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World Cup Draw Could Favor United States


Two days ahead of the World Cup draw, the United States and Mexico learned they would not be seeded and placed in Pot One. Also surprisingly, given the established formulas for previous seeding, Holland was placed in Pot One, instead of France. MLS Talk Reader Phillip, whose understanding of world football is among the best points out to us that FIFA dumped the existing formula and used the Oct 09’ World Rankings so the Dutch would be seeded instead of France. Had the current rankings been used, France would have been rated ahead of England, potentially causing greater furor in the English speaking world, which is already in a tizzy about Thierry Henry’s handball.

The CONCACAF trio of Mexico, Honduras and the United States will be placed in a pot with Oceania and Asia. Africa’s non seeded teams will be placed in a pot with South America’s non seeded teams.

So what we do know is that the US nor Mexico will not be able to face the two really weak sides in this competition: New Zealand and North Korea. Perhaps, given the political implications of a matchup between the US and North Korea it is for the best. We don’t want a 1998 like draw with Iran, whom the US hasn’t had diplomatic relations with since 1979 or Yugoslavia (Serbia) under Slobodan Milosevic who less than a year later the US and NATO were at war with. So perhaps, avoiding North Korea is a good thing.

Obviously, many fans want to see the US placed in a group with South Africa. Be careful what you wish for, I believe. Playing a home standing side in a World Cup, especially a symbolic one like 2010 will be is never fun. Besides, a group with South Africa must also include a South American team based on the process of the draw.

A preferred group for the US would look something like this:




United States.

This is a group with the right breaks that the US could actually win.

A group of death would look like this:



Ivory Coast

United States

This group could make the 2006 USA group look like child’s play.

Another tough group, but not quite group of death could look like this:




United States

This group would have some possibilities for the US to get out since it would be relatively balanced. Still a last place finish would be distinctly possible.

A middle of the road group would look like this:




United States

Again, the US could finish as high as second or as low as last in this group.

A best case scenario group from where I sit (in which Argentina is not involved) would be to be in a group with Brazil and several weak teams. Brazil takes the maximum six points from the first two matches, inflicting a heavy goal difference, and US plays Brazil in the last match of the group and gets a draw. Even if the US is forced to play the Brazilians earlier in the group, if Brazil takes the maximum nine points, possibilities open up for the US to advance on four points or even just three points.

Here is such a group that would favor the US:




United States

In this group the US would likely have to beat Algeria decisively and draw Switzerland to advance. In the annals of World Cups that’s doing relatively little for a big prize.

What are our readers thoughts on the World Cup draw?

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  1. Charles

    December 3, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Spain only missed once too.

    So Brazil, Italy, Germany made the final 16 6 out of 6 times.
    Mexico, Spain and Argentina made final 16 5 out of 6 times.

    Entertaining myself over here. I am used to it, married with two kids.

  2. Charles

    December 3, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Well I figured it out. IF I told you there were only three teams, I guess, I hope 100% could probably name them.
    Brazil, Germany ( West before the fall ) and Italy.

    There is one problem however. Mexico were disqualified from participating in 1990 because of using overaged youth a youth competition.
    I didn’t keep perfect track, but I believe for one time not making the final 16 only adds Argentina.
    Obviously the goal is to win the whole thing, but as most highly respected nations never even come close……WOW.

  3. Charles

    December 3, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Two things:
    Since I guess I am not going to attend this time, BRING ON THE HORNS !!!

    If I have time I am going to look up how many teams have made the second round every WC for the last 25 years. Mexico has to be in very good company.
    IF anyone has it please post.

  4. Matt

    December 3, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Mexico has a strong World Cup history (not failing to advance out of the first round since 1982 when it did not qualify). U.S. has advanced to the second round in two of the last four World Cups. Other than the officiating disgrace in 2002, Asian teams rarely make the second round. That said, CONCACAF still needs to do more to earn respect.

  5. eplnfl

    December 2, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Well no seed for the USA or Mexico not really a surprise. Yet still a bit of a slap in the face to the region with no seeded team and being put in the pot with the Asian regional teams. If there Concacaf was not going to have a seeded team you think FIFA would put them in a pot with Africa or South America.

    How much of what went on in the seeding was designed to penalize France is debatable. Should England have been seeded is a question in my mind. Yes, the USA could draw SA and would be lucky to do so but that is the only course I see that would make a extended stay in SA come June likely. Short version: Concacaf gets no respect.

    • Peterperfect

      December 2, 2009 at 11:49 pm

      why should you get any respect? what have you done to deserve respect more than the asian nations? How many of you made the second round or further at the last two or three world cups? You really over-estimate the strength of your position.

