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World Cup Qualifying

This is the 2014 World Cup field

2014FIFAWorldCuplogo2 (FIFA)

By DAN KARELL

With Uruguay’s scoreless draw against Jordan on Wednesday evening and their 5-0 aggregate victory, the 32-team field for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is set.

The South Americans were the last nation to earn a berth in the World Cup after a qualifying process that began with Belize defeating Monserrat, 5-2, on June 15, 2011 in CONCACAF. A total of 824 qualifying matches were played since then, culminating with Wednesday’s scoreless draw in Montevideo. Uruguay joined Mexico, Portugal, Croatia, Greece, and France as the last nations to qualify for the tournament.

All 32 qualified countries now will wait, some with baited breath, for the FIFA World Cup draw in Bahia, Brazil, on Dec. 6.

Here’s a full look at the nations that qualified for the 2014 World Cup:

WORLD CUP 2014 NATIONS

Algeria

Argentina

Australia

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Brazil

Cameroon

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Croatia

Ecuador

England

France

Germany

Ghana

Greece

Honduras

Iran

Italy

Ivory Coast

Japan

Mexico

Netherlands

Nigeria

Portugal

Russia

South Korea

Spain

Switzerland

United States

Uruguay

——–

What do you think of the World Cup field? Which nations are your favorites? Who do you see as the dark horses of the tournament? Any surprises in the field?

Share your thoughts below.

118 comments
      • Lorenzo

        BUT in reality everyone knows it is really really hard to win a world cup, and you can come in ranked well, but really it has always been the strong history and storied nations that have made it.

        Belgium is not a storied nation like Netherlands, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, etc.

        If they won that definitely would be a surprise.

        Like

      • Increase

        Japan can be amazing. They match up really well with sometimes. Not so much with others.

        Like

      • Gary Page

        Japan just beat Holland in Belgium, but they really disappointed in the Confederations Cup, so they seem hard to predict. On paper they look good, but I think physical teams will give them problems. Belgium is another team that has great personnel, but hasn’t been in the WC for a long time. I see them getting to the quarters and then losing.

        Like

    • Lorenzo

      I know everyone thinks they are going to get the “group of death”, (as I’ve read in headlines from Ghana and England), but really almost all of the groups are going to be pretty tough.

      Honestly, where are all the weak teams for easy groups? Honduras, Iran in Pot 2, Algeria in Pot 3. Even a group with Honduras could end up having Brazil, France, and Italy. Iran could be with Argentina, Ghana, and the Netherlands.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t any easy groups.

      Like

  • Jonny

    I have a hard time seeing a really weak group. Competition is tighter. Impressive field. Should be a great world cup in a spiritual center for football.

    Like

    • blokhin

      there is way to make these things happen, you know. Just look at how a tiny country in the hottest place on earth got to host a World Cup that will require three years’ worth of club seasons to be moved! Amazing! Miracle$ can happen….

      Like

    • Increase

      That is an awesome draw. Free win from France. Draw with Greece and then assume that Greece draws everyone and we are through. France bottom of the group.

      I have such confidence in France.

      Like

  • MLSatlanta

    The first simulation I did was Argentina, USA, France and Netherlands…😦

    I agree with most people here saying that every group looks like it could be potentially really tough. We might have more talent than ever right now, but can be as resilient as Bob Bradley’s team? What an emotional roller coaster 2010 was..

    Like

  • ProfessorPlum

    holy f*ck, first time I tried the simulator it came up with this for the US group:

    Colombia
    United States
    France
    Netherlands

    Like

  • KingGoogleyEye

    All you group-o-death generators need to stop jinxing it. The first time I ran it, I got Columbia – USA – Algeria – Bosnia-Herzegovina. The second time I got: Switzerland – USA – Ecuador – Russia

    Like

    • Adam M.

      I ran five and all of them are very difficult but not impossible. None were worst case or best case:
      Uruguay, US, Nigeria, Russia.
      Argentina, US, Cameroon, Greece
      Argentina, US, Ghana, Bosnia
      Belgium, US, Ivory Coast, England
      Columbia, US, Ivory Coast, Russia

      Like

  • Withdrawn Striker

    Related question: Do people think that our #13 FIFA ranking is accurate? (My own gut feeling is that #20 or so would be a better reflection of our actual strength.)

    Like

    • Benny

      I think we’ll have a better sense of what our real ranking is 2-3 months before the WC. We need to see our complete squad in a friendly in March

      Like

      • jefpal

        I think the full strength U.S. squad is ranked more or less where it deserves to be. Maybe a spot or three too high, but not too far off. Yes, we could quite possibly lose to any one of 20 or 25 teams, but many of those same teams could easily lose to us as well.

