World Awaits World Cup Draw


world cup logo There is no sporting event without any actual play, that is more watched than the World Cup draw. Just perhaps the splendour of the Beijing Olympic opening ceremony may shade it in terms of viewing figures, but that lacks the one thing any kind of draw possesses – drama.

Live World Cup Draw

32 nations await their fate. It is of course far from random. The 32 sides will be separated into four Pots. Pot 1 contains the seeded nations, none of whom can be drawn to face each other. Each group will have one of these seeds, and the group includes hosts South Africa. The exact identity of the seeds is not going to be revealed until tomorrow, but it is a sure bet that it will look not unlike this: South Africa, Germany, Brazil, Italy, England, Spain, Argentina and France.

This means that the USA can be sure of having one of these in their group.

The USA will almost certainly be in Pot 2, a Pot made up of seeds 9-16. This Pot will look something like this: Portugal, Netherlands, Mexico, USA, Switzerland, Paraguay, Ghana and South Korea. Avoiding the powerful Dutch is a bonus, and they, perhaps along with Ghana and Portugal, may be the Pot 2 sides, the seeds want to avoid.

Two sides qualify from each group of four, so there is one school of thought that maintains that it is not who you draw from Pot 1, but who you draw from Pot 3 that determines how tough the group is going to be. Pot 3 may look a little like this: Japan, Australia, Greece, Côte d’Ivoire, Serbia, Denmark, Nigeria and Cameroon. The presence of three African countries there forces the question, will the location of the tournament on the continent of Africa make African sides a more formidable opponent? The obvious answer is yes, the more nuanced answer is that, as almost all their star players perform in Europe anyway, there is no reason why they would have been at a disadvantage beforehand, and therefore no extra advantage may accrue, except a more vocal presence in the stadium. Not having the support of the crowd is hardly a new phenomenon to the USA, so you could argue that Sam’s Army have nothing to fear from one of the weaker African sides, like Cameroon. Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) look a formidable side though, with Didier Drogba leading the line. Given the artificial restrictions in place to prevent any of the groups being overloaded with European sides, it is statistically more likely than 3 in 8, that the USA will find Greece, Denmark or Serbia in their groups (if those indeed are the Pot 3 European sides).

Pot 4 is the most intriguing in some ways. The cut off point for quality sides in the 32 doesn’t stop at 24. As a result, there are some very strong sides in Pot 4 and some minnows. Pot 4 should look something like this: Uruguay, Chile, Honduras, Slovakia, Slovenia, Algeria, New Zealand and North Korea. Slovakia waltzed through a very tough European group that included Slovenia, Czech Republic and Poland. They are one to avoid in Pot 4. The USA will be prevented from pulling Honduras as no two sides from CONCACAF can meet. Although forced into a play-off Uruguay will be hard, but not unbeatable. The plum draw is New Zealand, by some distance the weakest side in the group. Little is known about the North Koreans, and should the USA draw them, the World Cup is sure to find a few more column inches on politics pages. Chile qualified from the South American group fairly impressively, and may also be one to avoid from Pot 4.

FIFA will reveal the exact seedings tomorrow and the draw will take place on Friday morning in South Africa.


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