The World Cup is almost here, finally. If you’re like me, you can’t wait and you’ll watch all the games via DVR.
The FIFA World Cup 2014 begins Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 3:30pm ET on ESPN with the host country Brazil vs. Croatia in Sao Paulo.
Soccer is far from perfect. One thing that I can’t stand is the group selection process that FIFA uses for every world cup. In their grand presentation and attempts to not look corrupt, they come across as corrupt and inept. FIFA claims to factor competitive balance but ultimately gives more priority to geographical balance. If every country is playing in the same country, who cares about geography in the group stage? It makes no sense.
There should be no groups of death with 3 or 4 top level teams while other groups have maybe 1 quality country. The US is in one in this World Cup. There’s also Group D that has 3 of the top 10 teams in the world in it. How is that even close to fair?
FIFA released their final world rankings before the World Cup recently. Below I’ve listed what the field looks like along with the rankings and rank totals for comparison on how different the groups are in strength.
That’s followed by how the groups should look like off of the FIFA World Rankings. All I did was fill in the 8 highest ranked countries (A to H) then reversed the order back for the next 8 and continued that snake order, similar to how your fantasy league drafts work. It makes competitive balance THE ONLY factor, as it should be, with the FIFA world rankings as the reference point. Take a look and decide for yourself.
Actual Groups for 2014 FIFA World Cup w/FIFA rankings
Group A: Brazil (3) Croatia (18) Mexico (20) Cameroon (56) – Total 97
Group B: Spain (1) Chile (14) Netherlands (15) Australia (62) – Total 92
Group C: Colombia (8) Greece (12) Ivory Coast (23) Japan (46) – Total 89
Group D: Uruguay (7) Italy (9) England (10) Costa Rica (28) – Total 54
Group E: Switzerland (6) France (17) Ecuador (26) Honduras (33) – Total 82
Group F: Argentina (5) Bosnia & Herzegovina (21) Iran (43) Nigeria (44) – Total 113
Group G: Germany (2) Portugal (4) USA (13) Ghana (37) – Total 56
Group H: Belgium (11) Russia (19) Algeria (22) South Korea (57) – Total 109
Vinny’s Proposed Groups for 2014 FIFA World Cup w/FIFA rankings
Group A: Spain (1) France (17) Croatia (18) Australia (62) – Total 98
Group B: Germany (2) Netherlands (15) Russia (19) South Korea (57) – Total 93
Group C: Brazil (3) Chile (14) Mexico (20) Cameroon (56) – Total 93
Group D: Portugal (4) USA (13) Boznia & Herzegovina (21) Japan (46) – Total 84
Group E: Argentina (5) Greece (12) Algeria (22) Nigeria (44) – Total 83
Group F: Switzerland (6) Belgium (11) Ivory Coast (23) Iran (43) – Total 83
Group G: Uruguay (7) England (10) Ecuador (26) Ghana (37) – Total 80
Group H: Colombia (8) Italy (9) Costa Rica (28) Honduras (33) – Total 78
How difficult was that? Not at all. It makes sense, which means it has zero chance of ever happening.
My pick to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup? Argentina
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