        Like

    • usaalltheway

      I just got…

      Argentina, France and Italy.

      How is that for you?? I think I have to clean my underwear now…

      Like

    • Luetchy

      13:00 in Salvador, Brazil
      11:00 Eastern US
      Streaming on FIFA.com. If it’s on TV, it will be on ESPN.

      WARNING: Be careful when thinking about what time the World Cup games will be on. Instead of a 2-hr difference, it will be a 4-hr difference because of opposite Daylight Savings Time.

      Like

      • Eric B

        Game times will be MUCH better than the early morning times when it was in South Korea/Japan in 2002. I had trouble not waking up the whole family yelling at the TV during the US win over Portugal!

        Like

      • Luetchy

        Haha yes, I remember getting up at 3am for those. For this World Cup you will just have to leave work early.

        Like

    • midwest ref

      I don’t think FIFA has officially listed the pots yet. You have the top 7 +1 Brazil, which is really the top 8. The other 3 pots are based on past WC draws. It would make sense that Asia and CONCACAF are in 1, as they both have 8 teams. the next 8 Euro teams make a pot and then the remaining teams with Africa.

      Like

    • Luetchy

      The Ultra-Zone simulator is the best guess using the same criteria as the last World Cup. AFC/CONACAF in Pot 2, unseeded UEFA in Pot 4, and the rest in Pot 3. France would get put into Pot 3 because they are the lowest ranked UEFA team.

      Like

  • Maykol

    I got usa, germany, Ghana, holland
    Then mexico, Greece, Colombia, France. Who’s more likely to make it out if any, usa or mexico?

    Like

    • Rob Jones

      Neither would make it through those groups. Germany/Holland in the US group advance and Colombia/France in the Mexico group.

      Like

      • MLSsnob

        I could see Greece pulling that uspset on France. Their style of play fits that and they’ve done it before in the 2004 Euros.

        Like

  • Rob Jones

    This is a stacked world cup, a lot of good teams… I’m going to run down what I got for every CONCACAF team in the draw simulator and my thoughts.

    For The Yanks

    Group A:

    Brazil
    USA
    Ghana
    Netherlands

    I’m afraid it would be 3 and out for The Stars and Stripes, they have NO chance here, sorry. Brazil the host nation is untouchable for the USMNT, Ghana repeatedly gets the best of them, the USA is also out of Holland’s league, Robben and Van Persie would have a field day.

    For Mexico’s group I got

    Uruguay
    Mexico
    Cameroon
    Bosnia-Herzegovina

    Mexico’s group is slightly more accessible but they could still have huge problems if they don’t shore up their backline. If they get Hector Moreno/Diego Reyes back into the starting 11 they would have a chance to get out of this group along with Uruguay which is the clear favorite to clinch 1st place, but if they stick with Maza Rodriguez and Topo Valenzuela then things look bleak.

    For Honduras

    Argentina
    Honduras
    Côte d’Ivoire
    England

    3 and out for Honduras in this group too, after how badly they were wrecked by Brazil I have zero expectations for this team, this team is extremely limited, and if they hack at the opposition as much as they did on Neymar then they’re looking at multiple cards and suspensions.

    For Costa Rica I got this

    Colombia
    Costa Rica
    France
    Greece

    Nope. Costa Rica has no shot vs Colombia or France, and Greece is no pushover either. If these were the groups then I’m confident every single CONCACAF team would go 3 and out. Well, MAYBE apart Mexico who would have the easiest group out of the 4 teams.

    Like

    • Benny

      Even though I agree that is the worst group ever for any B pot holder, I would not go as far as saying it would be impossible for the U.S. to get out of it. The U.S, is more than capable of beating Ghana and the U.S. is always good for upsetting at least one big giant. However, I rather have another B pot represented falling into this group. The U.S. might get a difficult group but I doubt it would be this one. If the U.S. can avoid the Netherland or Italy in Pot D, they have a great chance of getting out. The simulator is just for fun. Come December 6, I guess we all will know for sure.

      Like

  • Brain Guy

    Just so we all can get our wish lists in order, and given the different seedlings and so forth, it would be nice to see the best possible draw for the US.

    Like

    • Nate

      Let’s break it down by the pots as listed here:

      From Pot 1: Uruguay or Switzerland – I know Uruguay is very highly ranked, but they have been struggling lately (and Luis Suarez is a terrible human being so they deserve to lose). Also Switzerland because everyone else in that pot is ridiculous.

