But the loyal readership probably is wondering by now how I feel about the Netherlands' Group E and a few other happenings.
The inevitable discussion after the drawing of groups for any big tournament is about which group is the Group of Death. If Group of Death is understood to mean a group with four highly competitive and high quality teams, there is none this time. Full stop.
Here are the groups:
|GRP||TEAM||FIFA RK||FIFA PTS|
Group H, by either measure (rank or FIFA ranking points), is the group with the most quality overall. Yet most have pointed to Group G, with powerhouse Brazil, consistently strong Portugal, and always threatening Cote d'Ivoire as the toughest. Team Kim Jong Il is the punching bag.
If we accept the argument that a Group of Death can be the result of three strong teams, it's worth measuring which group has the best trifecta. The answer? Group G, of course. The script is flipped, and Group H ranks as the next toughest.
There is much better statistical analysis happening elsewhere:
- The outlandishly named Voros McCracken does some mathematical thingamajiggery to determine the winners and losers of the draw. Biggest winner? England. Loser? Brazil. Somehow I still think Brazil goes further.
- Climbing the Ladder examines the odds, based on a number of ranking alternatives to the FIFA list.
- World Cup Draw Math Geekery from Mark McClusky (h/t @footiefool). He tackles the group of death question as well, making the very valid point that we should be looking at the rankings of the third place teams, as well as the delta (difference in rank) between the 2nd and 3rd ranked in each group.
(Ask me if you don't know why I care about the Oranje in these international tournaments).
As for the Rest of Canada's fallback option, England, what a pattycake group. Is there any way that both England and the USA can lose in their Matchday 3 confrontation? Please?