World Cup 2014: How the draw has treated Africa

World Cup 2014: How the group stage draw has treated Africa

Posted: 7 December 2013 Time: 09:51 am

Yesterday’s World Cup draw threw up a whole host of fascinating subplots and has, in some ways, changed the complexion of the tournament for a number of the competing sides.

Africa’s five representatives enjoyed mixed fortunes. KickOff.com looks at who has got reason to cheer and who has reason to fear the big kick-off in Brazil next summer.

For the full 2014 World Cup draw, CLICK HERE

 

Group A: Cameroon, Brazil, Croatia & Mexico

At first glace, Cameroon’s chances of progression look pretty slim having been handed a tough-looking group containing Mexico, Croatia and hosts Brazil.

However, excluding the hosts, who one would expect to qualify in top spot, the other two sides are beatable and the draw could certainly have been a lot trickier for the Indomitable Lions.

They open against a Mexican side who endured an extremely problematic qualification experience, finishing fourth in the Concacaf Hexagon programme before having to contest a double-header against New Zealand. El Tri boast some fine individual players and have an excellent recent record for escaping the group stage. However, it is not unrealistic for Cameroon to target a victory in this opening bout.

Next up, Croatia, another side who failed to qualify automatically from their qualification group; Valtreni bested their bitter rivals Serbia in Uefa Group A, but could not overcome the Belgians and had to beat Iceland in a play-off to book their ticket to the World Cup.

Croatia’s impotent performance in the first leg, when they could only draw 0-0 in Reykjavik, will imbue Volker Finke with optimism.

A final group clash with Brazil in Brasilia, the country’s capital, is a terrifying prospect for any national side – the Indomitable Lions will have to hope that the Selecao, having already qualified, take their foot off the gas.

Don’t hold your breath, however!

 

Group C: Cote d’Ivoire, Colombia, Greece & Japan

Finally, after two tournaments where the Cote d’Ivoire were almost eliminated before they even kicked a ball, the Elephants have finally managed to avoid a Group of Death.

The West African nation finds itself up against Asian champions Japan, Greece and the seeded Colombia. The draw is not an easy one by any stretch of the imagination, but having faced the likes of Portugal, Brazil, Holland and Argentina in recent tournaments, Sabri Lamouchi’s men will just be delighted to have avoided the big guns.

It is imperative that the faded Golden Generation expel any complacent elements that may be lingering within the camp. This, along with fear and perceived arrogance, has been their weakness in the continental arena and they must not exit the 2014 tournament having missed a glorious opportunity to make amends for failures past.

This group provides them with ample opportunity to progress to the knockout rounds, although they must not slip up against Japan in their opening match.

 

Group F: Nigeria, Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina & Iran

News of the Super Eagles’ World Cup draw has been greeted with broad optimism and ebullient patriotism in Nigeria.

Having conquered the continent, Stephen Keshi and his troops fear no one and the promise of a rematch with Argentina is one that the team look set to approach with relish rather than reticence.

Many Nigerian fans will be particularly excited at the prospect of witnessing Vincent Enyeama, currently in the form of his life, attempt to once again thwart Lionel Messi. The Lille stopper delivered one of the finest performances of his career at the 2010 edition of the tournament to persistently prevent Messi from finding the net.

While Nigeria should realistically hope to join Argentina in qualifying from the group, rather than pip them to top spot, the group’s other two sides provide cause for optimism.

Bosnia boast a number of fine players, but they are World Cup debutants and one of the weaker European sides in the tournament. Iran will not be easy opponents but considering the names that could have been drawn from the Asian/American nations, they are not a bad prospect at all.

 

Group G: Ghana, Germany, Portugal & the USA

Unfortunately, Ghana have not enjoyed the fortune of their West African brothers and find themselves in a Group of Death that lives up to the moniker.

Germany, rife with talent, are one of the world’s finest sides and will be expected to reach the tournament’s latter stages, let alone escape the group.

Portugal, inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo, will look to follow them out of Group G. The Real Madrid forward is naturally the star of the team (and could well be the star of the tournament), but his compatriots also possess exceptional qualities and any kind of result would represent an achievement for the Black Stars.