      From Pot 2: USA! All the way! I would love to build a group from just this pot, but sadly we don’t get to play Australia or Costa Rica in the group stage.

      From Pot 3: The only one I’d be happy about is Algeria, but I’m not afraid of anyone but Chile.

      From Pot 4: England, Greece, BiH, or Croatia. This pot is half very, very good and half just very good, so we want one of the very good teams.

      In short, we’re going to need to beat some good teams to get out of the group, but hey, it’s the World Cup! We’re not going there to lose.

      Like

      • AcidBurn

        From Pot 3 I would say the following:

        NO WAY JOSE: Ghana, Ivory Coast, France, Chile

        GO DO WORK: Cameroon, Nigeria, Ecuador

        GIVE ME PLEASE: Algeria

        Like

      • KingGoogleyEye

        Nate: nice work. Adding to what AcidBurn does here, it would be interesting to see you further break down your Pots:

        Pot 1:
        Okay: Swi, Uru
        Dangerous: Bel, Arg, Col
        Ridiculous: Bra, Spa, Ger

        Pot 2: yeah, everyone would like to play against only these teams. The weakest Pot for certain.
        Weak: Ira, Aus, Hon
        Okay: Kor, CRC
        Solid: Jap, USA, Mex (?)

        Pot 3:
        Okay: Cam, Alg, Ecu, Nig
        Solid: Chi, CIV
        Dangerous: Gha, Fra

        Pot 4:
        Okay: Gre, BIH, Rus
        Solid-ish: Cro
        Solid: Eng, Por
        Dangerous: Net, Ita

        Like

  • Joe

    Argentina, USA, France, Algeria
    Brazil, USA, Cote d’Ivoire, Bosnia/Herz
    Germany, USA, Algeria, Greece
    Colombia, USA, Nigeria, England
    Germany, USA, Ecuador Netherlands

    These are all tough groups.

    None of these were as bad as my second attempt… Argentina, USA, France, Italy!!! Group of Death!

    Like

    • usaalltheway

      All the draws are looking terrible. Even teams like Greece are solid. The only teams we will beat handily will be Iran or Australia. The rest is in JK’s hands and I don’t feel good about that. AT ALL.

      Like

  • BamaMan

    Tried it several different times. One scenario that popped up more than once was us in a group with both Germany and the Netherlands. Woe unto that scenario. How they had the gall to put the Netherlands and Italy in the second UEFA pot while putting Switzerland in the first is beyond me.

    Like

    • Nate

      It’s based on the FIFA rankings – Switzerland is just ahead of the Netherlands there, so they’re in Pot 1. The Swiss are actually only ahead by two points, so if Holland had won one game instead of tying, or tied instead of lost, even three years ago, it would be in Pot 1 instead. Go figure.

      Like

      • AcidBurn

        As mentioned before, the Swiss are seeded because:

        1. The Netherlands played a bunch of friendlies which lowered their ranking
        2. Italy tied a meaningless WCQ match
        3. The Swiss won against 2 lower-level European teams, but since they were WCQ’s, got huge points in the FIFA formula.

        It’s ridiculous, really. The two WCQ wins (over Slovenia and Albania) vaulted them up 7 places. The Swiss also went undefeated in WCQ, but their group was Iceland, Slovenia, Norway, Albania, Cyprus.

        Like

      • Gary Page

        The Swiss experience is a good counter argument to all the Euro snobs who always talk about how the US could never qualify if they played in Europe. Every Euro group had a minnow and a lesser nation or two lesser nations like Albania and Cyprus.

        Like

  • Old Gold & Black

    If we avoid the Netherlands, getting out of the group is a craphsoot. If we are drawn with Van Persie & Co., the job becomes much more difficult.

    But remember, nobody wants to draw us from Pot 2 either.

    Like

    • automata

      Very true, but last time we played the Netherlands, we only lost 2-1 in their house, with Bornstein being accountable for both goals…ha, pretty sure he won’t plane this time around.

      Like

    • Gary Page

      Dutch defense is still suspect; the key is holding down their scoring. Japan just beat them but the Dutch didn’t have van Persie or Huntelaar.

      Like

  • Beto

    Ya its going to be a lot more difficult this time around. There are no crazy upsets in playoffs… 31 really good teams and then Honduras.. Jk

    My favorites to win it all:
    Brazil
    Argentina
    Portugal

    Dark horses:
    Colombia
    USA!!!!
    ….Mexico?

