If you examined the way FIFA organized the World Cup Draw, you knew this was a strong possibility. The draw for the 32 team field occurred yesterday and the US Soccer team are in the group of Megadeath. Why? Because FIFA doesn’t respect or value teams from North and Central America, Asia, and Africa… Because FIFA always seems to clear a path deep into the tournament for the host nation (as if Brazil needs favors on home soil)… Because FIFA needs to modernize its tourney setup.
So we land in Group G:
That, folks, is one of the toughest groups ever. You have Germany, arguably the best team in Europe, who qualified nearly flawlessly. You have Ghana, the one of the top qualifiers from Africa and arguable the best team from that region. Portugal nearly did not qualify, but they have one of the world’s best players and loads of talent. And there’s Team America, who topped CONCACAF qualification and are the best team from the region.
If you go by FIFA’s admittedly flawed world rankings, you have Germany #2, Portugal #5, USA #14, and Ghana #24. Other groups are top heavy (Spain and Holland in B; Italy and Uruguay in Group D), but none is tougher than G. Meanwhile, Argentina and hosts Brazil received remarkably easy and favorable groups… Almost as if FIFA wants the South Americans to advance.
At any rate, if you seeded the teams from 1 to 32, NCAA tournament style, you would never come up with something like this. In that scenario the USA would still match up with Germany, but the other two teams would be Bosnia and Cameroon. Yeah, we’d definitely favor that scenario. Now FIFA’s not likely to every go to something like straight seeding, but at least they could organize the four drawing pots by seed in ranking. In that scenario the USA would have been in Pot B, as the equivalent of a #2 seed (along with Portugal) instead of Pot D, which was essentially a #4 seed. Yes, we really got hosed yesterday.