It's official! With Uruguay's thrilling victory over Costa Rica, we now know all 32 teams that will be in the FIFA World Cup. Seeing as the list has gotten too big here are the teams broken down by soccer confederation.
AFC (Asia): Australia, Japan, South Korea, North Korea
ACF (Africa): South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
CONCACAF (North America, Central America, and Caribbean): United States, Mexico, Honduras
CONMEBOL (South America): Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay
OFC (Oceania): New Zealand
UEFA (Europe): Denmark, Switzerland, Slovakia, Germany, Spain, England, Serbia, Italy, The Netherlands, France, Portugal, Greece, Slovenia
The teams that are in each pot will be released on November 20 with the new FIFA rankings and the actual groups (along with the schedule of games) will be announced on December 4.
Before we get to it, here are a few of my random thoughts of the World Cup teams and what I look to see.
North Korea. Politically probably the most controversial nation in the World Cup, North Korea as of now is the lowest ranked team to qualify and from the looks of what I read, that will not change in a couple days. And while in all likelihood, they will not meet up with the United States, anytime they play a western team, the political stories could get rather interesting. Although the unintelligible intellectual masturbation that would come from tWWL on the politics of such a matchup would certainly ruin a lot of interest from a lot of people. You're ESPN, stay out of politics and political breakdowns.
Can an African team make a run at things? For the first time ever, the World Cup is in Africa, but the country hosting it is not exactly an African soccer powerhouse. At the same time, though, the Ivory Coast is in it. If I were to pick an African team to do some damage, I would pick the Ivory Coast with Didier Drogba, espeically with the Cote d'Ivoire gets put in the right group. Then things could get real interesting.
How will the U.S. do? Is Bob Bradley really Andy Reid in disguise? That team is so inconsistent under Bradley that I really don't see the U.S. doing much damage this year. If they end up in a weaker group, I could possibly see them getting to the Round of 16, but I would be really shocked if they get any farther than that.
Today was not a good day for Russian teams. Both Russia and the Ukraine lost their aggregates today and both are not in the World Cup, which sort of disappoints me as for me, the Russians are an incredibly fun team to watch and my great great grandfather came to the United States from Kiev, then a part of Russia, now a part of Ukraine. At the same time, congrats to Slovenia on the huge upset and while the Swedes were unable to get in (thus rendering useless my Ibrahimovic Inter Milan jersey for the World Cup), Denmark is in. I've been in Denmark and Copenhagen is truly a magnificent and beautiful city.
And with Thierry Henry's Hand of God goal earlier today, the 06 World Cup runner-ups are dancing once again. I don't know what it is, but I just have a bad feeling about the French in the World Cup this year.
Like I said, the pots will be announced on Friday, November 20. While that is just the set up for the seeding, it will provide 2 weeks worth of fodder and talk before the group stage