    Like

  • Impartial Observer

    I’ve been simulating draws and ranking each group any team in pot B gets with 3 subjective descriptions at my discretion: good, ok and bad.

    So far these have been my findings:
    Chances of getting a bad group: 45.833%
    Chances of getting a good group: 29.16%
    Chances of getting an ok group: 25%

    Some people will be more pessimistic or optimistic about certain groups than I was, I’d like to see others try the same experiment and report what their findings were.

    Like

  • Snack Time

    There’s a problem with this simulator. It allows 3 European teams to be drawn together. For example, Germany, France, Netherlands, USA.

    This situation was avoided in 2006 by having a “special pot” for Serbia, which ensured that they would not be grouped with more than 1 other European team.

    Like

  • the original jb

    There aren’t really any “easy” teams to be paired with, it’s going to be really tough. Odds are definitely for us getting stuck with one, maybe two world powers, and then 1 or 2 teams at about our level when we play our best. Just getting out of the group stage will be extremely difficult.

    Like

  • biff

    The only team that scares the daylights out of me is Brazil. I think the USMNT on a good day has the potential to take at least a point in group play against any of the other teams and I think that if the USMNT meets Germany in group or the knock-out round that we will kick their b*tts. Germany has some serious problems, with Number One being Jogi Low. I predict epic failure for Germany in Brazil.

    Like

    • AcidBurn

      Even if the US gets drawn with Brazil, it’s not a given that they are done. Totally depends on the other two teams in the Group.

      They could always get Brazil-USA-Greece-Algeria or something like that and people would like the US’s chances of getting out of the group.

      Plus, depending on where each team was placed may be quite important. Imagine if the US plays Brazil in the third game, where both the US and Brazil win their first two games.

      Like

      • Old Gold & Black

        Seeded teams play opponents in order of pot. So if we end up in pot 2 then we will play the seeded teams first. And I prefer that. Better chance to catch them off their game/rusty I think.

        MatchDay 1
        1 v. 2
        3 v. 4

        MatchDay 2
        1 vs. 3
        2 vs.4

        MatchDay 3
        1 vs. 4
        2 vs.3

        Like

      • chuck

        No. The match order is drawn as well. For example, the US is drawn out of pot 2 (concacaf and Asia) and then gets another ball drawn which will determine its group and position, say A2 will be the team playing Brazil in the opening match.

        Like

    • KingGoogleyEye

      biff: I don’t see how the US could get through Germany’s back line, and I can see how their attack would cause serious problems for the US’s back line. The only place where I see the US fairing well in that match-up is the mid-field (and that all depends on which Jermaine Jones shows up). Earn a point? yes. Kick b*tt? no.

      Like

  • KingGoogleyEye

    So what do people think would be the deathiest Group of Death possible? Not just from the US perspective, but from anyone’s? I think: Brazil – USA – France – Italy

    Like

  • ilikefreddyyesadu

    Hopefully Ghana is placed in a group far from USA so we avoid them until the semis!

    Like

  • Roman Lewandowski

    Which key player do you think will be injured for WC 2014?

    The obvious guess is Fab Johnson.

    Like

    • KingGoogleyEye

      No, the obvious one is Steve Cherundolo.

      After him, FabJo is a good (in which case it’s bad) bet.

      Like

  • KingGoogleyEye

    How about a team made up of the Did Not Qualifys: players from around the world on teams that fell *early* in the qualification process (so no one from Sweden, Panama, or Senegal, for examples, because they failed late).

    Just think: Lewandowski (Poland), Hamsik (Slovakia), Bale and Ramsey (Wales), Cech (Czech Republic), Alaba (Austria), Ivanovic (Serbia), Mkhitaryan (Armenia), Pizarro (Peru), Cardozo (Paraguay).

    Who am I missing? (Maybe Chicharit—oh wait, they qualified didn’t they.)

    Like

  • usaalltheway

    I just ran several draws…all of them bad. 😦

    This World Cup is going to be brutal for the USMNT. I highly doubt we will get out of our group.

    JK has 6 stressful months coming up. He needs to get the team in-line and quickly or our back four are going to be the laughing stock of the tournament. Bradley and Jozy need to have guardian angels around them at all times so they don’t get hurt and Lichaj needs to shine in every minute of every game he plays, both for club and country.

    I really don’t care much for the Brazilian national team but being half-Brazilian and living in Brazil makes things at least a little more interesting for me.

    On another note, I hope France crashes and burns. I hope Ghana gets destroyed. Both those teams shouldn’t be there.

    Like

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