World Cup Draw: Pot 1
The World Cup Draw’s Pot 1 Contains the tournaments most formidable teams in accordance with their FIFA’s World Rankings!
Find out about their form and who they will be hoping to avoid and get in the draw on Friday!
The hosts qualified here automatically, so we can’t really talk about their form, bar a series of friendly results, which have for the most part, been hit and miss. However, as the host nation with an expectant home following behind them, they are sure to be filled with a high level of morale when they kick off the first game of the tournament! As host nation, they are in Group A, which means they will avoid the toughest teams (On Paper) in the tournament. This means they haven’t got to worry about getting Germany, Brazil or Argentina. The worst-case scenario would be for them to draw Spain, who were very impressive in the Group Stage getting just two points shy of a full record in qualifying, or Switzerland, who lost just once. It still wouldn’t be too bad a result for them anyway, as it would mean Denmark and Iceland and Sweden, three of the four highest ranked teams in pot 3 are out of the picture, as they are fellow UEFA teams. This means it would need the teams in Pot 4 to cause an upset for them to not proceed to the next round.
The current World Cup Holders and World Number 1, as well favorites to win it outright again are Germany. They have appeared in the most World Cups and have the second most victories. They didn’t drop a single point in the World Cup Qualifiers and finished with a full record and haven’t lost an international game since Euro 2016. It’s far to say that they are without a doubt, the team to beat and most other countries will be worried about drawing them, rather than vice versa. Whoever Germany draw, they should still have no trouble going through to the next round, as the other Pots simply won’t have the calibre. The only team I can see challenging them properly would be Spain, and even then, they would still qualify for the round of 16 even as second place. It would be major upset if they were to not get past their group when you compare them next to the teams to Pot 3 and Pot 4.
This Brazil side isn’t what it once was, but they will still have all the teams scared. They have already beaten Peru and Uruguay by impressive scores and Colombia twice in the past year, although they can’t play them again it demonstrates they have proven themselves against similar level of rival. They only really need to worry about 5 teams in pot B in fact, including England who they got a draw with away very recently. However, this also increase the odds of getting Spain, but likewise with Germany, the fact is that there is no one in Pot 3 who should cause them too many issues. Plus, they have beaten two of the top 4 ranked teams in Pot 4, Japan and Australia, by significant figures recently. Really, this should still be elementary for Brazil, despite not having the calibre of yesteryear. They also were humiliated in front of their home fans when they hosted and so have a lot to prove and this will mean they will come into this competition fired up.
The Champions of Euro 2016, Portugal, qualified here through the skin of their teeth. They only narrowly saw away in their final game Switzerland to qualify on goal difference, a team they had lost to in the first game the played, with them same score line of 2-0 that got them through. This will be a tough game for them as they know each other inside out at this point and Switzerland will be looking for revenge. If not the Swiss, then their Neighbors Spain would make for a very interesting match, the last time the two played, back at Euro 2012, Spain won on penalties and so, they currently hold the bragging rights between the pair. Other than that, they have been consistent of late, beating potential pot 4 team Saudi Arabia 3-0 in October and are currently unbeaten for 13 games. The last team they lost to was in fact, Giant Killers, Sweden, who they may get in Pot 3, so if they dodge the European teams in Pot 2, they may come unstuck here.
The Runners Up in the 2014 World Cup will be looking to improve on this in Russia. Luckily, they won’t have to struggle against the team who beat them in the Final Germany and like Brazil, they only have 5 potential teams to qualify against in Pot 2. However, Argentina will still be nursing a 4-2 Defeat against Nigeria from just a fortnight ago who they could get in Pot 4, and who they also only narrowly defeated in 2014 Group Stages. However, with bigger stakes, this will be the last of their worries. They had a very sketchy qualifying period and have dropped points against Peru and Uruguay, who although they can’t draw again in the Groups, it shows they may struggle against the higher calibre teams in the draw. Likewise, with Brazil, they aren’t as big a threat as they once were, but the Brazilians knows they have proven themselves in Qualification. If they get a weaker team in Pot 2 it will make all the difference, but I can see Argentina struggling if they get two tough teams in Pot 2 and 3.
The first team to qualify for the World Cup will go into this competition hungry. They cruised through qualification and have serious calibre in their team and have got to the Quarterfinals in their last two international competitions. They will be looking to better this, when June comes around. In their last result, they beat Japan by 1-0, who they potentially get in Pot 4 and beat Sweden in Pot 3 the last time they played back in the Euro 2016. They have been fairly untested against the majority of teams left in the competition, so time will tell, but if form is anything to go through, Belgium will be formidable opponents against whoever they draw.
They have the Qualifications leading Top Scorer upfront in Robert Lewandowski, and he will be a striker every team’s defence that is in the draw will be terrified of. Plus, Poland showed remarkable character in their last big competition, where they only lost out to eventual winners Portugal and will go into this competition with relatively the same team, which bodes well them putting in a solid performance. They drew very recently against Uruguay who they could be up against in Pot 2, as well as an in form, Switzerland who they knocked out of the Euros back in 2016 only on penalties, so these could be interesting match ups. Another two teams that Poland may be wary of getting is Denmark and Mexico. They lost 4-0 against Denmark in the Qualifiers and who also showed exceptional form against Republic of Ireland, as well Mexico, who they lost too earlier in November. As such, Poland will be hoping to avoid any of these four teams for a simple progression, I’m just not sure they have the calibre to really compete in later rounds.
France lost just once in Qualifying, against Sweden, who they could find themselves up against in Pot 3. That loss will still be fresh in the French minds, along with Sweden causing another upset against Italy earlier this month to knock them out. As well as this, they lost earlier this year to Spain, another potential team in Group B. So, either of these wouldn’t be ideal, but at least they know they can’t get both. They have beaten England already this year and have a good record against them historically, so these could be potential good opponents for them. This said, the French team have performed very well over recent years, losing only in the final in the Euros 2016, which they hosted, and will be hoping to build on that and improve and regain the glory of 98′. I don’t think there is too many others they may be wary of at this stage, The French have also qualified past the Group Stages in the last three tournaments they were in. However, its worth bearing in mind that the last time they were in a group with Uruguay and Mexico, both potential teams in this World Cup, they didn’t get past the Group Stages.