      I don’t disagree with you entirely, I am just saying that the whole draw is heavily skewed to favour the Europeans more than anyone else in my opinion.

      • Kartik Krishnaiyer

        December 3, 2009 at 8:16 am

        Mexico has made the second round of every World Cup they have participated in since 1986: that’s five world cups in a row. Many European nations don’t have that record.

        The seeding process this time was sham. Based on a world ranking that was adjusted in 2006 SPECIFICALLY to punish the US and Mexico for being too highly ranked before the 06 World Cup. But who believed the US and Mexico were too highly ranked? It was European who said, no way both are top eight national teams. Based on what? Euro-snoberry by European football fans.

        Consider this for a moment before tearing me apart. The new ranking favor Europe a smaller continent with shorter travel distances because they can schedule high profile friendlies against one another in every available window and pump up their world ranking, while also having the shortest qualifying process. Because of geography and the sheer length of the Asian qualifying process, South Korea and Japan cannot schedule as many high profile friendlies thus being penalized in the ranking. The same for CONCACAF and some African nations.

  6. Tom

    December 2, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    With Onyewu out, Davies out, and Dempsey apparently too lazy to put forth any effort for the national team, I fear it will be another ousting in the group stages.

    On a completely unrelated note, I’m glad to see that FIFA approved the vuvuzelas. You might think they’re obnoxious but they truly add a unique atmosphere. It adds a tense background to every match

  7. Seybold

    December 2, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    You’re right, Charles. It would have been much better for CONCACAF to be paired with Africa, so that we’d have a chance to play an Asian team.

    France could create a group of death scenario….but I’m not convinced. As much talent as they have, given how they qualified they will be unpopular and their morale will likely be very low. Furthermore, they are perhaps the worst-coached major side to enter the WC in decades (would anyone seriously trade Bradley for Domenech?). They are much, much less than the sum of their parts.

    • Peterperfect

      December 2, 2009 at 7:36 pm

      You all seem to think that Mexico and the US are the main protaganists in a G.O.D from that group. You are sseriously under-estimating some of the Asian teams. First, Australia are a good professional team and very hard to break down. Latest results include Netherlands 0-0 both teams at full strength. Beating Ireland 3-0 in Dublin. You might think the Asian qualifying process is a joke but the regions bigger teams like Japan, S Korea and Australia have very difficult qualifying conditions. Moving from very hot to very cold climates, at altitude at times and with zero preperation due to players playing in Europe. Be wary is all I’m suggesting. I would be very very concerned if the Ivory Coast was drawn in yor group as they will smoke anyone not in that seeded group. Algeria cannot be taken to lightly.

      New Zealand and South Africa on paper are the easiest teams to defeat in the comp, but pride means a lot.

  8. Jason

    December 2, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    In previous draws, a team was drawn, then their position in the group was drawn, so the pot numbers don’t translate directly to the schedule. The only exception was teams in pot one, go into slot one. I haven’t seen the actually procedures, but I don’t see why it would be different this time.

  9. Charles

    December 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Son of a Pitch,
    Even when you stoop down to an idiot’s level, your post was class.
    Nice post. Perfectly said.
    Go USA !
    I can hardly wait til Friday.

    • USA SUCKS!!

      December 2, 2009 at 4:07 pm

      What makes you so high and mighty, trailer trash cocksucker? You wouldn’t last 2 minutes on my level. Not even one. I’ll drop your ass just as easily as any other chicken shit gringo asshole..

      • Patrick Johnson

        December 2, 2009 at 4:13 pm

        USA Sucks,

        I need a good challenge. You are not high and mighty, just stupid.

        Not only would I last two minutes on your level, you’ll wish you never had the chance to find out.

        If you’re feeling lucky, ask the host of this site to pass on my email address to you and then we can find out how much of a chicken and cockroach you really are.

        • USA SUCKS!!

          December 2, 2009 at 4:21 pm

          The host of this site?? email address?? Youre even more of a bitch than charles is.. YOU JUST TELL ME WHEN AND WHERE, PATRICIA JOHNSON, AND I’LL BREAK MY FOOT OFF IN YOUR ASS..

          • Honduras Eats Ass

            December 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm

            There’s no way that Honduras will make it out of the group stage. Nobody is naming Honduras in a group of death scenario, but everyone is naming either USA or Mexico from the CONCACAF/Asia pot. You’ll be reminded as to why shitty ass Honduras sucks when they get sent home after 3 games just like last time. Honduras hasn’t even been invited to play in Copa America, so even CONMEBOL thinks you suck ass. Too bad Honduras can’t play North Korea so the world can find out who the shittiest team in the World Cup is.

          • Patrick Johnson

            December 2, 2009 at 6:59 pm

            Just get to the Jacksonville Airport and tell me when your flight gets into town.

