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SBI’s Mock World Cup Draw (Version 2.0)


With today's announcement from FIFA establishing which teams will be in the four pots ahead of Friday's World Cup Draw, we can now focus on a more accurate attempt at a mock World Cup Draw.

In our first mock draw, the U.S. national team wound up in a group with Spain, Greece and Uruguay, which wasn't quite a Group of Death, but a tough group nonetheless. This time around, the Americans once again managed to avoid a truly brutal group, but the three teams they drew will still pose serious challenges.

Before we get to the USA's group, consider the following match-ups that emerged from our latest Mock Draw:

Italy vs. France in a rematch of the 2006 World Cup Final

Argentina vs. Mexico in a rematch of their memorable 2006 Round of 16 match

England vs. Portugal in a rematch of their 2006 penalty shootout quarterfinal

Netherlands vs. Ivory Coast in a battle of the best orange-clad teams in the world

Serbia vs. Germanyin a battle of Neven Subotic against the team he really wanted to play for

These are just some of the quality match-ups. Here is the full Mock World Cup Draw:

SBI Mock 2010 World Cup Draw (v. 2.0)

GROUP A– South Africa, Denmark, North Korea, Uruguay

GROUP B– Italy, France, Australia, Algeria

GROUP C– Argentina, Mexico, Switzerland, Cameroon

GROUP D– Spain, Honduras, Greece, Nigeria

GROUP E– Netherlands, Ivory Coast, Japan, Slovakia,

GROUP F– England, Portugal, Paraguay, South Korea

GROUP G– Brazil, Ghana, USA, Slovenia

GROUP H– Chile, New Zealand, Serbia, Germany

Yes, the Americans find themselves in another Confederations Cup rematch, this time against Brazil in a replay of the Confederations Cup final won by Brazil.

You can call the USA's group the Group of Revenge, with the Americans getting another crack at Ghana, the team that knocked the USA out of the 2006 World Cup.

The Americans also draw Slovenia, widely-regarded as one of the weakest teams in the European Pot, but still a team that knocked out Russia in the UEFA playoffs.

Overall, the draw could have been easier for the Americans, but with Ghana looking weaker than its 2006 version and Slovenia being a better option than some others in the European pot, the U.S. team could have done much worse.

So which is the Group of Death? Group F, with England, Portugal and Paraguay is arguably the toughest, while Group B, with Italy, France and Australia, can also stake a claim. Group G with Germany, Serbia and Chile is no cake-walk either.

The toughest group of them all may actually be Group D, with Spain, Greece, Honduras and Nigeria. Honduras is probably considered the weakest of these teams, but the 'Catrachos' have the players to give anybody a run. Nigeria is an enigmatic team that can play great, or fall apart.

The easiest of these groups? Group A by a mile. If this group is drawn, Danish fans will celebrate in the streets of Copenhagen.

What do you think of this mock draw? Like the U.S. team's chances to advance out of its group? Happy to see France drawn into such a tough group? Which non-USA matches would you look forward to the most?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The whole draw for groupings is a farce. Why reinvent the wheel? Use your freaking rankings, FIFA! Use a standard 32 team bracket and apply the S curve (Big Dance fans know what this means). And you can still apply special federation rules :

    – no more than 2 UEFA teams in same group

    – only one team from each of the other federations in each group

    And since FIFA rankings stink, let’s use ESPN’s (Nate Silver’s) SPI. Some teams would have to be shifted up or down one group to satisfy the rules, but this is easily done, This would be FAR more fair than anything we are likely to see tomorrow. Which means that FIFA, in its infinite stupidity and corruption, will never get anywhere near them.

  2. To whoever said that these draws are rigged…


  3. Does anyone know how they rank the teams beyond the top 8 seeds? I ask because I have tix for two games, Group D 1v2 and Gp E 1v2. I assumed the pot with the European teams would be the ‘2’ seeds, but I see that the Asia/CONCACAF pot is actually pot #2 – does that mean they would technically be the 2 seed? Not sure if that makes sense.

  4. Thanks a lot pux90mex!! Now I’m going to be on this sh*t until Friday morning!! Anyway, I drew the US team Argentina, Ivory Coast and Slovakia. Very tough? Yes. Group of Death? Not so sure…

  5. Ives, get the pots in the right order.

    Group H is messed up with Germany 4th.

    I thought the seeds were Pot 1.

