|Have mercy: Rio's statue of Christ looms over World Cup|
Less than a week before the World Cup kicks off on Thursday night, we have a NEW GROUP OF DEATH.
We always knew it was going to be tough for Ghana at this World Cup. Drawn in Group G with Germany, Portugal and the USA, we suspected the Black Stars would struggle to finish in the top two after narrowly failing to reach the semi-finals in South Africa 2010.
But today we can reveal Group G is NOT QUITE as nasty as Group D (Uruguay, England, Italy and Costa Rica) as we count down to the 2014 World Cup tournament which starts with hosts Brazil v Croatia on Thursday.
There is only ONE scientific way to rate a World Cup qualification group. It goes like this: add up the combined FIFA rankings of the four sides involved. The highest score equals the EASIEST group, the lowest score suggests the MOST DIFFICULT pool (otherwise known as the GROUP OF DEATH).
With FIFA’s last set of rankings before the big kick-off released yesterday, now is the time to check just WHICH TEAMS have the easiest task when it comes to reaching the last 16.
On that basis, with Costa Rica up SIX places to 28th and England moving up one while Portugal slipped a place to 4th in the latest rankings, Group D can now be classified as the toughest group with 54 points while Group G is the second hardest pool with a total of 56 points.
Argentina’s Group F – shared with Bosnia, Iran and Nigeria – is officially the easiest pool on 113 with Group H (Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea) next easiest with a total world ranking of 109.
It’s also worth noting Group D contains the most top-ten teams (Three: Uruguay, Italy and England), while Group H (Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic) offers no nation in that elite group.
The world’s top 15 teams are ALL involved, Ukraine (16th) are the highest ranked nation failing to qualify. Denmark (23rd) are the next highest-ranked failures followed by Slovenia (25th) and, surprisingly, Scotland (27th).
The lowest ranked team in the tournament is Australia at 62 with South Korea at 56. If South Africa, now ranked 65 after their draws against the Aussies and New Zealand last month, had qualified, they would have been officially the WORST team at the tournament.
GROUP BY GROUP
Cote D’Ivoire 23
Costa Rica 28
South Korea 57