The United States complete the set and are probably the toughest possible team that Kwesi Appiah’s men could have come up against from Pot 3.

This collection of teams presents a number of intriguing subplots; America boss Jurgen Klinsmann will be forced to duel with his countrymen, while brothers Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng will meet face-to-face on June 21.

The Black Stars will doubtless be casting envious glances over to Africa’s final representatives ...

 

Group H: Algeria, Belgium, Russia & the Korea Republic

While Algeria may be Africa’s least-promising team, they find themselves in one of the World Cup’s most-promising groups.

Belgium will not be an easy prospect, and ought to top the group, but compared to some of the other top seeds that the Fennecs may have encountered, they are not terrifying opposition.

The North Africans are not favourites to qualify ahead of either Russia or the Korea Republic, but neither will they fear their two other group-mates.

If Madjid Bougherra can keep things tight at the back, and if Sofiane Feghouli can channel some of his creative qualities, then Algeria could feasibly target a first-ever spot in the last 16.

They will never again get as easy an opportunity to do so.

Article by: Ed Dove

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Santi
posted: 10:43am 07/12/2013
Fair draw for both SE and CIV, they should be able to make it to the next round, our ghanaians brothers have their work cut out but this is football anything can happen they will just to dig deep and see how it goes, algeria and cameroon aint looking bad they can progress too, preparation is the key
Game147
posted: 10:51am 07/12/2013
'Flash-in-the-pan-CIV' can smile of a perceived easy draw at their own peril. I saw Japan at the last confederation cup and they are quite a formidable side. They play pacy and possession-based-philosophy-brand of football. I don't see Kolo Toure and Co ( jittery defenders) stopping their attackers. Expecting a walk-over against Greece will be suicidal . Columbia will trash CIV as usual with Radamel Falcao de 'Tiger'. Good-luck to them anyway.

Africa's hopes lies which Nigeria,Ghana and Cameroun. Though Cameroun is in a tough group but I expect them keep their head-up when the chips are down. As a kid, I still remember 9-man Cameroun defeating defending Champions Argentina at Italia '90. Cameroun can spring surprises . Good-luck to Algeria as well.

Nigeria and Argentina encounter can go either way. In the past , the encounters had always been won by slim margin. Brazil and Argentina rivalry been similar to Ghana and Nigeria, I expect huge Brazilian support for Nigeria as they did at the 2013 Confederation Cup against Uruguay and Spain.

While Nigeria will be up against Angel Di Maria, Lion-el Messi, Higuain, Sergio Aguleri ( Kun Aguero ) e.t.c, the Argentine back-line also have bullish-Emenike, robust-Dike,'Dangote-of-experience' Ameobi, back-heel Uche Nwofor ( if he's in form ) to contend with. The primary duty of wingers is to create goals, Victor Moses 'Terror Squad' and 'Lightening' Ahmed Musa have a huge role to play with this regard.

General Mikel Obi 'kererenke' and Vincent Jet Li-Enyeama are the men for big stage any day anytime.

Kenneth 'Nesta' Omeruo vs Sergio Aguleri ( Kun Aguero), interesting contest. If Aguero thinks he can run past Omeruo the way he does to Cahil and co then he should be ready to find himself in throw-in constantly.

Up Naija.
cambiaso
posted: 11:05am 07/12/2013
Seriously, I don't envy Ghana. It's quite unfortunate that they ended up in the group of death, but then they could just spring a surprise. I sincerely hope they do.

I'm sorry but I don't see Camroon qualifying from that group, they lack the unity and even talents to navigate such a tricky group.

Côte divoire truly have a chance to write their wrongs and make something out of this world cup. This is the best chance they'll get in a while. But the likes of Columbia and even Japan are very tricky teams and if one can go by past instances, it could be said that the ivorians struggle against teams who are skillful and mobile, and all the teams in their group posses this attributes and more.

Algeria for me don't posses the mentality required at this level, they are a good team no doubt. But in competitions of this magnitude you need to have psychological ruggedness, grit and determination to excel beyond the Group stages. I.don't think they have these qualities, they may prove me wrong though.

