fifa world rankings

fifa world rankings

If you want my personal opinion, then no, the USA will not make it out of their group bracket. But then again, stranger things have happened. At the last World Cup, the USA managed to defeat the “mighty” Portugal, so they have proven that they are capable of big wins in the World Cup.

However, this is a different kettle of fish. Italy have been known to slip up in group stages but this year, Italy are one of the favourites, are in form, and are likely to take at least 7 points from the 3 games. That leaves the US to battle Czech and Ghana.

Are the Czech Republic overrated? Not a chance. They were one of the strongest teams at Euro 2004, outplaying Germany, participating in the best football of the tournament in a 3 2 win over Holland, and narrowly losing to the winners of the tournament in the Semis. Czech are a dark horse to win the whole thing: they have Rosicky and Baros, Koller and Poborsky, Jankulovski and Grygera, one of the world’s best goalies (Petr Cech yes he’s even better than Keller, Howard and Friedel unfortunately), and they have the maestro Pavel Nedved of Juventus. They deserve to be rankes so highly even though the rankings mean NOTHING because Europe is the toughest place to qualify from and is the hardest place to get ranking points in.

The USA, on the other hand, may be ranked too highly. Like Mexico, they are in the top ten in the FIFA world rankings, but everyone knows that the US and Mexico are not amongst the world’s 10 best teams. Maybe 20. The reason is, North American qualifying is very easy and there are lots of easy wins against Caribbean nations in particular. Therefore, the US and Mexico accumulate a lot of rankings points and are ranked disproportionately highly.

Ghana are a force to be reckoned with. Along with Ivory Coast, they are the best African team at this summer’s cup, and may suprise everyone. USA will have a tough time avoiding their Italia 90/France 98 fate of failing to progress and failing even to win a game. The US does not have a good record on European soil; Czech and Italy are proactically playing home matches (both are Germany’s neighbours), and Ghana are full of world stars like Kalou and Michael Essien and Steven Appiah. They won the World U21 championship in the 1990s.

The US, like Ivory Coast/Serbia/Holland/Argentina, have a VERY TOUGH draw, almost unfairly so. I know you want to be optimistic, but chances are, the US will NOT progress.

Still, history has told us that anything can happen. Any two of these four teams will go through: I know you’re excited, but there’s no way of knowing or predicting anything accurately until the games are played. As Bruce Arena once said: until they find another way to decide these things, the games have to be won out on the field.

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