Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The 2014 World Cup field is set!

Well, as of this moment it's almost set, since the final match (Uruguay - Jordan) has not yet been played.

But let's be bold, and assume that Jordan won't manage to overcome a 5 goal deficit on the road against Uruguay.

So we have determined the 32 qualifying teams.

Regionally, it breaks down as follows:

  • Europe: 13 teams
  • South America: 6 teams (assuming Uruguay qualifies)
  • Africa: 5 teams
  • North and Central America: 4 teams
  • Asia: 4 teams
Overall, that seems like a pretty good distribution, to me.

We now have 2 weeks until the group draws, on December 6th.

The final draw will be complicated. The top 8 teams will be based on the October Ranking, which means there will almost certainly be 4 teams from Europe and 4 teams from South America. As Wikipedia says

The other pots will be based on geographic and sports criteria.
These wacky criteria tend to be things like: Brazil and Argentina will be in groups that, assuming they both advance, won't meet until the semifinal. And Spain and Germany will be similarly distributed. And we'll distribute the teams from the various continents "evenly" across the groups, so that no group will contain more than 2 European teams, or more than 1 team from any other region.

Since it looks like the Netherlands will not be in the top 8, my pronouncement is: whichever group the Dutch are in is "the group of death". Of course, there are a few other extremely strong teams that are just outside the top 8, including: England, Chile, and Portugal.

Regardless, it looks like it will be a very strong lineup, overall, with many great teams. The top team which didn't qualify is the Ukraine, which shockingly lost to France yesterday and are out.

And, of course, as ESPN point out, there are some well known other teams that missed the boat: Sweden, Serbia, Turkey among others.

And, probably, many football fans will have only one question on their minds: will Leo Messi be healthy by next spring?

But I think it will be a fine selection of teams that make their way to Brazil next summer.

Start planning your viewing parties now! Where will you be on July 13, 2014?

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