Nigeria, always unpredictable and has the penchant to always spring surprises when the world least expects. What this current set of eagles have going for them is their mentality. The never say die attitude, mental alertness, a bit of individual brilliance and most of all, unity. However, I don't agree totally with those who think the Eagles will have it easy in the group Stages. Iran is an unknown quantity even though I expect a victory for the Eagles, they must thread with caution. Bosnia on the other hand have some quality players, Dzeko and pjanic spring to mind. But all things being equal, the Eagles should get the required victory. Argentina on the other hand are familiar foes, and of course one of the favourites to win the competition. But with hard work, perseverance, patience and unity of purpose. I expect Nigeria to qualify from group F.
Anonymous
posted: 11:17am 07/12/2013
I scared of this Argentina side with the likes of Messi, Aguero, Tevez, Higuain, Di maria. These guys are goal machines. People should should not forget the fact that Man city Eden zecho is from Bosnia. They are very strong in the air.
Achi, TCL
posted: 11:18am 07/12/2013
Well, I've got every reason to cheer, I'll continue to cheer for the SE, they'll emerge from the group and I'll cheer more. As for our other brothers, goodluck. Surprisingly, that's the last word in Nja, Goodluck.
goldfish80
posted: 12:31pm 07/12/2013
I wonder who came up with the idea that Ivory coast are going to have it easy.Let's not be decieved,Ivory coast can realistically win or draw Greece, Japan might even win that group ahead of Columbia with what I've seen recently from them especially at the confed cup and a recent friendly with Netherlands(Netherland got a draw by the grace of God). With players like Inter milans Nagatomo,Uchida,Honda, Kagawa and possesion based soccer they play I really tip Japan to be one of the dark horses of the tourney.
Ghana and Cameroun have no chance, cameroun especially.I frankly don't see them winning any game in that group. Algeria don't have the temprament and mentality to make an impact on the world stage.Nigerian represents Africa's best chance. My opinion
sassfela
posted: 12:36pm 07/12/2013
hi guys;,,,,, pls i cnt shout 9ja all d way,, i was expectin to c ghana in d semis along wit my darling SE but it was a sori note to ghana germany portugal? No way ghana forget it. I totally support KEshi 4rm my first day but now am afraid he might offend me in dis worldcup,,many critics ar comin up but KESHI pls dnt answer dem dnt cal all dis FINDMASTER wey no fit mark i.e osaze and co.ohun ani la nani..learn to support ur own
NaijaBros
posted: 12:58pm 07/12/2013
Ghana can beat Portugal. Portugal struggled against Israel and Russia. That's why they had to qualify through the playoffs. They are nothing special. In fact, they are the European version of Ivory Coast. Overrated.

The Black Stars will beat them.
keshitillidie
posted: 01:10pm 07/12/2013
as for Ghana who cares about them they can kiss the dust for all i care i never support Ghana they hate naija to the core, anything Ghana can go to hell.been there, lived there and saw there hate for naija so i dont care they can be in group of hell or death na there own cup of tea be that, as for Naija, if we work harder with good team spirit we can beat Argentina this time around as for Iran and Bosnia, i dont see dem beating us, we may draw Bosnia but Iran we must and shud beat.
AUSSY GUY
posted: 01:52pm 07/12/2013
What threat do Bosnia and Iran pose Eagles?


Manchester City and Bosnia star striker Edin Dzeko

Argentina are no strangers to Nigeria, but very little could readily be said of the threat Bosnia and Iran pose for the Eagles in Group F of the 2014 World Cup.

Bosnia, for one, will be making their World Cup debut at Brazil 2014.

Their qualifying tournament record is intimidating as they won eight, drew one and lost only once. They scored 30 goals and conceded only six goals.

Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic scored between them 18 of those goals with an 8-1 victory over Liechtenstein their biggest win.

They pipped Greece on goals’ difference to qualify automatically for Brazil 2014.

They are currently ranked 16th in the world by FIFA, 20 spots above Nigeria.

