Michael Steele/Getty Images
With the 2014 World Cup Qualifying draw done and ready to be analyzed, it is time to look at the winners and losers of this event.
The Greeks couldn’t help but walk away from this Qualifying draw with a little smirk on their face. Hopefully, I am not the only one surprised that a country who failed to reach the Sweet 16 of the 2010 World Cup and has scored only eight goals in Euro Qualifying is a top seed in this year's draw. Greece is no more qualified than France or Slovakia for that honor and now finds itself in one of the easiest qualifying groups of the competition. If Greece can edge out the ever challenging Liechtenstein, they should be a lock for their second straight World Cup appearance.
While the majority of soccer fans have been sympathizing for France, I will take a completely different approach. Poor little Ireland, who were unjustly knocked out of World Cup qualifying in 2010, were placed in a horrific Group C with Germany, Sweden and Austria. It seems as though the Irish got no discount for FIFA’s blunder with Henry, and instead were punished for possibly thinking a World Cup appearance was possible. With a difficult group ahead, Giovanni Trapattoni now has a large mountain to climb. We can only wonder whether luck will shift its way over to the Irish for this campaign.
Group of Death- Group A
Belgium has the potential to be a World Cup sleeper in 2014, but they will have to make it past Croatia, Serbia and Scotland to even get the opportunity to surprise.
Teams that could surprise:
Bosnia Herzegovina: After barely missing out on the 2010 World Cup, Dzeko and company will be determined to dominate in an easy Group G.
Switzerland: The Swiss are led by German legend Ottmar Hitzfeld and could very well be the surprise team of 2014. With a favorable group as well, the Swiss have a great chance at coming to life in this qualifying campaign.
Israel: Lost in the Euro qualifying wackiness is the fact that Israel is ranked 32 in the FIFA rankings. For those counting at home, that is just one spot below the USMNT.