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FIFA’s latest rankings and the World Cup’s degree of difficulty

Fifa 2014

The FIFA rankings are not the definitive measure of global strength. Really, is Switzerland the sixth best team in the world, three slots ahead of Brazil?

Nonetheless, they do provide fodder for discussion as the World Cup approaches. Using the FIFA form updated today, here are how the first-round groups shape up:

Group A
9. Brazil

6. Croatia

21. Mexico

46. Cameroon

Group B

1. Spain

10. Netherlands

14. Chile

53. Australia

Group C
5. Colombia

12. Greece

23. Ivory Coast

50. Japan

Group D
7. Uruguay

8. Italy

15. England

35. Costa Rica

Group E
6. Switzerland

18. France

24. Ecuador

40. Honduras

Group F
3. Argentina

17. Bosnia

38. Iran

47. Nigeria

Group G
2. Germany

4. Portugal

13. United States

37. Ghana

Group H
11. Belgium

22. Russia

26. Algeria

61. South Korea

By adding the figures for each group, we can determine the most treacherous and easiest quartets — on paper, anyway.

G: 56
D: 65
B: 78
E: 88
C: 90
A: 92
F: 105
H: 120

Another way of looking at it is the degree of difficulty advancing to the knockout stage.

To determine this, let’s drop the lowest-ranked team in each group because, after all, only two teams will secure passage and, in many cases, the weakest team at the start of play will fall from contention after two matches.
G: 19
B: 25
D: 30
C: 40
A: 46
E: 48
F: 58
H: 59
Using the two criteria, we pronounce G the undisputed Group of Death (good luck, Yanks), followed closely by B and D. The F and H groups provide clear paths for Argentina and Belgium, respectively.

FIFA will release the next set of rankings March 13, eight days after the last official fixture date leading to the World Cup.

READERS COMMENTS

  1. 21guns says:

    It looks funny using the rank to judge the outcome of the group matches.

    Ghana have been the underdogs in every world cup,but still we pass through with ease.

    I quiet remember Ghana vs Czech republic, in which Czech was the 2 world best Ghana trash them 3-0,and I see Ghana beating USA 3-1,beating Portugal 2-1, and drawing with Germany.

    No body should be afraid of the big teams they are beatable.

    God bless Oman Ghana