AS Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic has picked Argentina to win Group with Bosnia and Nigeria battling for the second place.

“Reasonably happy with the draw. Argentina are favourites. I think we will compete with Nigeri for second place. We hope to do it,” Pjanic said.

Iran, on the other hand, are staging their fourth World Cup appearance having featured at the 1978, 1998 and 2006 editions.

Team Melli have failed to go past the opening round in all three appearances.

To qualify for Brazil 2014, they won 10 matches, drew four and lost two matches.

They are ranked 49th in the world by FIFA with their best-ever ranking being 15th in July/August 2005.

Former Portugal and Manchester United manager Carlos Queiroz said it was a big opportunity for the Asian country to return to the World Cup stage.

“It was difficult qualifying but it is an opportunity to play at the World Cup,” he said.

“Argentina will be the top team (in our group), but we will come with the ambition to get to second round.

“Nigeria are strong, playing well and with confidence, they are playing well now.”


Nigeria First Round Fixtures

June 16 vs Iran in Curtiba

June 21 vs Bosnia-Herzegovina in Curtiba

June 25 vs Argentina in Porto Alegre

God bless Nigeria

Greeting all the way from Australia
blackpanther187
posted: 01:59pm 07/12/2013
I dont care against who we play. For a long time we had a huge problem with our management. I think almost three times we have sacked our coaches before the world cup. And for a very long our fans were not really behind our team. and I dont blame them.

Now we have everything we want:

1. Money

2. We have played in Brazil before

3. Backing from the fans and goverment

4. 6 months before the WC we will start working with the Chan-squad

5. With Emenike, Mikel, Moses, Onazi, Elderson, Ambrose, Ameobi, Musa, Yobo, you can say we mos def have experience and world class players

6. Keshi allready has a team.. or lets say he is 90% sure. Maybe we will ad Haruna and Yobo

This is no joke we just need to concentrate and give 200%. We must believe in ourselves. Nigeria has in my opinion the best talents in the world since 7 years. We can be proud. Our boys should forget Chelsea, Klimarock.. or Fernebace! It doesnt matter if they have problem with their clubs in some cases. They shouldnt forget where they come from and they should use the spirit of 160 mio. fans and play like Kings.

I am telling you guys, the Chan tournament will help our coaches and organisation towards the world cup a lot!
ositamarc
posted: 01:59pm 07/12/2013
@saasfella,dont u ever worry urself about keshi n who he will choose for the world cup,wait till may and u will see his 23 man squad for the world cup....then u can understand why he is called BIG BOSS!
blackpanther187
posted: 02:00pm 07/12/2013
I wish all of our brothers the best. But sadly my only main concern is Nigeria
NigerDelta4Life
posted: 02:03pm 07/12/2013
Group A:
Brazil – Host nation is a clear favorite to win it all and was the seed no one wanted to meet.
Croatia – Shaky in qualifying and winless in World Cups since 1998; Luka Modric is a shining light.
Mexico – Fortunate to qualify after desperate CONCACAF form pushed it to the brink of elimination.
Cameroon – Lowest-ranked of the African nations after patchy form over the past year.

Group B:
Spain – Defending champion started slowly in 2010, losing to Switzerland in first game.
Netherlands – 2010 runner-up was somehow unseeded and a team nobody wanted to face.
Chile – Struggled early in qualifying but was near perfect late on and will be a real threat.
Australia – Fired coach Holger Osieck after heavy friendly defeats and comes in with little momentum.

Group C:
Colombia – Radamel Falcao heads a deep squad keen to shine after missing last three tournaments.
Greece – Not much fun to watch; defensively excellent but short on attacking firepower.
Ivory Coast – Eliminated in the Group of Death last time, Didier Drogba’s back for one last shot.
Japan – Greatly improved team more than capable of creating some shocks against bigger opponents.

Group D:
Uruguay – Reached the semis four years ago but survived a qualifying scare this time around.
Costa Rica – Qualifying success was built upon outstanding home form, struggles on the road.
England – Lacking in confidence and inspiration and comes in with its lowest expectations in decades.
Italy – Champions in 2006, awful in 2010, full of talent and believes it can go all the way.

