The 2010 World Cup Draw took place today in South Africa, aided by the incredibly beautiful Charlize Theron. This is when we can really start to get serious about thinking about how this tournament is going to play out. Here’s five initial thoughts on the draw:
1. U.S. – They couldn’t possibly have gotten a better draw. I don’t list the Americans among the elite in this tournament, so they are definitely dependent upon getting a good draw if they want to do well England will be too toughfor them , but that’s just one team in their group. Algeria and Slovenia are the other two teams, though, and there is no reason why the Americans can’t beat either of them. They also would be able to avoid Italy, Brazil, and Spain until late in the tournament. This is as good as it could possibly have been.
2. Brazil – The co-favorites are in the group of death. North Korea is there and we don’t know much about them, but they probably aren’t competitive. The rest of the group, though, is made up of very real competitors – Portugal and Ivory Coast. One of those three teams is going to reach the end of the line in the first round, and that’s rough for them.
3. Spain – I think that these co-favorites are the best team in the tournament, and I think that it’s by quite a margin. They’ll look even better given their schedule. Switzerland, Honduras, and Chile are all respectable teams, but they are no match at all for Spain if the Spaniards can finally play anywhere near their potential.
4. Both Italy and the Netherlands got fairly soft draws. As long as they both finish first in their groups, which they definitely should, they won’t have to meet in the second round, and they will both get reasonably winnable pairings. They should be happy.
5. There are a couple of profoundly good potential quarterfinals pairings. Brazil could meet the Netherlands and Spain could meet Italy in two highly explosive games. Even better, the winners of those matches don’t have to meet until the finals.