Earlier today the pots for Friday’s World Cup draw were announced by FIFA. Though not nearly as dramatic as the placement of the 32 teams into groups will be in two days, FIFA did provide fodder for more speculation over the next forty-eight hours.
In a departure from previous World Cups, the seeded teams (Pot 1) were based solely on the October FIFA Rankings plus host country South Africa. Conveniently for FIFA, this method pushes France out of the seeding after their infamous Hand of Henry qualification and allows current world #3, The Netherlands, to slide into the seeded group. This change results in a slightly less potent Group of Death scenario for the US.
Unfortunately for the Yanks, FIFA didn’t change up anything else relative to other federations in the US pot. So, in Pot 2 goes three CONCACAF teams, the four Asian teams and one Oceania representative. Not being potted with the African nations decreases the likelihood that the US will draw into a group with seeded host country South Africa, currently at #85 in the FIFA rankings.
Pot 3 has the three CONMEBOL teams shacking-up with the five African nations that qualified. Finally, Pot 4 includes France and the rest of the European squads.
To add some intrigue to the mostly ho-hum announcement below are the final Pots listed in true TSG form, by nickname (with the country names listed further down the page).
Auriverdes,La Furia Roja, Oranje, Azzurri, Die Mannschaft, La Albiceleste, Three Lions, Bafana Bafana
The Yanks, El Tri, Los Catrachos, Taeguk Warriors, Samurai Blue, Socceroos, Chollima (Thousand Mile Horse), All Whites
La Roja, La Albirroja, La Celeste, The Desert Foxes, Indomitable Lions, Super Eagles, The Black Stars, The Elephants
Les Blues, The Pirate Ship, The Fighing Jondas, NA (Slovenia), the Nati, Danish Dynamite, Selection of the Shields, White Eagles
Here is the corresponding Pots by country name, matched to the nicknames above.
Brazil, Spain, The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England and South Africa
US, Mexico, Honduras, South Korea, Japan, Australia, North Korea and New Zealand
Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Algeria, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast
France, Greece, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Denmark, Portugal and Serbia