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World Cup Group of Death

By Todd McClamroch in News on Mar 17, 2006 5:00PM

The United States National Soccer Team cracked into the top five in the FIFA World Rankings when the March rankings were released earlier this week. This is a first for the United States, who are in their final stages of preparation for the 2006 World Cup which begins in June.

During the World Cup draw, the 32 finalists are divided into eight groups of four teams. Those teams play each of the teams in the group and the top two from each group advance to the single elimination rounds. The group deemed to be the most difficult group from which to advance from is labeled the “Group of Death”. In the last World Cup it was Group F, consisting of Sweden, England, Argentina and Nigeria. Sweden and England advanced while two-time World Cup champion Argentina was sent home after the first round.

The 2006 World Cup draw put the United States up against the Czech Republic, Italy and Ghana, leading many to declare their group the "Group of Death". An almost equal argument was made that Group C, with powerhouses Argentina and Netherlands along with Ivory Coast and Serbia & Montenegro, was the doomed grouping.


After conducting some analysis on the FIFA World Rankings we feel that Group E, with the United States, is indeed the most difficult group from which to advance. The average team rank, 17.3, is the lowest of all the groups. What makes this a more difficult group than Group C or others is that there are three top-15 teams and one top-50 team fighting for two advancing spots. No other division has such a top-heavy weighting.

Speaking of World Cup Soccer, Chicagoians are in for a treat later this month when Mexico and Paraguay face off at Soldier Field in an international friendly match as both teams prepare for the World Cup. Mexico is currently ranked 7th in the world with Paraguay ranked 33rd. Tickets for the event can be bought either through Ticketmaster or by contacting the Chicago Fire. The Fire has a special combination offer that includes tickets for this match and a regular season Chicago Fire game.