The draw is obviously huge for all teams, particularly those middle level teams like the USA. The could have a vicious draw and be grouped for example with Spain, the Netherlands, and Nigeria or they could have a great draw and be with South Africa, Slovenia, and Uruguay. So lots is determined by the Friday draw.
There are lots of mock drafts out there for fantasy sports and the NFL and NBA draft, so I decided to go with a Mock Draw. It won't really mean anything, but will be fun and show the indefinite natureof the process.
Here are a few rules to know.
There are 32 teams, but they are not being drawn randomly, but Fifa is not being very forthcoming in how exactly the draw will take place.
Here is what we know for sure.
-The 32 teams will be divided into 4 separate pots.
-Pot 1 will be the top seeded teams in which the host South Africa and reigning champion Italy are guaranteed a spot. The other 6 tops seeds have not yet been announced by Fifa
- Groups will not contain more than two European teams
- Groups will not contain multiple teams from any region other than Europe (i.e. a South American team cannot be drawn with another South American team)
-One pot will contain 8 European teams that are not top seeds
-The remaining two pots will be a mixture of the remaining teams
What is still up in the air:
-the top 8 seeds will most likely be South Africa, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Argentina, and England. Other teams in contention are the Netherlands and Portugal. FIFA uses performance in the last two World Cups and qualification and other Fifa tournaments to determine these top seeds. It seems very unscientific, but I think the way it is above makes it the most uncluttered. Say the Netherlands were one of the Top 8 in place of Argentina, then there would not be an even group of 8 European teams and New Zealand would have to be in with the 7 remaining European teams, which would be totally unfair. Then along with South Africa and Italy I would say Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and Germany are locks, with the only possible variables would be the Netherlands or Portugal taking the place of England or France.
- it is unknown how the 16 remaining non-European teams will be drawn. It usually depends on the host country and who wins the intercontinental playoffs.
It could be the 5 Africans and the 3 North American teams in one and the 4 Asian, 3 South American teams, and the Oceania winner in the other
the 3 North American, 4 Asian, and 1 Oceania in one and the 3 South American and 5 Africans in the other.
It will probably be the latter, as this allows for the neatest draw, as you only need to have sub-pots in one round of the draw, so South Africa, Brazil, and Argentina are not drawn with someone from their continent. But the other way would require sub-pots in two rounds.
As a US fan, I would rather face a South American, Asian, or Oceania team, and Uruguay beating kept that unlikely possibility open. Llately Fifa has been erratic with rules, so you never know.
Ok, I probably confused with too much information there. We'll go with the most likely scenario for the draw.
On with the Draw!
Pot 1 Top Seeds (South Africa, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain, England, France)
Pot 2 Remaining European Teams (Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark, Slovakia, Serbia, Switzerland, Greece, Slovenia
Pot 3 Africa and remaining South America (Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria)
Pot 4 North America, Asia, Oceania (Mexico, USA, Honduras, Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, New Zealand)
First Draw: This is just to determine the Groups the tops seeds go in
1. South Africa - Group A
2. Argentina - Group B
3. Germany - Group C
4. France - Group D
5. Brazil - Group E
6. Italy - Group F
7. England - Group G
8. Spain - Group H
Second Draw Pot 2: No need for sub-pots here. First team drawn with go in group A, second in group B and so on. Top seeds will definitely want to avoid Netherlands and Portugal and would probably like to see Slovenia and Slovakia
Group A - Greece - South Africa will not mind this
Group B - Slovakia - Argentina will be pleased with this
Group C - Denmark - Potential interesting battle with Germany
Group D - Serbia - Serbia won the group over France in qualification
Group E - Slovenia - No problem for Brazil, Netherlands and Portugal still out there along with Switzerland
Group F - Netherlands - Mouth-watering match up vs. Italy
Group G - Switzerland - England certainly pleased by avoiding Portugal who took them out of World Cup 2006 and Euro 2000 and 2004
Group H - That leaves Portugal - Nice Iberian battle here with Spain
Draw 3 - Pot 3 with African and South American sub-pots. Teams here would want to draw Algeria, Chile, or Uruguay. This years African teams are very strong.
Group A - due to South Africa being in the group, the South America pot will be used, and South Africa draw: Chile Host will be ok with that.
Group B - Africa pot will now be used for Argentina - Cameroon Drawn - historically tough team with World Cup experience, but did not qualify in 2006
Group E - we will stick with the African pot here for Brazil - Algeria drawn - Brazil looking very good here.
The remaining teams - Paraguay, Uruguay, Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast are now put into a single pot for the rest of the pot 3 draw
Group C - Paraguay - potentially strong group here
Group D - Ghana - things not looking great for France
Group F - Nigeria - potential group of death with Italy, Netherlands, and Nigeria
Group G - Cote d'Ivoire - lots of interesting Premier League matchups here - Terry vs. Drogba, Toure vs. Barry
Group H - only team left are Uruguay - Spain and Portugal have to be happy with that
Draw 4 Pot 4, no sub-pots needed
I'd say teams would want to avoid Mexico and Australia and maybe the US. Teams would love drawing New Zealand and would be happy with North Korea and Honduras as well.
For the USA, I want to avoid Spain/Portugal and Italy/Netherlands/Nigeria groups. Ideal would be South Africa other than that Brazil/Slovenia/Algeria would be the best.
Group A - Honduras - USA doesn't get South Africa, but the host must be hugely pleased with their draw.
Group B - Mexico - interesting group here, with the Mexico/Argentina tie being the most anticipated
Group C - North Korea - rest of group happy with this draw, though N. Korea and Kim Jong-Il huge unknown
Group D - South Korea - pretty solid group here
Group E - USA - great draw for the US. If we get this group I will immediately take celebratory shots and buy a US jersey
Group F - Japan - group of death I would say, especially for Japan
only New Zealand and Australia remain
Group G - Australia - solid group here, nothing easy for England, probably not pleased with the outcome
Group H - last team drawn - New Zealand - Spain and Portugal must be loving their turn of fortune.
There you go. That was fun. I would love this draw in real life. Great for the US. Group F appears to be the "group of death" Loads of interesting match ups, as I'm sure will be the case in real life, so tune in again on Friday for my real World Cup Draw Analysis.