With the World Cup Finals Draw taking place tomorrow we will assess what we think would be the best and worst permutations following the results of the draw for the two East Asian sides involved – Japan and South Korea.
Both teams chances of relative success in the tournament are likely to rest heavily on the luck of the draw. The tougher the draw the chances of them getting out of the group greatly diminishes, however, we would love to see them get a favourable draw that would offer both countries a better chance of going far in the tournament.
If both or even one of Japan and South Korea could get out of their group and do well it would have a double effect in the region, the first is simply – the promotion of football. If Japan and Korea can perform well on the global stage then all football in East Asia benefits from it. The second benefit comes as reports of World Cup expansion continue to circulate, if the World Cup expands it would be great to see more spots given to the Asian region, however for that to happen it is likely the region to be performing well enough to merit it.
Now onwards to our perceived good and bad permutations, first we will start with what we think would be a good draw for either nation.
POT 1 – Poland and Russia. The reason we have picked Poland and Russia is simple if you could hand pick who you would face from Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, France, Russia or Poland we think everyone would pick the same two.
Poland are a decent side and have a quality striker in Robert Lewandowski but they don’t match up to the other teams in terms of highest quality players, and even though Russia is the host nation and will have a passionate fan-base behind them at every match they are the weakest team from Pot 1.
POT 2 – Peru. Peru is in the World Cup for the first time for years, they’re the weakest side to qualify from South America and even though South American qualification is extremely difficult we believe Peru to be the weakest team in Pot 2.
POT 3 – Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Costa Rica and Iceland. We believe all these teams will be a similar match for the big two from East Asia. They could cancel each other out, a mistake could win the game, or one team could play an absolute blinder, we think any of these teams are beatable.
POT 1 – Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium and France. If Japan or Korea get paired with any of these teams tomorrow they’re in big trouble. Japan or Korea would quite literally have to play out of their skin, and one of these teams would need to be completely off their game for a result to go against the teams from pot 1.
POT 2 – Spain. Spain must be the team every country will want to avoid from pot 2. Whichever group they end up in is likely to be the dreaded group of death.
POT 3 – Sweden and Denmark. These sides are going to be highly organised and functional. It is possible they’ll be more aggressive than Japan and Korea and we’re not sure the Japanese and Koreans would be a good match to counter the Scandinavians style of play.
All the other teams we failed to mention in either a good draw or a bad draw is because we believe they’ll be tough but not impossible and fall into some sort of the middle ground category.
We hope the footballing gods are looking down on East Asia favourably tomorrow evening.