2014 World Cup Draw: Squads in Most Need of a Favorable Draw

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2013

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 19:  Franck Ribery of France in action during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier 2nd Leg Playoff between France and Ukraine at the Stade de France on November 19, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)
Harry Engels/Getty Images

Every team will pay close attention to the upcoming draw for the 2014 World Cup, although a few squads are in more desperate shape than others.

This year's tournament has the ability to create some devastatingly difficult groups, especially considering that teams like Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal are unseeded. Having even one of these teams could create a tough challenge for anyone facing them.

Still, the top contenders like Spain, Brazil, Germany or Argentina should be just fine regardless of which opponents are in their group. These teams are almost certain to advance to at least the quarterfinals and possibly beyond based on how well they are playing.

On the other hand, there are a few teams who seriously need a favorable draw on Friday in order to create some success in Brazil.



FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 19:  Giovani dos Santos of Mexico in action during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 19, 2013 in Fortaleza, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Qualifying for the World Cup is far from easy, but Mexico certainly backed into a spot at the prestigious tournament. El Tri needed help from the United States to earn the fourth spot in the CONCACAF Hexagonal before taking care of business against New Zealand in the playoff.

The good news is that Mexico still have a lot of talent, especially on the attack. European stars like Giovani dos Santos and Javier Hernandez have proven themselves on the big stage, while Raul Jimenez and Oribe Peralta have fared well recently.

It will be up to the latest manager Miguel Herrera to get the most out of this roster, which is currently ranked No. 20 in the FIFA World Rankings.

With a favorable draw, the squad can utilize its talent and work its way into the Round of 16 for the sixth World Cup in a row. However, the lack of chemistry might doom the group to an early exit against any quality opponent. 



PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 19:  Karim Benzema of France celebrates scoring during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Play-off second leg match between France and Ukraine at the Stade de France on November 19, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Get
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Despite coming in with high expectations, the 2010 World Cup did not go as planned for France. The squad had problems with management and it led to two losses and a draw in three matches.

This year, France almost failed to qualify after falling behind Ukraine 2-0 in the first leg of the UEFA playoff. Fortunately, they were able to come back with a 3-0 effort in the second leg to win the aggregate score and qualify for Brazil.

As seen in this second match, France have a lot of talent. Franck Ribery is one of the best players in the world, and he will be able to create opportunities for forwards like Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema. 

If they can get some confidence with early success, this could lead to a deep run in the knockout stage. On the other hand, some quick losses could lead to more infighting and a failure to advance past the group stage.



BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - NOVEMBER 19: Eden Hazard of Belgium runs with the ball during the international friendly match between Belgium and Japan at King Badouin stadium on November 19, 2013 in Brussels, Belgium.  (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

Heading into 2014, Belgium is everyone's favorite sleeper to win the World Cup. This is not only due to the dominant showing during the UEFA qualifying stage—eight wins and two draws in 10 matches—but also the world-class talent throughout the roster.

Many of the players have become recognizable for their success in the English Premier League, including Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Vincent Kompany, while others have excelled in more of Europe's top leagues.

The problem is that these players have not seen that much success on the international stage. Belgium failed to qualify for the past two World Cups and have not even competed in the European championships since 2000 when they were hosts.

With a difficult draw, the pressure could get to them on the big stage and it could lead to a disappointing finish for the title contenders.


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