Following the World Cup draw, many teams feel they were placed in the toughest group. While there is nothing easy at this point, some groups are clearly more stacked than others.
Unlike past years that had one legitimate "Group of Death," this tournament features multiple terrifying selections of teams. Not only will these be difficult to win, but it will be tough for some of the best squads in the world to even make it through to the next round.
This year's knockout stage will be missing some usual names thanks to a few deep groups. Here is a look at the full draw with a ranking of the toughest in the tournament.
3. Group D (Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy)
When FIFA announced that there would be an odd number of teams in each pot, it seemed obvious that one group was going to be stacked. The "Pot X" forced two European squads to be paired with one of the seeded South American teams.
Uruguay were the unfortunate recipient of this spot, and will be forced to face both England and Italy in the opening stage. While Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and others create one of the top attacks in the world, it will not be easy to advance past these opponents.
Meanwhile, Italy have one of the more experienced squads in the tournament with Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon and possibly even Francesco Totti. They are also incredibly tough to score against, and the defense will keep them competitive in every match.
This makes things difficult for England, which have at least reached the Round of 16 in each of the last four World Cups. Although they have not lived up to expectations in the past few years, there is still a lot of talent on the roster.
Even an emerging Costa Rica squad can make things tough in this loaded group.
2. Group G (Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States)
Most Americans saw the draw and immediately started complaining about the fact that this was the toughest group at the World Cup.
Greg Lalas of MLSSoccer.com provides numbers to back up this sentiment:
Avg @FIFA rankings per group: A - 24.25 B - 21.00 C - 20.25 D - 14.25 E - 22.75 F - 24.25 G - 11.25 H - 28.25— Greg Lalas (@Gaetjens) December 6, 2013
However, things are not as tough as it immediately seems. Ghana scare the United States after knocking them out of the last two World Cups, but they have struggled a bit in the last couple of years. Additionally, there is not much elite talent at the club level.
Meanwhile, Portugal have one superstar in Cristiano Ronaldo, but they struggled in qualifying and have proven to be quite inconsistent when the midfielder is not scoring.
Although Germany are still one of the top teams in the world, things could certainly be worse.
1. Group B (Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia)
When you have the two returning finalists from the previous World Cup in the same group, you know things are tough.
Spain have won the last two European championships as well as the 2010 World Cup, and they are one of the favorites to defend their title. With arguably the best midfield in the sport, it is hard to deny they have a good chance.
This makes things more difficult for the Netherlands, who dominated qualifying and have proven to be one of the best teams in Europe. Amazingly, they still only have a 41 percent chance of advancing to the next round, according to ESPN's Soccer Power Index.
Chile tied with Argentina and Colombia for the most wins in CONMEBOL qualifying and moved up to as high as No. 12 in the World Rankings.
Australia might not get a point, but this will still be the toughest group to get through at the World Cup.
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