Peru has just defeated New Zealand, and the lineup of the 32 teams going to Russia is complete. Now, preparation for the big stage officially begins for all sides. With the World Cup draw just 15 days away, I decided to run five simulations (small sample size) of the World Cup draw and see if there’s a feasible way out of any of these ten groups.
A couple of notes:
FIFA has decided that the Pots will be sorted by October FIFA ranking, which, theoretically, disadvantages Korea in some way as it will prevent us from getting “easier” teams like Panama, Morocco and Serbia. Korea will be in Pot 4 for the draw.
We’ll have some more fun breaking down the pots later in the week, but for now, let’s get to the simulation!
Korea gets: Group D, with Germany, Peru and Denmark
Group of Death: Hard to tell. Group E has a good shout, and Group H has got 3 traditional powerhouses.
Easiest Group: Group A is a cakewalk for Spain, Group D has two playoff winners along with ourselves.
Potential Round of 16 opponent: France, who though disjointed at times, just have so much quality.
Tim-octopus projects: 4 points if lucky. Germany are beyond our level. Peru are a good side, but don’t have boundless talents and it will be their first World Cup experience, while Denmark relies heavily on Christian Eriksen. A win against one and a draw against the other would be do-able. I’ll say we qualify on 4 points.
Korea gets: Group C, with France, England and Senegal
Group of Death: If you define said group as being one with two powerhouses, Group G fits the bill.
Easiest Group: Group H will have a very happy runner-up, while Group A is a crapshoot.
Potential Round of 16 opponent: Poland or Croatia. Would take an upset. (In a strange world, we could play Japan.)
Tim-octopus projects: 1 point, maybe 3 if lucky. France will steamroll us with their menacing pace, England might choke and give us a window, while Senegal is no Togo – these guys are seriously good. We don’t make it out and get yeot-showered.
Korea gets: Group H, with Belgium, Peru and Iceland.
Group of Death: If you define said group as being one with two powerhouses, Group G fits the bill. Otherwise F is rather tough.
Easiest Group: Group H and A both have one dominant side who you’d expect to top the group, and then it’s a shrug for the rest.
Potential Round of 16 opponent: Spain or France again, god dammit.
Tim-octopus projects: 4 points may be do-able? Never underestimate your opponents, but you have got two World Cup debutants in the same group. If Korea gets their act together this is a group that on quality and on experience they can compete in.
Korea gets: Group G, with France, Colombia and Sweden.
Group of Death: Group E in my view. Two winners of their confederation, an Iranian side that is the best in Asia and a Moroccan side that mean business.
Easiest Group: Hahaha. Group A. Did someone rig it for the hosts again?
Potential Round of 16 opponent: Belgium or England. Yikes.
Tim-octopus projects: 3 points if fortunate, 1 if we’re rational, 4 if we’re optimistic. Again, we’re not getting anything out of France. We may have just beaten Colombia but even if we do replicate that, I don’t quite know how we break down an Swedish defense that blocked Italy for 180 minutes. We’re probably out of this one.
Korea gets: Group F, with Germany, Peru and Egypt.
Group of Death: No consensus, though Group H is no fun for the bottom two sides.
Easiest Group: Group A has a good shout, though that’s harsh on Iran or Morocco.
Potential Round of 16 opponent: Portugal, most probably.
Tim-octopus projects: 4 points is possible again, but not likely, since I feel that the Egyptians style is not conducive to Korea’s strengths… I think we’re seeing a trend. Unless it’s Russia, we won’t beat the top side, and the next two are beatable if we play it cool, but we’ll be underdogs nonetheless.
Hardest Group for Korea:
Germany – Spain – Egypt/Costa Rica – Korea
Easiest Group for Korea:
Russia – Colombia/Peru – Denmark/Iceland – Korea
All in all:
This was probably one of the laziest posts I’ve done, but I think the consensus is this: we are going to be underdogs nevertheless, given that we may have been the most fortunate qualifiers in the tournament. But some of the Pot 3 teams are within reach, and we can maybe scrape a draw out of one of the Pot 2 teams. That result would be a road-map to the Round of 16, in which the future is indeed bleak.
If you want to play around with the simulator, this is what I used: http://ultra.zone/2018-FIFA-World-Cup-Group-Stage-Draws.