2014 World Cup

The 2014 World Cup Groups, NCAA Bracket Style

What would the 2014 World Cup matcyups look like if FIFA used its own rankings from December 2013 to dictate the Groups? We mapped it out and have the results here.
BY Matt Lawson Posted
December 04, 2013
2:14 PM
THE RANKINGS BELOW were easy to create. We didn't use any advanced mathematics or algorithms. And no nerds were injured in the creation of this article.

We just took every country that qualified for the 2014 World Cup and listed them from 1-32 based on their FIFA ranking. The one exception? Brazil, which we automatically elevated to the No. 1 spot because it is the home country and received an automatic spot. We pushed everybody else down and came up with this.

1. Brazil
2. Spain
3. Germany
4. Argentina
5. Colombia
6. Portugal
7. Uruguay
8. Italy
9. Switzerland
10. Netherlands
11. Belgium
12. Greece
13. England
14. USA
15. Chile
16. Croatia
17. Ivory Coast
18. France
19. Mexico
20. Bosnia
21. Russia
22. Ecuador
23. Ghana
24. Algeria
25. Costa Rica
26. Nigeria
27. Honduras
28. Iran
29. Japan
30. Cameroon
31. Korea
32. Australia

In using this system, we will assume that FIFA would use the December rankings to make up the groups. As the host nation and the No. 1 seed, we will put Brazil in Group A. Spain is the No. 2 seed, so we will move them as far away in the bracket (groups) as possible from Brazil. Spain goes into Group H. We then continue this process for the top eight ranked teams, keeping their seeds in mind as if we were placing them in a bracket. In the end, you’re new World Cup Groups begin like this:

Group A: (1) Brazil
Group B: (8) Italy
Group C: (5) Colombia
Group D: (4) Argentina
Group E: (3) Germany
Group F: (6) Portugal
Group G: (7) Uruguay
Group H: (2) Spain

We start phase two by placing the No. 9 seed, Switzerland, in Italy’s (No. 8) group. We then continue on until all of the second-tier teams have been placed. Keep in mind that a team may not be able to be placed into a group if it violates the group criteria (more than one nation from the same confederation being in the same group, or more than two from Europe). After placing the top half of the field, all groups comply and every team falls exactly where it’s supposed to in the bracket. This is what we are left with after placing the top 16 teams:

Group A: (1) Brazil, (16) Croatia
Group B: (8) Italy, (9) Switzerland
Group C: (5) Colombia, (12) Greece
Group D: (4) Argentina, (13) England
Group E: (3) Germany, (14) USA
Group F: (6) Portugal, (11) Belgium
Group G: (7) Uruguay, (10) Netherlands
Group H: (2) Spain, (15) Chile

Continuing with the next eight teams, we run into our first grouping issue with No. 19 Mexico (toting its new and improved ranking from beating up on New Zealand in a two-game playoff) not being able to go into Group E with Germany and the United States. El Tri will move to Group D in order to fulfill group criteria. Taking Mexico’s place in Group D will be No. 20 Bosnia. All other teams from the 17-24 pot fall into their correct place in the bracket:

Group A: (1) Brazil, (16) Croatia, (17) Ivory Coast
Group B: (8) Italy, (9) Switzerland, (24) Algeria
Group C: (5) Colombia, (12) Greece, (21) Russia
Group D: (4) Argentina, (13) England, (19) Mexico
Group E: (3) Germany, (14) USA, (20) Bosnia
Group F: (6) Portugal, (11) Belgium, (22) Ecuador
Group G: (7) Uruguay, (10) Netherlands, (23) Ghana
Group H: (2) Spain, (15) Chile, (18) France

Last and certainly least, the final eight teams need to be placed, most of which are AFC qualifiers. As we drop them into their appropriate groups, the only problem we run into is No. 26 Nigeria not being able to go into Group G because of Ghana already representing the African confederation in that group. Nigeria must go to Group F with Honduras taking its spot in Group G. All other nations fall perfectly into place and this is what we are left with for our World Cup 2014 Groups:

Group A: (1) Brazil, (16) Croatia, (17) Ivory Coast, (32) Australia
Group B: (8) Italy, (9) Switzerland, (24) Algeria, (25) Costa Rica
Group C: (5) Colombia, (12) Greece, (21) Russia, (28) Iran
Group D: (4) Argentina, (13) England, (19) Mexico, (29) Japan
Group E: (3) Germany, (14) U.S., (20) Bosnia, (30) Cameroon
Group F: (6) Portugal, (11) Belgium, (22) Ecuador, (26) Nigeria
Group G: (7) Uruguay, (10) Netherlands, (23) Ghana, (27) Honduras
Group H: (2) Spain, (15) Chile, (18) France, (31) Korea

So....what do you think? What's the Group of Death in our bracketed approach to the World Cup Draw?

And what about the U.S's draw in this format—Group E? Would you be happy to see those three foes next June?

Tells us your thoughts below, soccer fans.

This is Matt Lawson's first article for American Soccer Now. Follow him on Twitter.

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