Are you looking for the “Group of Death” in the World Cup? no longer exists. Here’s why…

whenever tie to The world Cup Done, the immediate task is to find out the ‘death group’.

But the boring answer is that there is generally no one these days. Changes to the tournament structure mean that it is unlikely that four real contenders will ever be grouped together.

But this World Cup is a slight exception. To explain why, here’s a brief history of how the death group gradually faded away.

Three factors come into play. The first factor is to expand the tournament.

The phrase “group of death” was first coined in 1970, when there were only 16 teams in the tournament. (from 1982 there were 24 teams, from 1998 there were 32 teams, and From 2026 there will be 48.)

Thus, the quality has been diluted. For this tournament, 50 percent of the teams would not have even qualified for the tournament if it had been held when the concept of a “group of death” was first defined.

There will likely be the same number of competitors at each World Cup; About eight to 10 teams with a real chance of winning the competition. Once, they were divided into four groups, then divided into six, and now into eight groups. The probability of getting two – or even three – in the same group has steadily decreased.

The second factor is its increasing spread across different continents. This is not the same as simply expanding competition.

Historically, the real World Cup contenders have come almost exclusively from Europe and South America.

No African country has reached the semi-finals. No team from Oceania has reached the quarter-finals. Only one Asian team has reached the semi-finals – South Korea on home soil in 2002. Only one North American team has reached the semi-finals, the United States in 1930.

Bobby Charlton


England’s Bobby Charlton battles Brazil’s Clodoaldo in the original 1970 group of death (Picture: Syndication/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

And while the South American group has expanded in almost every tournament in line with the number of countries overall, the European share has not.

UEFA countries in the World Cup

Competition UEFA countries

1930

31%

1934

75%

1938

87%

1950

62%

1954

75%

1958

69%

1962

63%

1966

63%

1970

56%

1974

56%

1978

62%

1982

58%

1986

58%

1990

58%

1994

54%

1998

47%

2002

47%

2006

44%

2010

41%

2014

41%

2018

44%

2022

41%

FIFA It prioritized regional representation over outright quality. This is, after all, Globalism Glass. But this also means that the overall quality is poorer; this means Italia Do not qualify when Kingdom Saudi Arabia And the Tunisia an act. That’s totally fair, but it also makes sense to say that the European champions would be a more obvious candidate for any potential group death.

In fact, the deadliest combination ever came at a major tournament not at the World Cup, but at Euro 96. It appeared Germany (ranked second in the world), Russia (3rd), Italy (7th), and the Czech Republic (10th), also producing finalists.

The third factor, and perhaps the most relevant, is the seeding system.

Let’s go back to that first group of death in 1970. It was no coincidence that the 1970 World Cup produced that group of death, rather than 1962 or 1966. For those two tournaments, the draw was seeded. But after no agreement was reached on the seeding process before 1970, this draw was open.

Results? recent contest winners, England And the BrazilTogether, they were selected in the same group, along with runners-up from 1962, Czechoslovakia. Romania was less intimidating in terms of reputation, although they beat Czechoslovakia and lost to England and Brazil by only one goal, so it was not out of place. FIFA was determined to never let this happen again, and every tie since then has been ranked.

Sowing has taken various forms, but the system we used to include pot 1 which includes the strongest sides according to the world ranking (plus the hosts), and put everyone else into purely geographic pots (instead of sorting them according to ranking).

Therefore, one group could have included a top seed, as well as a strong European team, a strong South American team, and a strong African team, even if they were all in the top 16 of the tournament.

This system was used until 2014. Since 2018, things have changed. Now the draws are ranked all around, and pots are decided according to world rankings and not according to geography.

This meant that the deadliest group of the 2018 World Cup was far less lethal than in previous years. In fact, the third-strongest team in the most deadly combination was weaker than the fourth-strongest team in the most deadly combos possible in previous tournaments, according to the world rankings.

Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4

1998

Germany (1)

England (6)

Colombia (9)

Mexico (11)

2002

Spain (1)

Mexico (9)

England (10)

Paraguay (14)

2006

Brazil (1)

USA (9)

Netherlands (10)

Paraguay (15)

2010

Brazil (1)

France (9)

USA (10)

Cameroon (14)

2014

Spain (1)

Netherlands (8)

Chile (12)

USA (13)

2018

Germany (1)

Spain (8)

Costa Rica (22)

Nigeria (41)

2022

Brazil (1)

Mexico (9)

Senegal (20)

Wells (18*)

However, there is an additional complication in the 2022 World Cup – indicated by an asterisk.

Because some qualifying matches were delayed because of the pandemic – and the war was delayed Ukraineplayoff vs Scotland And the Wells – The draw for the 2022 World Cup took place before we knew the identity of three teams because they did not play the play-off matches. Therefore, those teams were placed into Pot 4, regardless of their ranking.

This was particularly important in the case of Wells, Who defeated Ukraine to secure their place. Had that playoff occurred before the draw, Wales’ ranking of 18 would have made them a Pot Three team (and, in fact, a Pot Two team had it not been for the 51st-ranked hosts). Qatar automatically into the bowl 1). Instead, they were in pot 4.

So the group Wales will join will be tougher than Fifa originally expected. They were drawn alongside England (ranked 5th), USA (ranked 15th), and Iran (21). Which may not be massively lethal compared to, say, 1970, but it’s actually much more powerful than anything four years ago – and that’s without regard to the rivalry between England and Wales and the tension between the USA. Iran.

Whether you consider a death group is a matter of opinion. But it is potentially more deadly than any World Cup group we will see again due to the expansion of the 48-team World Cup from 2026, along with an increase in geographic reach.

FIFA intends to modify the 48-team tournament using 16 groups of three, with both teams advancing to the knockout stage. This has two effects on potential death groups.

First, assuming (extremely unlikely) that the tournament features 48 teams ranked first in the world and that the draw is seeded all the way through, each group will contain a team ranked 33rd or lower. In all likelihood, once the stakes from each union are accounted for, it seems more likely that the average ranking of the third pot sides will be in the fifties or sixties.

Second, and perhaps most important, when two out of three teams advance from each group, things get a lot less deadly. A 67 percent chance of advancing simply doesn’t feel terribly risky. By 2026, the death group concept will finally be dead.

(Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

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