Looking for this World Cup’s ‘Group of Death’? It doesn’t exist anymore. Here’s why…

Whenever the World Cup draw is completed, the immediate task is to find out which is the “group of death”.

But the boring answer is none these days. Changes to the format of the tournament mean that the four true contenders are rarely paired together.

This World Cup, however, is rare. To explain why, here is a brief history of how the group of death gradually disappeared.

There are three things at play. The first issue is the expansion of the tournament.

Also Read :  Russia launches missile barrage on Ukraine as 1st snow falls

The term “group of death” was coined in 1970, when there were only 16 teams in the tournament. (Since 1982 there have been 24 teams, since 1998 there have been 32, and from 2026 there will be 48.)

As a result, the quality is refined. In this tournament, 50 percent of the teams would not have been able to enter this tournament if it had been held when the concept of “group of death” was first introduced.

Also Read :  Inside England and USMNT’s World Cup training facilities in Qatar

There are likely to be the same number of competitors in each World Cup; around eight to 10 sides and a real chance to win the competition. Long ago, they were divided into four groups, then they were divided into six, and now eight. The chances of finding two – or three – in the same group have steadily decreased.

The second issue is spread across different unions. This is not the same as simply increasing competition.

Also Read :  Toluca, Pachuca over Club America, Monterrey

Historically, the real contenders for the World Cup have almost always been drawn from Europe and South America.

No African country has ever reached the semi-finals. No team from Oceania has ever reached the quarter-finals. Only one Asian side has ever reached the final – South Korea on home soil in 2002. And only one North American side has ever reached the final, the USA back in 1930.

Bobby Charlton


England’s Bobby Charlton battles Brazil’s Clodoaldo in the ‘Group of Death’ in 1970 (Photo: Syndication/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

And while the South American team in each tournament has grown in line with the number of nations in general, the European quota has not.

UEFA Nations in the World Cup

The tournament UEFA nations

1930

31%

1934

75%

1938

87%

1950

62%

1954

75%

1958

69%

1962

63%

1966

63%

1970

56%

1974

56%

1978

62%

1982

58%

1986

58%

1990

58%

1994

54%

1998

47%

2002

47%

2006

44%

2010

41%

2014

41%

2018

44%

2022

41%

FIFA has prioritized regional representation over direct quality. This, then, a The world Cup. But this means that the overall quality is weak; meaning Italy doesn’t qualify while Saudi Arabia and Tunisia do. Fair enough, but it’s fair to say that the reigning European champions would be an obvious candidate for any potential group of death.

Indeed, the biggest team demise in a major tournament came not at the World Cup, but at Euro ’96. It featured Germany (second place in the world), Russia (third), Italy (seventh) and the Czech Republic (10th), and also produced two finalists.

The third thing, and perhaps the most relevant thing, is the seed system.

Let’s go back to this first group of deaths in 1970. It was not just that the 1970 World Cup produced that group of death, rather than 1962 or 1966. But after no agreement was reached on the seeding system before 1970, the drawing was open.

The result? The two most recent winners of the competition, England and Brazil, were drawn in one group, along with the runners-up since 1962, Czechoslovakia. Romania wasn’t much of a threat in terms of qualification, although they beat Czechoslovakia and lost to England and Brazil by just one point, so they were out of place. FIFA was determined not to allow this to happen again and all drawings since then have been installed.

Seeding has taken a variety of forms, but the system we’ve used involves Pot 1 consisting of the strongest sides in terms of world rankings (and armies), and everyone else is placed in geographic pots (rather than being seeded continuously in rankings).

Therefore, it was possible for one team to contain the top seed, with a strong European side, a strong South American side and a strong African side, even if they were all placed in the top 16 countries in the competition.

That system was used until 2014. From 2018, things changed. Now the painting is planted everywhere, and the pots are set on a global scale rather than a geographical one.

That meant that the deadliest team for the 2018 World Cup had a much lower death rate than previous years. In fact, the third-strongest team in the potential death squad was weaker than the fourth-strongest team from the deadliest teams in previous tournaments, by world standards.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4

1998

Germany (1)

England (6)

Colombia (9)

Mexico (11)

2002

Spain (1)

Mexico (9)

England (10)

Paraguay (14)

2006

Brazil (1)

America (9)

Netherlands (10)

Paraguay (15)

2010

Brazil (1)

France (9)

America (10)

Cameroon (14)

2014

Spain (1)

Netherlands (8)

Chile (12)

America (13)

2018

Germany (1)

Spain (8)

Costa Rica (22)

Nigeria (41)

2022

Brazil (1)

Mexico (9)

Senegal (20)

Wales (18*)

There is another problem with the 2022 World Cup, however – it is represented by this star.

Because some qualifiers were delayed due to the pandemic – and the war delayed Ukraine’s play-offs against Scotland and Wales – the draw for the 2022 World Cup took place before we knew who the three teams were as they had not played their play-offs. matches. Therefore, these playoff sides are placed in Pot 4, regardless.

This was important in the case of Wales, who defeated Ukraine to secure their place. If the play-offs had taken place before the draw, Wales’ rating of 18 would have made them a Pot 3 side (and, indeed, a Pot 2 side had it not been for Qatar’s 51st place automatically in Pot 1 ). Instead, they were in Pot 4.

So whichever team Wales are drawn into will be stronger than FIFA originally thought. They are tied with England (fifth place), USA (15th), and Iran (21st). It may be less lethal than in 1970, for example, but it’s actually much stronger than anything four years ago – and that’s without taking into account the rivalry between England and Wales and the tensions between the USA and Iran.

Do you think the group of death is an illusion? But it is likely to be more successful than any World Cup we will see again due to the expansion of the 48-team World Cup from 2026, combined with geographical spread.

FIFA intends to adapt the 48-team tournament by using 16 teams of three, with two sides advancing to the knockout stages. That has two implications for potential death groups.

First, on the (highly unlikely) assumption that the tournament has 48 top-ranked sides in the world and the draw is seeded throughout, every team will have a side ranked 33rd or lower. In all likelihood, when you take into account the shares in each union, it seems that the average level of Pot 3 sides will be in the 50s or 60s.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, when two of the three sides advance in each group, things are not so bad. A 67 percent chance of progress feels too risky. By 2026, the idea of ​​a death squad will be dead for sure.

(Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)



Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button