World Cup 2022: Ranking the Groups

CEO Tam DT
Sports scientists and mathematicians have dedicated years to studying the most effective and equitable methods of organizing tournaments. As the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is expected to draw in a staggering five billion viewers,...

Sports scientists and mathematicians have dedicated years to studying the most effective and equitable methods of organizing tournaments. As the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is expected to draw in a staggering five billion viewers, there is immense pressure to ensure that the tournament is organized flawlessly. One of the most common criticisms of FIFA's group draws is that they often result in groups of unequal strength. Some teams may have an easier path through the group stage, while others find themselves in a dreaded "group of death." The organizers must strike a delicate balance, ensuring that strong teams are not penalized for their prowess while also avoiding the formation of weak groups. Maintaining fairness is crucial for keeping TV audiences on the edge of their seats.

How Does it Work?

FIFA's seeding system designates the host nation and the seven strongest teams to each of the eight groups. To ensure a geographical spread, FIFA defines six qualifying zones: Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America (including the Caribbean), Oceania, and South America. With the exception of Europe, no two teams from the same zone can be placed in the same group, and no more than two European teams can be in the same group.

Qatar football World Cup 2022 - GROUPS Qatar football World Cup 2022 - GROUPS

At first glance, this year's draw appears to be quite balanced. Group E, featuring Spain and Germany, seems to have a clear top two, as does Group F, with Belgium and Croatia. However, anything can happen in the other groups.

Determining the overall strength of each group at Qatar 2022 based on their average FIFA world rankings provides valuable insights. Additionally, analyzing the spread of rankings within each group allows us to assess their competitiveness. So, let's dive in:

8. Group A: Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador, Qatar

With an average world ranking of 30 and a spread of 48 ranking places between the strongest and the weakest team, Group A appears to be the weakest group. The Netherlands (8th) should have a smooth sail, while Senegal (18th) is expected to overcome Ecuador (44th). Let's not underestimate the host nation, Qatar (50th), as their familiarity with the Middle East's conditions could play a significant role.

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7. Group H: Portugal, Uruguay, South Korea, Ghana

Weighing in with an average world ranking of 28 and a spread of 52 rankings, Group H is the second weakest. Portugal (9th), Uruguay (14th), and South Korea (28th) will be fierce contenders for the knockout spots. Ghana (61st) would be lucky to progress.

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6. Group C: Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia

Group C has an average world ranking of 23.25 and a spread of 48 places. Argentina (9th) is among the tournament favorites but will face a tough challenge from Mexico (13th), as well as Poland (26th) and Saudi Arabia (51st).

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5. Group D: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Australia

The next toughest group boasts an average world ranking of 20.5 and a spread of 34 positions. France (4th) and Denmark (10th) are likely to secure their spots, but Tunisia (30th) and Australia (38th) will challenge the European teams' consistency in the early stages of the tournament.

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Qatar 2022 football World Cup Match Schedule Qatar 2022 football World Cup Match Schedule

4. Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon

This group has an average world ranking of 20 and a spread of 42 ranking positions. Brazil (1st) is a legendary team and the most successful in the history of the World Cup, with five titles. Although Switzerland (15th), Serbia (21st), and Cameroon (43rd) may not guarantee the group's destiny, the tenacity of the Serbians and the flair of Cameroon could be crucial to their chances.

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3. Group F: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada

While Belgium may not immediately come to mind as one of the world's top footballing nations, they are currently ranked second in the world. In a group with an average world ranking of 19.25 and a spread of 39 places, the Red Devils should have no trouble progressing. Croatia (12th) will be hot on their heels, while Morocco (22nd) and Canada (41st) may struggle to advance further in the competition.

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2. Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan, Costa Rica

This group has an average world ranking of 18.25 and a spread of 24 ranking places. Spain (7th) and Germany (11th) are the favorites to top Group E, but Japan (24th), semi-finalists in 2002, should not be underestimated. With Costa Rica (31st) in the mix, we can expect a strong challenge from all teams in this group.

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1. Group B: England, USA, Iran, Wales

The toughest group of all, with an average world ranking of 15 and a spread of just 15 places. This group is not only the tightest but also the most competitive.

England (5th) is considered a serious contender for the trophy. However, fireworks are expected as England faces off against their neighbors, Wales (19th), and the USA (16th) squares up against geopolitical rival Iran (20th).

But remember, numbers on paper don't always translate into results on the pitch. Which teams will rise above expectations? Who will defy the odds within 90 minutes? After all, this is why we all love the beautiful game.

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