Now that our rant about the draw is out of the way, it’s time to get pumped! The Cup is near and the draw is here! There isn’t much going on this morning before the draw, so let’s take some time to look at the pots and discuss what we would/would not like to see this afternoon.
Our opponent out of Pot 1 is going to be difficult no matter who we draw. Even if we’re lucky enough to land South Africa, we’re not getting a free pass. Keep in mind, no host country has ever failed to make it out of the group stage. While one could make the argument that South Africa is the worst host nation ever, their home-field advantage (10% fans, 90% vuvuzelas) shouldn’t be underestimated. Because of this, Pot 1 isn’t as much about who we’d like to draw as it is about who we’d like to avoid–Spain and Brazil. After the obvious, we’d most like to see Argentina or Italy, but simply avoiding the big two would be good enough for us. Our rankings of Pot 1 (organized from most favorable draw to least):
1. South Africa
4. The Netherlands
UEFA’s pot is normally the second scariest behind the seeds. This time around, Pot 3–the pot for Africa and South America–is giving them a run for their money. While Pot 3’s bottom–Algeria and Uruguay–is lower than Pot 4’s , we’re actually more afraid of drawing the Ivory Coast than any team from Europe. African soccer continues to grow, and if there was ever a time for its teams to make some noise, this would be it. Chile and Paraguay could also be dangerous opponents and should not be overlooked. Our rankings of Pot 3:
8. Ivory Coast
Pot 4 is tough. There aren’t any teams that strike fear into our hearts, but there are no pushovers, either. Obviously we’d like to avoid France and Portugal. Both are strong teams, though they lack the quality we’ve seen in years past. Serbia is the dark horse of the group. They are a talented, young team that we could see making a deep run in South Africa. Slovakia and Slovenia are probably the most desirable draws, but neither is a guaranteed three points (if our friendly was any indication). Our rankings of Pot 4
Based on our rankings, we’d most like to see South Africa, Uruguay, and Slovakia. (note: Since South Africa is in the group, we cannot draw a second African team. Therefore, Algeria is not an option.) On the opposite end of the spectrum–the group that would make us want to gouge our eyes out–is Brazil/Spain, Ivory Coast, and France.
That’s our take. Let us know what you’d most/least like to see this afternoon. Expect another post after the draw.