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2014 FIFA World Cup Draw: The sum of all fears scenario for the United States

Dec 3, 2013, 1:50 PM EDT

FIFA pots

There is much pot talk today. As ESPN’s Ian Darke mused on Twitter, there was so much “pot talk” he suspected he had somehow woken up in Washington State.

The “pots” in question, of course, are the “pools” of teams assigned today by FIFA from Brazil. Each of the 32 qualifiers were assigned one of four pots. From that, teams will be drawn, one from each pot, into eight groups this Friday.

Mike Prindiville laid out the basics in this ProSoccerTalk post.

So much of the subsequent “pot” talk revolved around potential scenarios. The optimists among U.S. Soccer supporters may have immediately begun dreaming of the Group of Life. That would look something like this:

The United States getting drawn into a group with Switzerland (the seeded team everybody wants), Algeria and Greece. That might look even better than 2010, when the final draw fell pretty favorably for Bob Bradley’s Americans.

But the pessimists immediately commenced to worrying about the nightmare scenarios. That would look something like this:

The United States being drawn into a group with Brazil-Argentina-Spain (choose your Pot One poison), and then with Ghana (a historical troublemaker for the United States) or talented Ivory Coast out of Pot Two, and then the Netherlands or perhaps Italy out of Pot Four.

Well, not to be alarmist, but can we talk about the Sum of All Fears draw scenario? You might want to ask any small children to leave the room; they don’t need to hear this kind of stuff.

Because there are four teams in Pot Four, one will be drawn at random and placed into Pot Two. Residing in Pot Four are two nations that everyone believed should have been seeded in the first place: Italy and the Netherlands. Even France, Portugal or England being the team moved into Pot Two could create a tougher foursome for someone – possibly for the United States.

So, how about the United States tumbling into a harrowing group that looks like this:

Brazil, Netherlands, Italy.


Or, a U.S. group that also includes Germany, Italy, Netherlands. Or, a party-pooping group for the United States that also includes Argentina, England, Italy.


Bottom line, the draw before the draw – when that one team from Pot Four is selected randomly and placed into Pot Two – will say so, so much.

(MORE: U.S. to face Korea Republic, plus January camp dates revealed)

(MORE on Friday’s draw: As expected, U.S. placed into Pot Three)

(MORE on Friday’s draw: How Friday’s procedure will work)

(MORE on Friday’s draw: Not using the FIFA rankings to solve the nine-team problem)

(MORE on Friday’s draw: U.S. contingent at Friday’s draw)

(MORE on Friday’s draw: Remembering the lucky 2010 U.S. draw)


source:  .

  1. maverickstar - Dec 3, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    To me it makes no sense to seed one pot, and arrange the others by geography. Do it one way or the other. But this is FIFA we are talking about. And I get there idea of trying to mix things up and include everyone from all over. Thats how we got Qatar 2022. But now that you have had a lengthy qualification process that includes teams from all around the globe, regardless of if they are the best 32 teams. To me it makes since to now to arrange the teams by world ranking and split the pots up by first 8, second 8, and so on. I think trying to balance the groups by skill as much as possible is better than doing it by one part skill, three parts region.

    • bigbuffguy95 - Dec 5, 2013 at 8:37 AM

      Well, they don’t want more than one team from any federation in any one group (except for UEFA, where the max is two, due to so many European teams). I think this makes sense to be honest. It sucks for the US because they can’t play the rest of the CONCACAF (or AFC) team in the group play, but they shouldn’t be playing a fellow CONCACAF team that early anyway. Overall, I think the system is actually about right, though the FIFA rankings are suspect.

  2. mkbryant3 - Dec 3, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Looks like we are going to need some post-draw indica to calm the nerves.

  3. futbolhistorian - Dec 3, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Me thinks Brazil somehow won’t be a part of any group of death.

  4. danielofthedale - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    I will be happy if we can avoid Holland, Italy, Portugal, and France. We do that and I think we have a real chance to get out of the group. Yes there are killer teams in Pot one, but no one wants to face them and we have just as good a shot of getting a point against Brazil or Germany as the likes of England or Croatia. And if we cant get a point against the like of Ghana or Chile then we probably should not expecting us to get out of the group.

  5. jmillmac - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but isn’t there a rule that they can’t put more than 2 UEFA teams in the same group?

    • biggbill123 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Correct. The UEFA team ending up in Pot 2 can’t be in the same pool as any UEFA team from Pot 1. So the five Pot 1/Pot 2 UEFA teams will be separated into five different groups. After that, all eight pots will get one more UEFA team from Pot 4. Result–five pots with two UEFA teams, and three pots with one UEFA team.

      • biggbill123 - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        Similarly, Chile and Ecuador from Pot 2 can’t end up in the same pool as any Pot 1 South American team. They must be placed with a UEFA Pot 1 team.

  6. mkbryant3 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Bedoya with a goal today to push Nantes to 5th. Dude is really doing well in France.

  7. biggbill123 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    “So, how about the United States tumbling into a harrowing group that looks like this:

    Brazil, Netherlands, Ghana, Italy.”

    HUH? The author needs to learn that each group will only have FOUR TEAMS! If a group includes Brazil, Netherlands, Ghana, and Italy, then it’s full–there’s no way for the US to end up in it too!!!

    • biggbill123 - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      Besides, there’s no way for Netherlands, Ghana, and Italy to be in a group together anyway. Ghana will be in Pot 2. Italy and Netherlands will either both be in Pot 4, or one will be in Pot 2 and the other in Pot 4. Either way, there’s no way to get three teams in a pool together if they’re only in two pots.

  8. seanb20124 - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Do we want a warm weather group or cold weather group?

  9. mikeevergreen - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:33 PM


  10. bishopofblunder - Dec 3, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Pardon me, Steve. But that was Adrian Healey, not Darke, who posted that on Twitter.

  11. footballkahuna - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Regardless of draw, USMNT has nothing to fear as they are bringing its strongest ever team to World Cup 2014.

    • bigbuffguy95 - Dec 5, 2013 at 8:42 AM

      Well, “strongest” American soccer team isn’t saying a whole lot. There’s a reason why so much ink is being written about the draw. Teams like Brazil and Spain are good enough that they don’t worry that much about it because they don’t have to. The only other “major” soccer country that’s fretting as much as the US is England (though to be fair, they’ve actually won a World Cup), but that says a whole lot more about them than in does about the US.

  12. footballer4ever - Dec 5, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    The best group that we can get is :

    Korea (South Kore)

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