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Ranking Pots Shows USMNT One to Avoid

By Ken Hirt

Ranking Pots Shows USMNT One to Avoid

Ranking Pots Shows USMNT One to AvoidMany people are tweeting out the nightmare and ideal scenarios for the USMNT World Cup draw on December 6. So I thought I would rank each of the three pots the United States will face one team from and show the outcomes. The pots are ranked by ELO ratings since face it, FIFA ranks are BS. Yes, not perfect as Belgium is ranked as worst seeded team where most would consider them better than Switzerland, but all this is subjective. So take a look.

Rank Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3
1 Brazil Chile Netherlands
2 Germany France England
3 Spain Ecuador Portugal
4 Argentina Ivory Coast Italy
5 Colombia Nigeria Russia
6 Uruguay Ghana Greece
7 Switzerland Cameroon Croatia
8 Belgium Algeria Bosnia

The Nightmare Draw

Facing the highest ranked team from each pot would place in USA in a Group of Death featuring Brazil, Chile and Netherlands. Since Chile and Brazil can’t be in the group sub in the 2nd ranked team in France. That would be depressing. Why I won’t say it would be impossible to advance, only the biggest homer would give the Yanks more than a very slim chance.

The Dream Draw

I’ll be popping the champagne (actually pounding some American beers and eating wings) if the United States gets drawn with the 8th ranked team in each pot. This would produce a group of Belgium, Algeria and Bosnia. While no guarantee the USMNT would advance out of this group you’d have to like their chances. We know they can beat Algeria at a World Cup. They beat Bosnia in a road friendly and while Belgium hammered the Yanks in a friendly in the USA, perhaps that would make them a little too confident.

The Realistic Draw

It’s most likely the United States won’t get super lucky or unlucky. Thus, a group of say the 4th or 5th ranked teams from each pot is more realistic. Interestingly, this would produce two dramatically different groups. The 4th ranked team produces a group with Argentina, Ivory Coast and Italy while the 5th ranked teams brings Colombia, Nigeria and Russia. The former being pretty close to a Group of Death with the latter being very manageable. Of course, it’s most likely they average a rank of 4 or 5 but have it split with one higher and one lower ranked team. You really can go mad running possible outcomes. Luckily, it’s not long before we will know not only the teams in the USMNT group, but which team they will play first, when and where.

USA Team to Avoid – Group of Death Somewhat Likely

Lastly, look at it from outside a US perspective and that might give you some confidence. The USA is one country the rest of the world should want to avoid. The US ranks 9 spots ahead of the next best team in their pot (Mexico) by far the biggest gap in all four pots. Sure, if you are Brazil, Spain, Germany or a top 5 nation you really don’t care because you are that good. For everyone else getting drawn into a group with the United States will make advancing much more difficult. The USMNT is a team to be avoided. It makes it more likely the Yanks will be in a Group of Death, but it also shows their chances of advancing are better than many would think.

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