On Wednesday, Uruguay became the 32nd and final team to confirm their place in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. After a grueling qualifying campaign for some, the focus now switches firmly to next month’s group-stage draw, which will play a massive role in determining the fates of several nations.
Uruguay’s victory over Jordan not only booked their place in the finals, but Oscar Washington Tabarez’s side also took one of the eight seeding places, assigned to the top-seven teams in the FIFA rankings, as of October 17, alongside hosts Brazil. The other fortunate nations are holders Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium and Switzerland. The precise format of the draw will not be decided until December 3, however it is likely to follow the same procedure as that for 2010.
That would mean having another pot of eight European teams, with the one remaining going into a third pot containing the two remaining South American nations, along with the five African qualifiers. The final pot would then contain the four qualifiers from CONCACAF as well as the four from Asia.
It leaves the strong possibility of there being at least one bona fide “group of death.” A nightmare scenario for the United States, for example, could see them paired with Brazil, Italy and France. That would leave Jurgen Klinsmann’s ambitions of making a serious impact at the World Cup in tatters. Conversely, the U.S. could end up being pitted into a far more favorable group alongside Switzerland, Bosnia and Algeria.
Pot 1: Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay and Switzerland.
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Pot 2: USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Japan, Iran, South Korea and Australia.
Pot 3: Chile, Ecuador, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon, France
Pot 4: Netherlands, Italy, England, Portugal, Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Russia.
Date and time: The Final Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will take place in Costa do Sauipe, near the city of Salvador, on Brazil’s north-eastern coast. The 90-minute event is scheduled to get underway at 11 a.m. ET on December 6.