World Cup Groups 2014: Seeded Teams with Easiest Path to Knockout Stage

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World Cup Groups 2014: Seeded Teams with Easiest Path to Knockout Stage
Feng Li/Getty Images

While earning one of the seeded spots was supposed to give teams an advantage in the opening round of the World Cup, only a few were able to come out of the draw with a favorable group.

Spain are the defending champions of this event, but they have to start the tournament against the Netherlands in a rematch of the 2010 final. Uruguay was paired with two European foes in Italy and England, while Germany also have a tough run in Group G.

However, not all of the teams on the top line will have problems early. Here are the full groups and bracket for the World Cup, with a look at the seeded squads who should cruise to the Round of 16.

via Bleacher Report
via Bleacher Report

 

Brazil

The host country is expecting to make a deep run this summer, and the draw provided a nice easy path.

Brazil were placed in Group A, which features Mexico, Croatia and Cameroon. While there is plenty of talent on each of these rosters, none of them will come close to stopping the dynamic attack of the Selecao.

Mexico will likely be the biggest challenge based on skill alone, but even they have not played well over the past year. El Tri needed to defeat New Zealand in the playoff after finishing in fourth place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, and they have gone through four managers in a short amount of time.

As a result, Brazil should go through these matches without even dropping a point. ESPN's Soccer Power Index gives the team a 96.9 percent chance to win the group and a 99.6 percent chance of advancing. While upsets happen, you should still expect to see the hosts in the knockout stage. 

 

Argentina

Brazil were not the only South American squad to get a favorable draw. Argentina will also have quite an easy path as they look to start a run to a possible title.

They will be joined in Group F with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria, which is a selection of teams that have not seen much success in the World Cup in the past.

While Bosnia-Herzegovina won their qualifying group, this will be the country's first appearance at this tournament. Meanwhile, Iran has never won a game despite qualifying three times.

Nigeria are at least coming off some recent success with a win at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, but they do not have the overall talent we have seen in the past.

It is hard to imagine any of these squads being able to keep up with Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and the rest of the Argentine attack. They should easily win this group and continue a relatively easy path until the quarterfinals.

 

Belgium

With world-class talent at almost every position, Belgium are among the favorites to win the World Cup. However, with a young team that failed to qualify in 2010, an easy draw was certainly necessary to boost confidence.

Fortunately, this is what the team received with a draw that put them in Group H with Algeria, Russia and South Korea. Looking at the pots beforehand, these were some of the teams everyone was hoping to see in their group. 

Algeria barely qualified for the finals, while South Korea simply are not deep enough to compete on this stage. Russia could be tough to beat, but they are still one of the weakest to come out of UEFA.

Belgium received a gift in this group, and players like Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku are certain to use early success to fuel them to a deep run in this prestigious tournament. 

 

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