There are obviously winners and losers at the World Cup, but before a single game is even played, it is fun to decide who the winners and losers are after the group draw that decides the layout of the tournament.
This year, there are at least three "groups of death," while there are also quite a few groups with a clear favorite. All in all, it's shaping up to be a very fun tournament.
Let's take a look at the biggest winners and losers of the World Cup draw.
The hosts drew a very favorable group, with only Mexico, Croatia and Cameroon standing between them and a berth in the knockout phase. While none of those games are gimmes, the Brazilians will be heavy favorites in all three.
Losers: United States
The USMNT came into the World Cup draw on a high note, having had arguably the best year in their history while dominating CONCACAF qualifying. There was the very real sense that this team could make a very nice run in Brazil.
After the draw, that will be easier said than done.
Not only did the USMNT draw a brutal group that includes Germany, Portugal and Ghana, they also have the most taxing travel schedule of any country in the tournament. Friday was not kind to the United States.
Argentina should waltz into the quarterfinals. They drew Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria, an incredibly winnable group, and should they win that will face the runner-ups from Group E, which will likely be either Switzerland, Ecuador or Honduras.
There is no reason why this team shouldn't win their first four games with ease.
While you could make the argument that Uruguay and Italy were also losers after being drawn together with England in Group D, it's the English who are probably the least likely to advance from this group. The Italians always seem to play well at major tournaments, while the Uruguayans will be a tough team to beat on South American soil.
Yes, England are more than capable of moving on to the knockout phase but doing so will take a Herculean effort.
The French barely qualified for the World Cup. Their "punishment" is a cake group that includes Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.
Not only that, but should they win Group H, they'll likely face either Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran or Nigeria, meaning the temperamental French side could see themselves into the quarterfinals with relative ease. Friday was a good day in France.
Losers: the Netherlands and Chile
While Group G is the best group from top to bottom, Group B features the Netherlands, Chile and Spain, an absolutely stacked trio that will leave one very deserving side out in the cold. It's probably safe to assume that side won't be Spain, meaning either the Dutch or Chileans will have an early trip home.
It seems unjust, seeing some of the favorable draws the other top sides received, but hey, life isn't fair.
One of the two major surprises among the seeded teams (alongside Switzerland), the Belgians have a very manageable group that includes Russia, Algeria and the Korea Republic. Even if they don't win this group—and really, they should—it would be shocking if they didn't move to the Round of 16.
There, things will get trickier with the Group G runner-up awaiting them, but a young team flush with talent should fare quite well in the group stage.
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