top 32 teams (according to FIFA) are in the running and there’s not a lot of bad teams. That said, I’d rather see the US have to play a tough group than play a wimpy group like last time; advancing top out of the group stage in a weak field did nothing for the US, past that we really weren’t a threat. I’d much rather see them face tough opponents and not advance because that will really show how far we need to go, especially to young players that might be tempted to rest on their laurels. If the US do get a tough group and advance then I think they have a better shot of doing well past the group stage.

    • danielofthedale - Nov 21, 2013 at 8:12 PM

      No, it will be much better for US soccer to get out of a weak group, say Switzerland, Ecuador, Greece than get bounced from a tough group, say Spain, Chile, Bosnia with one point or zero. The media coverage of getting out of the group would be worth its wait in gold where as getting bounced from a tough group the media would just paint it as another failure of the National team.

      • talgrath - Nov 22, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        The fact of the matter is that the US getting out of the group stage again won’t matter much, the only way the US would get major coverage is if they get past the next step into the group of eight or if they beat tough opponents in the World Cup. Beat Spain, for example, even if you lose your group in the World Cup and you’ll make major headlines; beating Ecuador, Greece and Switzerland to get out of the group stage won’t get headlines.

  7. wandmdave - Nov 22, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Everyone probably realized this already but Pot 3 is definitely not random. France never gets put in a group with a European team from Pot 1 and Chile and Ecuador never get put in a group with a South American team from Pot 1. If FIFA went with this pot configuration its definitely best to get a European team from Pot 1. That guarantees you won’t get France and pushes your chances of drawing Ghana down to 10% while giving you a 50% chance of getting either Ecuador or Chile (tough sides to be sure but I’d rather play one of them than France or Ghana).

    So basically anyone who gets drawn with Switzerland will be sitting pretty.

  8. Carl Berndash Omniart - Nov 27, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    Looking at possibilities beyond the group stage is also interesting. Looking at Joe’s four draws:

    Group of Death A is absolutely killer. Even if the U.S. got past England and Ghana to join Spain (presumably) in the round of 16, they would have to face Germany or the Netherlands in the next round.

    Group of Death B might be a tougher group stage, but it’s actually a terrific draw for the knockout rounds. Say the U.S. gets past Portugal and Ivory Coast and comes in second to Spain. We’d get the winner of Group E (Belgium, Bosnia, Nigeria, South Korea). We have a decent chance of winning that game. In the quarterfinals, we’d get the winner of Group G (Switzerland perhaps) or the second-place team of Group H (Uruguay or Italy perhaps). Not easy (no quarterfinal match is going to be easy), but possible. There is a plausible route for the U.S. to get to the semis (where we’d get annihilated by Brazil).

    Group of Death C is similar to B. We’d have to get past Belgium and Chile and (best guess) come in second to Netherlands, but then we’d likely get England or Columbia in the round of 16 and a team like Uruguay, Greece, Ghana, or Croatia in the quarters. Once again, a difficult but plausible route for the U.S. to get to the semis (where we’d get annihilated by Germany or Argentina).

    Option D might be the easiest group, and we’d also have a decent round-of-16 opponent (Switzerland or England), but the quarterfinals would be nigh impossible, with either Spain, Argentina, or the Netherlands likely to await us there. Ouch.

    Summary: I think that the U.S. should want to get drawn into a group with one of the big teams (Spain, Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Netherlands), because that’s one less big team that we’d have to face in the knockout rounds.

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