Winners and Losers from 2014 World Cup Draw

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2013

Winners and Losers from 2014 World Cup Draw

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    The 32 teams now know who they will be facing in the group stage of the World Cup finals following Friday's draw.

    Brazil remain favourites with the bookmakers, who clearly feel home advantage can propel the Selecao to success.

    But who among the 32 teams are the winners and losers from the draw? In the following slides, we will look to answer that.

Loser: England

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    Sir Geoff Hurst did his country a good turn in 1966 and received a knighthood on the back of it.

    There may well be a few England fans screaming for the Queen to take his title back after pulling out the Three Lions alongside Uruguay, Costa Rica and Italy in Group D.

    It was apparent heading into the drawing of teams from Pot 4 that Group D had the look of the “Group of Death.”

    Hurst gave the balls a swirl, picked one out and handed it to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.

    There was a pause to build the atmosphere, before Valcke confirmed England boss Roy Hodgson’s worst fears.

    "With Uruguay and Italy, we almost have two No. 1 seeds in our group," Hodgson told BBC Sport. "It does not surprise me at all to get a tough draw. But I am still very positive about the whole affair, as you never know."

    If the three teams alongside England were not bad enough, the Three Lions will open their campaign in the tropical city of Manaus.

    It will be a hot start, and it will need to be a fast start.

Loser: Italy

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    If England are losers, that sentiment is echoed for Italy.

    Prior to the draw, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli had a whinge, confirmed by Goal’s Stefan Coerts, about his country not being seeded.

    You just knew the draw would give Prandelli something to complain about. It duly did.

    Joining Uruguay, Costa Rica and England in Group D makes life extremely tough for the 2006 winners.

    Spying the group he could have had, if Italy had been seeded and not Switzerland, is likely to make Prandelli even more miserable. Instead of taking on France, Ecuador and Honduras, his side will face two massive tests against England and Uruguay.

    And it will be a tough opener, as the Azzurri will have to travel to the tropical city of Manaus to face England.



Loser: USA

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Jurgen Klinsmann had a calm demeanour prior to the draw, as he picked up some merchandise to swell the FIFA coffers.

    #USMNT coach @J_Klinsmann is a pretty big celeb here...but he's still gotta wait in line to buy merch. #atDraw

    — U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 6, 2013

    He will do well to remain calm following the draw for his USA side. Klinsmann’s men have been placed alongside Germany, Portugal and Ghana in Group G.

    Germany’s record in World Cups and the talent at Joachim Low’s disposal make them overwhelming group favourites.

    If that was not bad enough, USA will have to hatch a plan to halt Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese pals.

    The Group G opener in Natal on June 16 could go some way to shaping their campaign, as they kick off against the perceived weak links, Ghana.

    Ghana, though, can call upon the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari. A tough, tough test for USA.

Loser: Spain

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    Spain coach Vicente del Bosque
    Spain coach Vicente del BosqueClive Mason/Getty Images

    As holders, eyebrows may be raised by suggesting Spain are losers from the draw. But that looks the case from where we are sitting.

    The Confederations Cup final loss to Brazil this year exposed a weakness or two for Spain.

    And they will be tested to the full in a pool containing Netherlands and Chile, as well as Australia.

    Spain open up against the Netherlands, the side they beat in the final three years ago, and a loss in that game would place La Roja on the back foot.

    That would not signal the end for Spain. As solid as Chile are, Vicente del Bosque's men should have enough to see them off and qualify. But qualifying in second would put them on collision course with Brazil in the last 16. Ouch.

Winner: France

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    Buda Mendes/Getty Images

    A matter of weeks ago, the guillotine was being prepared for France coach Didier Deschamps following their defeat to Ukraine in the first leg of their qualification play-off. 

    France turned it around on home soil to book their place in the finals. And what a difference a few weeks make.

    Italy may have complained that Switzerland were named among the seeds. France certainly won’t be after coming out in Group E alongside the Swiss, Ecuador and Honduras.

    Honduras are the rank outsiders for the whole tournament at 3,000-1 with bookmaker Paddy Power, while Ecuador are 100-1 shots.

    France have had a nasty habit of messing up in the group stage at recent tournaments. There can be no excuses this time.

Winner: Brazil

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    Pele has tipped Brazil for glory.
    Pele has tipped Brazil for glory.Buda Mendes/Getty Images

    The host nation have the weight of expectation on them. But Brazil are also the favourites for World Cup glory.

    The Selecao have been given the ideal platform to launch from with their group.

    The only certainty going into the draw, aside from that it would never start on time, was that Brazil would be in Group A.

    Neymar, Oscar and co. will have watched on with smiles on their faces when seeing Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon join them in Group A.

    It’s not the easiest group, but it is one that will provide Brazil with a chance to find their feet ahead of bigger tests in the knockout stages.

    Momentum is a big thing, and this group hands Brazil the chance to gain some.

Winner: Argentina

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Lionel Messi is nursing a leg injury. If there is any pain, the draw for the World Cup may well have gone some way to easing his torment.

    The World Footballer of the Year does not yet have a World Cup on his CV. He will hope to put that right in Brazil next year, and the group-stage draw has been kind to his Argentina.

    As seeds, they started in a strong position. Roughly 45 minutes after the draw started, their position was reinforced.

    Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria came out in Group F alongside Argentina, and those games should tee them up nicely for the knockout stages.

    All Argentina need now is for Messi to shake off his injury. He certainly has incentive now. 

Winner: Ivory Coast

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    In two previous visits to World Cups, the draw has not been kind to Ivory Coast.

    In 2006, they were alongside Argentina, Netherlands, and Serbia and Montenegro and did not qualify.

    The 2010 iteration saw them placed with Brazil, Portugal and North Korea. Again, they fell at the first hurdle.

    Fast forward to today, and the draw gods have been far kinder to Ivory Coast, as they have been put into Group C alongside Colombia, Greece and Japan.

    Didier Drogba may be in the autumn of his career, but he is still a mean centre-forward.

    The World Cup in Brazil could be the perfect place for him to show the world what he has repeatedly produced in his club career.