Tim's World Cup Draw in Brief
With every second, minute and hour we are creeping inexorably slowly towards the main sporting bonanza of summer 2014: the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Of course, with such a major event, there is an exhausting amount of hype and hyperbole to wade through, but last Friday an occasion took place that will actually have a huge influence on the tournaments outcome: the World Cup draw itself.
With this event being of such great importance, it is necessary to briefly explain how exactly this works. The 32 teams from 5 different continents that got through the preliminary qualifying rounds were all split up into 4 separate pots:
- The 8 seeds (the highest ranked teams in the world, according to FIFA);
- The Asian & North American teams;
- The African & South American teams;
- The European teams.
team was then drawn from every pot to go into each group, meaning there
would be 4 teams who were from different parts of the globe in each
there are teams that national coaches have nightmares about drawing
(e.g. the champions, Spain) and equally there are those whose appearance
in a group would be an early Christmas present for all concerned
(Honduras and Iran are looking over their respective shoulders with
concern). Thus, a favourable draw can result in easy passage to the
knock-out stages and beyond, while a tumble into a clichéd yet
ever-present “group of death” has been known to be the end of the line
for even the greatest of teams.
The draw took place with much aplomb on Friday 6th in Costa de Sauipe, Brazil, and ended weeks of frantic guesswork and desperate dreaming that had consumed the minds of fans the world over.
The major losers were probably the Kangaroos of Australia: a promising team, they were unlucky enough to draw the two finalists from the last tournament, Spain and the Netherlands, as well as drawing a formidable Chile team led by Barcelona striker Alexis Sanchez. Also, Costa Rica, ranked 50th in the world, may not fancy their chances escaping a group containing 2006 winners Italy, a strong England side and Uruguay, whose star striker Luis Suarez is scoring goals for fun at Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League.
Amongst those who will be counting their stars are France, who qualified by the skin of their teeth yet draw arguably the easiest group of all, that of Ecuador, Honduras and Switzerland. Also, Argentina will not have too many sleepless nights over taking on Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria.
In the end, of course, the real winner was the viewing public all round the world, with so many appetizing clashes being thrown up for us all to look forward to with bated breath. Despite being six months before the main event, this draw was a major step on the road to the footballing festival that starts with Brazil vs Croatia in Rio de Janeiro on 12th June. Contar os dias!
(To see the groups in full, you can try http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/world-cup/table or http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/index.html)