With all of the spots for the 2013 FIFA World Cup taken, there was a final draw held in Brazil to determine the groupings of the 32 teams. The highest ranked team that wasn’t able to qualify was the Ukraine. They are ranked 18th in the world on FIFA’s website.
The lowest ranked team of the 32 countries who advanced is Australia, ranked 59th worldwide. The 32 teams were grouped into eight groups of four teams. Of the four teams in each group, only two will be able to move on to the next leg in the tournament.
The United States will have a tough time moving on as the team is grouped with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. Germany and Portugal each contain a young and athletic star in Mesut Özil and Cristiano Ronaldo, respectively. Germany is the No. 2-ranked team in the world and Portugal is ranked 5th.
Ghana is ranked below the U.S. but was able to defeat and eliminate the United States team in the last two World Cups. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann thinks, “that is a tough group, which couldn’t have been harder.” The United States is currently ranked 14th in the world.
American River College’s men’s soccer coach Paul Hansen explains the grouping in a simple manner.
“Whoever got paired with Germany was going to be thinking it was a tough draw. Ghana seems to have our number from the last two times, and Portugal has a strong side, but Germany is the super power in that group.”
When asked about the U.S. team itself, Hansen said, “They look good, but it’s who they look good against. I don’t think they’re going to be as dominant in a bigger stage than the Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football [Gold Cup].”
While Mexico dodged a bullet by defeating New Zealand for one of the last available spots, the country is currently ranked 20th and found itself in Group A. The team is grouped with the host country, Brazil, as well as Croatia and Cameroon.
Brazil may not be the soccer juggernaut it once was, but it is still highly ranked, currently at 10th. Croatia is quietly at a surprising 16th rank while Cameroon is ranked 51st.
“I think (Mexico)played really poorly in CONCACAF (Gold Cup), and were lucky to qualify even. They look like they barely scraped in and my guess is that they’ll not perform great,” Hansen said.