A FIFA tradition: Grossly unfair World Cup groups
I hate unfairness and it bugs me that every four years FIFA uses its irrational national team ranking system in order to make sure the World Cup draw will be unfair, sometimes grossly so. I ignore those rankings in the chart below and instead use the national team rankings by Jonathan Wilson and Michael Cox, esteemed soccer writers at the UK Guardian.
On the chart below, the stronger the group the lower the Ranking Total, with 66 points representing a perfectly fairly balanced group. As you can see, none of the groups is balanced, though some are much worse than others.
B is the Group of Death and especially unfair, as it guarantees one of the top 12 teams in the tourney (#1 Spain, #6 Holland, or #12 Chile) will not make the final 16. G is a Group of Near-Death, and unfair to #15 USA (Go USA!), which will have to fight through very highly ranked Germany (#4) and Portugal (#7) to make the final 16.
H is the Group of Happy. Unfair ease of passage to the final 16 for Belgium and Russia (barring a monumental screw-up by either). Group E is also unfairly easy, with France and Switzerland likely only mildly challenged on their way to the final 16.
|Group: Ranking Total||(UK Guardian Ranking) Team x 4|
|Group A: 64||(2) Brazil, (14) Croatia, (25) Cameroon, (23) Mexico|
|Group B: 49||(1) Spain, (6) Holland, (12) Chile, (27) Australia|
|Group C: 73||(8) Colombia, (26) Greece, (22) Ivory Coast, (17) Japan|
|Group D: 56||(9) Uruguay, (29) Costa Rica, (13) England, (5) Italy|
|Group E: 82||(17) Switzerland, (24) Ecuador, (10) France, (31) Honduras|
|Group F: 72||(3) Argentina, (19) Bosnia & Herz., (30) Iran, (20) Nigeria|
|Group G: 47||(4) Germany, (7) Portugal, (21) Ghana, (15) USA|
|Group H: 87||(11) Belgium, (32) Algeria, (16) Russia, (28) South Korea|