Group E:
Switzerland – Considered the weakest seeded team but a skillful unit capable of going deep.
Ecuador – Clinched a World Cup spot for only the third time and has never gone past the last 16.
France – Scraped through with a playoff comeback, hopes to atone for humiliating 2010 campaign.
Honduras – Has reached two previous World Cups but has yet to record its first victory.

Group F:
Argentina – Lionel Messi heads a confident team looking to secure first title since 1986.
Bosnia-Herzegovina – The only newcomer in the 32-strong field, highly talented but unpredictable.
Iran – Managed just one point from three games in 2006 and failed to qualify in 2010.
Nigeria – One of the youngest squads in the tournament that should not be underestimated.

Group G:
Germany – Third in 2010 and aims to build on positive vibe created by its dominant club teams.
Ghana – Knocked out the U.S. in 2010 before being heartbreakingly denied a semifinal spot.
United States – Regarded as the strongest team in its pot after topping CONCACAF group.
Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo single-handedly won a tense playoff but has yet to shine at World Cup.

Group H:
Belgium – Reached first World Cup since 2002 after huge improvement and a superb qualifying campaign.
Russia – Finished first in a tough qualifying group that also featured Portugal and Sweden.
Algeria – Bottom of the U.S. group in 2010 and one of the weakest teams, at least on paper.
South Korea – An easy campaign became nail-biting late on; finally booked place on goal differential.

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/soccer--usa-draws-into-group-of-death-for-2014-world-cup-173015593.html
ositamarc
posted: 02:08pm 07/12/2013
@blackpanther,i believe u 200%.....u just siad it all...we are the graeatest n the strongest black n
TeellThemm
posted: 03:55pm 07/12/2013
Marks my words folks, CIV aint gonna make it outta that group C.
Game147
posted: 04:18pm 07/12/2013
@TeellThemm, Brother, abeg forget that 'flash-in-the-pot-team' called CIV. Dem no sabi play futubolu 'sam-sam'.
Even some Nigerian football experts and self-acclaimed soccer pundits expect them ( CIV ) to do better than Nigeria, that's the extent of cataract damage of peoples retina.
sharky
posted: 06:23pm 07/12/2013
Please don't underestimate Iran! They topped their group in the qualifiers and also have a good coach in Carlos Queiroz, former Manchester united assistant and Portugal coach!!!
denonso1
posted: 07:08pm 07/12/2013
It is FUNNY to me that many fancy CIV group as easy group. Quick enlightenment:

Japan is no scrubby or push-over, they are very good and unpredictable team. This guys boost numerous talented young plays like Kawasaki, Kagawa, Shinji, Honda, Uchida, Endo, and Co.

Greece is a VERY tactical & STRONG team, & most underestimated european team but these guys boost players like Salpingitis, papastathoupolos, Karagounis, Samaras, Manniatis, Ninis, Mitrolgu, Kone, Holebas, Katsouranis, Papadopoulos, Torosidis, Vyntra, & Gekas. Word of advise to KON forumites, these team was beaten by Bosnia & Herzogovenia by 3:1 (almost 4:1 if not for the missed penalty). BIH are no small team.

And then comes Colombia, one of the most talented team Brazil '14. These team is for real for semi-finals chances with Falcao, Martinez, James, Guerin, Gutierrez, Quniero, Muriel, Armero, Zuniga, and Co.

Who again think this group is cheap? This is the 4th \"Group of Death\" in this WC in my opinion. I can't even predict, which team will come out of this group. On paper, Colombia looks the most likely, but anything is possible in this group.
chris madu
posted: 07:34pm 07/12/2013
My only disagreement will be Cameroon's group. I disagree they have a slim chance, except they do make their open chance slim by themselves.

Please no one should write off Ghana. Germany were in such hot form in 2010 when they managed to come back from a goal to draw the match against Ghana. The Ghanaians I know are Africa's best when it comes to fearing no one. One of Germany and Portugal will not qualify from that Group or both.
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