The group-stage draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is out and, as usual, many fans and commentators around the world have begun lamenting how their country’s team was dealt a spot in the “group of death”. The Guardian was quick to proclaim “England to kick off ‘group of death’ in the jungle”. Not so bloody fast mate.
There’s plenty of talk about which is the group of death but hardly any about the consolidated rankings within each group.
If rankings mean anything, it’s clear that two of the groups are a level above the rest. And if we had to pick a true group of death, it would be Group G (Germany, Portugal, USA and Ghana), which has an average rank of about 11. Rankings aren’t everything, but when the numbers are so clear, they’re a good place to start.
It’s easy to say that your own competition is the most difficult. In a way, it tempers expectations and provides a preemptive excuse in the event of elimination from the tournament. But if history is any indication, expectations for England and the USA should already be tempered – no need to blame it on the group of death.