World Cup Draw Pots 2014: Projecting Weakest Team in Each Pool

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2013

BERN, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 15:  Gokhan Inler of Switzerland in action during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Switzerland and Slovenia match held at Stade de Suisse on October 15, 2013 in Bern, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

There is no such thing as an easy win at the World Cup, but there will certainly be a few matchups that are more favorable than others. 

Each group at Brazil will feature one team from each of the four pots, which is shown by ESPN's Paul Carr:

The extra squad from Pot 4 will simply be placed in the leftover group for Pot 2, thus completing the eight groups of four.

Obviously, this will create some competitive groups between seeded teams, European powers and more. This makes it much more important for each squad to hope for a favorable draw.

While every match will still be tough, these teams represent the best-case scenario for everyone heading into the draw.


Pot 1: Switzerland

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 16:  Gelson Fernandes of Switzerland celebrates scoring the first goal with team mate Gokhan Inler during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group H match between Spain and Switzerland at Durban Stadium on June 16, 2010 in Du
Steve Haag/Getty Images

Switzerland earned a seeded spot in the draw after climbing up to No. 8 in the FIFA World Rankings. This was thanks to a strong showing in UEFA qualifying where they went unbeaten in 10 matches.

However, it is important to note that this was a weak group, with Iceland finishing in second place. Advancing beyond this point is an achievement, but it is not something that puts them in a class with the best in the world.

Meanwhile, Switzerland have not excelled at major international events and are rarely a top contender. The team also does not have many elite players that will scare the competition.

This talented squad has a chance to go deep into the tournament, but this is easily the weakest of the seeded teams in Brazil.


Pot 2: Cameroon

RADES, TUNISIA - OCTOBER 13:  Samuel Etoo of Cameroon in action during the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier at the Stade Olympique de Radès on October 13, 2013 in Rades, Tunisia.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

While Cameroon have had some good squads over the years, they have not done much recently. Fortunately, they were able to come through with a strong showing against Tunisia in the playoff to earn a bid to the World Cup.

Still, this is the ninth-ranked team from Africa, and they did not even qualify for the two most recent Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.

There is certainly talent on the roster, starting with Samuel Eto'o and Alex Song, but the lack of success is concerning heading into a major tournament like this.

Of course, few World Cup participants would be upset to see Algeria in their group either. 



Pot 3: Iran

TEHRAN, IRAN - JUNE 11:  Javad Nekounam  celebrates during FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifier between Iran and Lebanon  at Azadi Stadium on June 11, 2013 in Tehran, Iran.  (Photo by Amin M. Jamali/Getty Images)
Amin M. Jamali/Getty Images

Australia and South Korea would certainly qualify as favorable matchups for most teams around the world, and the rankings would back this up. However, Iran might be the weakest squad in the field. 

Despite finishing with the most points in Asian qualifying, Iran will have a hard time scoring at this level. They only had eight goals in eight matches in the final round against relatively weak competition, and they do not have players who are able to create opportunities for themselves.

Additionally, few members of the squad compete in high-level leagues during the year, and lack of experience will hurt on the international stage.

Considering Iran have only won a single match in their World Cup history, it is hard to expect much more success this time around. 


Pot 4: Croatia

ZAGREB, CROATIA - NOVEMBER 19:  Luka Modric, Vedran Corluka, Mateo Kovacic and Ante Rebic (L-R) of Croatia celebrate after the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier play-off second leg match between Croatia and Iceland at Maksimir Stadium on November 19, 2013 in
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Most of Pot 4 is tough, which is likely to create some difficult groups. Teams like France, the Netherlands or Italy can combine with one of the seeded squads to form some exciting battles.

However, Croatia represent a best-case scenario for those forced to play their way out of the group stage.

The team tied with Greece for the fewest goals in qualifying for a team that eventually earned a World Cup bid, scoring 12 in 10 matches. Unfortunately, the defense was also inconsistent and can be beaten by a good attack.

Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and even England are also among the weaker squads in the pot, but there might not be a weaker matchup in Europe than Croatia.


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