In most cases, the fortunes of a football team are decided within 90 minutes. Perhaps the most important 90 minutes for the 32 qualified 2014 World Cup teams will happen next Friday, when each competing nation will learn the identity of the three opponents sharing their group in the draw.
The eight groups are selected from four pots of eight teams, the first of which is seeded. The top seven nations according to FIFA rankings and the hosts, therefore, will be spread evenly among the groups, but the other pots are divided by confederation. This gives the potential for "easy" passages to the knockout rounds and the strong potential for at least one "group of death."
Here follows nightmare situations for the qualified teams, arranged by their qualifying pot.* Since they will not meet anyone else in their own pot, their nightmare situations will be broadly similar.
(*Thus far, only Pot 1 has been officially ratified by FIFA, so the others have been put together using the same logic as the 2010 draw. Football's governing body are not averse to last-minute changes, but this should be a true reflection of the draw setup.)