Okay, we’ve had time to digest the World Cup draw. You’ve likely read a dozen articles about it, watched talking heads pronounce the outcome of every group, and maybe even filled out your first bracket. But now what? We’re 7 months from the World Cup, and you need to get back to your regularly programmed shows. BUT BEFORE YOU DO, here’s one more article to bookmark for later use.
We got the idea for this article from our favorite Man City fan @ESPNSteinLine:
Group G for Guillotine. Haven’t even had time today to prcess how brutal this is
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 6, 2013
With no further ado, here’s your alphabetical guide to all eight groups in the 2014 World Riot. Er, Cup. Your friends will no doubt be very impressed with your understanding of the World Cup groups, and your witty use of the English language.
Group A for Afterthought. (Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, and Cameroon)
We all know Brazil will win this group easily. Not only are they clearly better than everyone else in the group, and not only are they at home, but …wait, that’s enough. This group is also an afterthought because whoever takes second place will then be quickly removed by either Spain, Netherlands, or Chile. Yeah, let’s move on.
Extra thought: As much as I really think this tournament is Canarinho’s to lose, the big monkey wrench in that idea is the current political climate in Brazil. If the World Cup turns into one riot after another, I think that might become a distraction just big enough to derail a Brazilian side that is far from impeccable.
Group B is for Brazil. (Spain, Netherlands, Chile, and Australia)
Yes, Brazil is not in this group, but their shadow looms large over Group B since whoever takes second has to play them in the Round of 16. Which is interesting since Spain, Netherlands, and Chile are all good enough to win the group. Somebody is going to be devastated to not advance past the group phase, and somebody else is going to be devastated that they just barely advanced (read, BRAZIL IN BRAZIL!). Then there’s Australia. G’day mate!
Extra thought: Let’s hope this Netherlands-Spain rematch is a better game than the World Cup final in 2010 was.
Group C is for Collapse (Columbia, Greece, Ivory Coast, and Japan)
The favored team in Group C is none other than Columbia, a team which has consistently collapsed under World Cup pressure. The most famous example, of course, is the 1994 World Cup in the United States. Columbia came into the tournament with high expectations, but failed to advance passed the group stage because of an own goal from their star Andrés Escobar. Escobar was killed by a Columbian cartel just days later. Um …let’s just hope Columbia advances this time around. Since the tournament is in South America, I like their chances.
Extra thought: This group has four good teams, but no great teams, which should make for some entertaining games.
Group D is for Daunting (Uruguay, Italy, England, and Costa Rica)
Seven previous World Cup winners come from Group D, albeit just one in the last 30 years. That’s not quite as daunting as it originally sounds, but nonetheless, it’s tough to assume any of these teams won’t make it out of this group. Costa Rica is clearly the inferior team, but playing in conditions similar to home may keep them afloat. There really won’t be any bad games in this group, methinks.
Extra thought: Why can’t I shake the feeling that England will somehow compel Luis Suarez to earn himself a red card?
Group E is for Easy (Switzerland, France, Ecuador, and Honduras)
Easy in French is facile, but this is Group E so I went with the Easy. We all know everyone wanted to draw into Switzerland’s group, but who would have thought they’d also land Honduras and Ecuador? I mean, seriously? The French, like El Tri in Group A, don’t deserve this lucky draw. But they will take it. And they’ll also take the group.
Extra thought: The best teams in CONCACAF (USA & CR) were rewarded with “Groups of Death” and the two lessor teams (Mexico & Honduras) got gifts for groups. Reason number 43,559 why FIFA sucks at what it does.
Group F is for Formality (Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nigeria, and Iran)
Another easy group. It’s a formality that Argentina will easily sweep this group and take first. And then they get the winner of the pathetic Group E. There are really only two questions heading into Group F: 1) Will Messi score over or under ten goals? and 2) Will the Bosnia-Nigeria game at least be close?
Extra thought: It really feels like we’re headed for an epic Argentina-Brazil match, doesn’t it? Oh, and by the way, there’s a decent chance that Argentina (Messi) will face Portugal (Rondaldo) in the Quarterfinals! Did you read what I just wrote???
Group G is for Gettysburg (Germany, Portugal, USA, and Ghana)
We love Steiny Mo’s Guillotine, and we also liked the idea of going with Ghanarrhea. But I went with Gettysburg because I can’t shake the feeling that this World Cup is a turning point in American soccer, much like Gettysburg was a turning point in the American Civil War. If the USMNT can somehow get out of the group, immortality may be waiting for them. And if they don’t? Well, our nation will definitely stay divided on the issue of soccer.
Regardless, this whole group seems a little too scripted, right? Klinsmann’s home nation and former WC foe in Germany, another former WC foe with a superstar (Ronaldo) in Portugal, and Ghana. Thorn in the side, pain in the neck, America’s-number-in-their-pocket Ghana. If America escapes this group the groundswell of excitement that came from the victory against Algeria four years ago will pale in comparison (and that’s a huge understatement).
Extra thought: I love soccer because big soccer games somehow just feel bigger than other sports. If nothing else, the USMNT is in for three of its biggest games ever, and it’s going to be epic. E-P-I-C. (Hey, Titanic was still epic.)
Group H is for Hello (Belgium, Russia, Algeria, and South Korea)
Hello, Belgium. We’ve been hearing about how good you’re becoming for years now. And you know what, it appears you are just as good as the hype. I mean, holy crap — look at your roster? How do you have so many talented players in that small country of yours? Is your coach related to Mikhail Prokhorov? Or is it George Steinbrenner? Magic Johnson? Anyway, this World Cup appears to be your coming out party. Congratulations. And good luck to the other three teams. If you advance to the next round, Germany is going to kick your butt.
Extra thought: Can it just be June already? Please??
Bryson Kearl is the author if this post and the editor of this site. He may or may not have crawled up into a fetal position when he learned who else was in the American’s group.