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Deciphering The 2014 World Cup Draw: Who Got Lucky and Who's Got It Tough Before A Ball Is Kicked In Brazil?

Wednesday 11th December 2013
As expected, the 2014 World Cup draw has thrown up a number of exciting groups which will no doubt produced some engrossing fixtures throughout the opening two weeks of the tournament in Brazil next June, Jack Kitson goes through each of the groups.

Here's a look at how the 32 teams have been split amongst the eight groups as the process of deciphering who's got lucky and which teams have got their work cut out to progress to the knock-out stages of the competition.

The proverbial “Group of Death” is widely considered to be Group B as it brings together both the winners and runners-up of four years ago, Spain and Netherlands, along with Chile and Australia. However, it is not the only captivating group as Group C, which contains Uruguay, England, Italy and Costa Rica looks tough while Group G features Germany, Portugal, Ghana and the United States, who will all be heading to South America with aspirations of progressing from the group but two will be left disappointed, along with 14 other teams who will be heading home early.

Group A - Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

Hosts Brazil will be very satisfied with their draw for the 2014 World Cup. Phil Scolari's side will be expected to breeze through their opening three fixtures, although they definitely won't underestimate the challenge posed by Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon, who are all capable of springing a shock results but with home advantage, the Samba Boys are expected to progress with maximum points.

Brazil are still the overwhelming 2/9 favourites to win the group, while they remain the 100/30 frontrunners to win the competition on home soil. The real tussle will be for the runners-up spot, and the final match between Croatia and Mexico could ultimately prove to be pivotal.

Group B - Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia

Defending champions Spain face a tricky passage through to the knockout stages after being drawn against the Netherlands, Chile and Australia in what promises to be a pulsating Group B. The group gets off to an explosive start with Spain and the Netherlands locking horns in the opening game, which is coincidently a repeat of the 2014 Final in South Africa and the winner of that will surely assume the driving seat to win the group.

The duo will no doubt also be fearing the challenge of Chile who have enjoyed an electric 2013, recording 2-0 victories over England and Uruguay, along with 2-2 draws against both Spain and Brazil. Australia are undoubtedly the underdogs, although they will be more than capable of giving the opposing trio something to think about as they showed in 2006 when reaching the last 16.

It is Spain though who are favourites to win the group at 4/5 with the Netherlands a 2/1 chance, Chilli 9/2 and the Socceroos the 66/1 outsiders of the quartet.

Group C - Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

Group C is arguably the most open of the eight groups. South American outfit Colombia will start as the 1/4 favourites to progress and they will fancy their chances having avoided the traditional European heavyweights, with Greece Europe's representative in this group. Colombia enjoyed a cracking qualifying campaign, finishing second behind Argentina and with the likes of Radamel Falcao in their ranks they will be confident of winning the group and could be a tournament dark horse.

However, it will be by no means straight-forward for José Pékerman's men who must face testing fixtures against the Ivory Coast and Japan in addition to Greece. Of those three teams, the Ivory Coast are the shortest of the others at 4/5 to qualify the knockout stages, with Japan priced at 6/5, and Greece at 9/4.

Group D - Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

England have a daunting task ahead of them after being pulled out to contest a nightmare group containing Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica. The Three Lions were desperately hoping for a kind passage through to the latter stages but will now have to fight tooth and nail to reach the last 16.

Roy Hodgson's men will also have to deal with the scorching and uncomfortably humid temperatures of the Amazonian Rain Forest as they head to the city of Manaus for their opening game against Italy, who knocked them out of Euro 2012. They will then face Luis Suarez and Co. in Sao Paulo, before coming up against Costa Rica in their third and final game. The betting couldn't be any closerwith most bookmakers installing Italy the narrowest of favourites for top spot at 7/4, with Uruguay and England just behind at 15/8 and 2/1 respectively, illustrating how tough this one is to call. At 100/1 to top the group and 12/1 to qualify, it would appear that Costa Rica are the whipping boys of the group and the fact England play them last could work in the favour of Hodgson's men.

Group E - Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras

The 1998 World Cup champions France are undoubtedly the luckiest of all the 32 teams heading to Brazil following last week's draw. As the lowest European qualifier, many assumed that 'Les Bleus' would be the team chosen to go into Pot 2, however, FIFA decided to pick a European team at random from Pot 4, which in the end was Italy and subsequently worked wonders for the French who have been drawn alongside Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras. Didier Deschamps' men are the 4/5 odds-on favourites to come out on top, while it is likely to be a two-team battle for second spot between Switzerland and Ecuador.

Group F - Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria

Argentina are considered by many to be Brazil's main rivals for the cup - although it is worth mentioning that no team drawn in Group F has ever won a World Cup!

Alejandro Sabella's side won the highly competitive South American qualification zone and boast a squad brimming with talent, whose players will be used to the conditions and backed by a large travelling support. Familiar names such as Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Agüero will be rubbing their hands after being drawn in the same group as Iran, Nigeria and World Cup debutants, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

'La Albiceleste' are priced at just 2/7 to win Group F, with Bosnia and Nigeria in a two-way battle to finish behind Argentina at 4/5 and 5/4 respectively to qualify from the group.

Group G - Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States

Group G is another mouth-watering prospect and features Germany, Portugal, Ghana and the United States. Germany have an excellent record at major competitions having qualified for the knock-out stage of every World Cup since 1938 and been to two semi-finals and a final in the past three tournaments. They are the most fancied European side to win the tournament at odds of 11/2.

In order to progress through to the knockout-stages, they will need to have to overcome some pretty stern challenges none more so than Portugal, who seem to struggle to qualify for tournaments but thrive once there. USA are a test for any team, as are Ghana who came agonisingly close to reaching the semi-finals back in 2010 - was it not for Suarez's deliberate handball, it's likely they would have made the final four. Germany and Portugal should both do enough to clinch first and second respectively but this intriguing group has the real potential for a few surprises amongst its six group games.

Group H - Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

The European duo of Belgium and Russia are the stand-out names in the eighth and final group and they will no doubt be fighting it out for top spot. Odds-on favourites to top Group H, Belgium, are currently in the midst of a ”Golden Generation” and will be relatively pleased with their favourable draw. They will head to Brazil full of confidence following a fantastic qualification campaign and they are just 14/1 to win outright. Under Fabio Capello, Russia will be determined to bounce back from their disappointing Euro 2012 campaign and they represent the best chance of progressing with Belgium to the last 16 according to the odds, while South Korea have the potential to make their presence felt whilst Algeria shouldn't pose any problems.

Odds cited are correct at the time of writing on 10/12/2013 and taken from http://world-cup.betting-directory.com/

 
Jack Kitson
Massive Southampton fan, loving being back in the Premier League but cannot get enough football to feed my addiction.

Total articles: 53

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