            You make me laugh. Break off a foot in my backside. You must love living in that never never land of yours. I’ll gladly bring you back to reality.

  10. Charles

    December 2, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Seems to me,
    The US pot is the weakest ( the ones we DONT play ), meaning our competition has the highest odds at being the hardest.
    Does everyone agree on that ?

  11. USA SUCKS!!

    December 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    It doesn’t matter who you all draw. I got 10 g’s that say the us wont even make it out of the group stage. Even if it’s the preferred group with argentina, north korea, and slovenia.. Honduras will do better. They have more quality players, guys in Europe that are key players in their clubs. The us has a buttload of players in Europe, but only a few of them are starters or even regulars. Your best player, bald ass landon Donovan went to bayer Leverkusen and stunk the whole bundesliga up. No, no, no you all should stick to baseball. Usmnt is a toilet chock full of shit.

    • Son of a Pitch

      December 2, 2009 at 2:10 pm

      In an effort to meet your lack of sportsmanship and class, I’ll state that your pick of Honduras making it further than the US is ridiculous. I went to the watch Honduras get mollywhopped by Peru in their last exhibition game. The USMNT might not be a top ten team in this tournament but Honduras isn’t even a top 20 team. If I had a gambling problem I’d probably take you up on that 10 G bet but I think I’ll settle with the satisfaction of knowing your a jackass.

      • USA SUCKS!!

        December 2, 2009 at 3:04 pm

        Son of pitch.. more like son of a whore.. You can take your class and sportsmanship and shove it up your father the faggot’s ass. Just wait and see.. your little national team is going to lose all 3 games. Gimme your address I’ll send you a us national team jersey signed by donovan you can wipe your tears with..

  12. Lars

    December 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    The US will have a tough time qualifying for the 2nd Round, it’s just a fact. The teams that qualified this time around are quite strong in all groups, New Zealand excepted. Algeria is a dream pick, but it’s not exactly a weak side either…

    The ideal draw for the US is:

    South Africa

  13. Tom

    December 2, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Jeff H-
    The schedule is not set. South Africa are A1, but that doesn’t mean the other seeded teams are B1, C1, etc…. They will draw the order (after the groups are chosen) so that the group schedules vary.

  14. Charles

    December 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Great posts for someone that didn’t look hard enough to see how the whole process works. Thanks.
    I went to France in ’98. The Iranians were great to drink beer with a pure joy. The Germans were such A-H— ( cant finish for a family sight like this ), I disowned my heritage. (My grandpa was named Adolph Herman Schmidt)

    My point being, I wouldn’t make assumptions like a NKorea matchup would be a bad thing.

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer

      December 2, 2009 at 12:25 pm

      Good point- I know the Iranian fans were very nice in 1998. Heard the same about 2006. Often times the worst fans are from established Western European powerhouses and Argentina. Often times unbearable.

  15. kevin_amold

    December 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    “So what we do know is that the US nor Mexico will be able to face the two really weak sides in this competition: New Zealand and North Korea.”

    might want to throw in “NOT” in that sentence. It confused me for a while.

  16. Tom

    December 2, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    In your group of death scenerio, I think France or Portugal would be harder than Denmark for the US. So a group of death might be this: Brazil (or England, or Italy, or Germany); France (or Portugal); Ivory Coast, United States.

    I agree with the other comment- order matters. You don’t want to play the best team first (unless it’s Italy- they’re always slow starters).

  17. Jeff H

    December 2, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Actually, FIFA previously released the schedule of games in the group stage based on group and pot. With the US being placed in pot 2 today, it reads that the first match the US would play is against whoever the seeded side of their group is.

    Based on the fact that South Afirca has already been slotted as group A number 1 (which made their schedule known), I think this is correct.

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer

      December 2, 2009 at 12:12 pm

      Oh boy, thanks for the catch Jeff H. Well that throws out one of my positive theories.

      • Patrick Johnson

        December 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm


        Don’t forget, it doesn’t matter which ‘pot of nations’ you get bunched with. Once each group is announced. They will then draw for which nation goes into slots 2-4.

        At least that didn’t change.

  18. Jason

    December 2, 2009 at 11:45 am

    You bring up a point that many people forget. The draw just isn’t about who you play, but also the order you play the games. I would much rather face a strong seeded team last, with the hopes they have 6 points and are already through.

  19. Lee

    December 2, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I agree on RSA.

    That is from the be careful for what you wish file.

    I think massive home support and those vuzeualas (sp?) would be trouble.

    Truthfully, given our inability to effectively break down bunkered third tier CONCACAF teams like Cuba and Guatemala on the road for more than a goal, I think any draw is going to be too much.

    That is unless we can naturalize some players in the next few months.

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