At a press conference in Brazil this morning, FIFA officials announced the pot allocations for next summer's World Cup. The draw will be held on Friday, but it's time to start imagining your groups of death, and how the U.S. is absolutely going to end up in one.
Here are the four pots. Each group will be made up of one team from each pot, with a couple of exceptions.*
- POT 1: Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay
- POT 2: Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Chile, Ecuador
- POT 3: USA, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea,
- POT 4: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia
Pot 1 contains the top seven ranked nations, plus host Brazil. The rest are sorted geographically, to keep familiar teams from meeting up in the group stages: CAF and a pair of CONMEBOL teams in Pot 2, CONCACAF and AFC in Pot 3, and UEFA in Pot 4.
You know what to do now. Head to the World Cup Draw Simulator, already updated with today's pots, and see what the future might hold. It rarely comes out looking good for the USMNT.
*Now, those exceptions. There are nine teams in Pot 4, so at the draw, one will be moved to Pot 2, which only has seven teams. Thanks to Pot 2's global nature, the draw will be altered to make sure that moved UEFA team doesn't end up in a group with two other European countries, and that the Pot 2 CONMEBOL teams are the only South American countries in their group.