    Pot 2 = CONCACAF/Asia/Oceania

    Pot 3 = Africa/CONMEBOL

    Pot 4 = Rest of UEFA

    Anyway, unless we luck out and get SA, we’ll likely have a tough group.

    If we avoid Portugal/France, we won’t be in the Group of Death, as a lot of the UEFA semi-heavies (Russia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Sweden) didn’t qualify, and instead we have Slovenia, Greece, Slovakia, Denmark, Switzerland, and Serbia).

    (SBI-Jason, the point of the groups was to list the four teams. Who exactly cares that they’re not in pot order?)

  6. To further clarify, my intention is to find the worst draws for the U.S., which I believe to be any of the top seven seeds combined with one or more of the 2 best teams in the other pots.

  7. I’m expressing my GoD as an OR problem, which is what makes it tricky.

    I’m not 100% sure I did the probabilities right, but it should be close.

    Put it this way, if France, Portugal, Chile, Cote D’Ivoire were all drawn into different groups in B-H, the U.S. would have a 50% chance of falling into a GoD, since I define a GoD as having Fra/Por OR Chile/CDI, plus a top seed, plus USA. You’re right, having all 4 in the same group is about a 5% chance, but it’s not the full probability for my OR problem.

    The minimum possible GoD’s (my def) is 1, in which case the U.S. would have a 12.5% chance of landing in it.

    The actual chance lies somewhere in between. In other words, we have a fair chance of being in B – H and meeting one of those teams.

    It was fun to play around with, anyway.

  8. If USA would have won both Confederations Cup and Gold Cup I think USA would have been top 7

    (SBI- If USA were ranked in the top 7 then FIFA would have found a different seeding formula.)

  9. Omar,

    I don’t know the specifics on the system either, though my gut feeling is that it wouldn’t have bumped us up that much. I just had to comment on your avatar. Kai Haaskivi would be proud! Go Force!

  10. In all honesty, the WC is a little different than the Confederations Cup. If we played Spain again, it would be 3-0 no joke. Brazil would wipe the floor with us too.

  11. well technically a group with spain/brazil AND france/portugal AND cote d’ivoire/praguay IS what a GROUP of death is to be considered?

    otherwise it really isn’t a group of death it is just a ‘group of your going to probably get your ass beat’.

    i guess if your definition is any pot 1 other than s. africa AND France/Portugal AND CdI/Par then it would be slightly different: 87.5% * 25% * 25% = 5.5% … again only approximately since the regional exclusions come a bit into play. This might be considered a “group of death” while the 1.6% scenario above is a “group of ultimate death”.

    but i hardly think that ANY top seed aside from S. Africa AND just one other tough team from either pot 3/pot4 makes a group of death. firstly the media wouldn’t consider it so. unfortunately the US is in the ‘minnow’ pot so for it to be a group of death i think that we wouldn’t factor in so it would require 3 other teams to be ‘death’ worthy which is my scenario in this comment.

    what you described is what is most likely to happen. get a normal top seed (not S. Af), get one tough draw and one normal draw plus the US. I would call your scenario the “uphill battle” or “typically tough” group.

    but that is just me.

  12. I was thinking about this today…

    How about this potential group.





    I would love to see Mexico stuck with this group.

    (SBI-That’s definitely a tough group, but that’s four teams with styles Mexico can match up with. I think a tougher draw for them would be teams like Ivory Coast, Denmark or France and Italy or England.)

  13. the full us squad proved late in the confederations cup that they can compete with the best. However they have yet to do it consistently. it will be interesting what group they receive,hopefully they could even advance in a group of death. it all depends on how they play.

  14. I would be very happy with this draw.

    I also compared the other draws that we could have got with this mock (substituting the US for the representative from our pot).

    Group A…South Africa/Denmark/Uruguay

    Group B…Italy/France/Algeria

    Group C…Argentina/Switzerland/Cameroon

    Group D…Spain/Greece/Nigeria

    Group E…Netherlands/Ivory Coast/Slovakia

    Group F…England/Portugal/Paraguay

    Group H…Germany/Serbia/Chile

    Looking at these potential groups, I would think Groups E & F would be the worst for us. While Groups A & C would be the best.

  15. Then, of course, it could be Danzig, Upper Volta and Muscat and Oman. You just never know with those crrrrazzy FIFA types. 😉


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