December 12th, 2005
US newspaper sports columnists criticised Fifa’s seeding process for next year’s Soccer World Cup after the Americans, ranked eighth but snubbed for a seed, wound up being drawn into the “Group of Near-Death”.
Considering that 20 years ago the US reaction to a World Cup draw would have been “What’s a World Cup draw?”, some anger over the US team being drawn into a group with Italy, Ghana and the Czech Republic was a sign of the game’s growth.
The US were ranked eighth but the seeding committee moved England, Italy and Germany ahead into seeded berths, in part because of the US team’s last-place showing at the 1998 World Cup.
“It would be fair to say that the US deserved more consideration, and that the World Cup draw could have been devised a little better,” wrote Bob Ford in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Luis Arroyave, of the Chicago Tribune, said “the US is playing in, if not the Group of Death, the Group of Near-Death”.
The US squad must face the second-ranked Czechs and 12th-rated Italians and the African power Ghana.
“Do we as a nation care? No, we do not, even though the US team is a very capable international squad that performed well in 2002,” Ford wrote. “Soccer in the US … is the sport of the future — and always will be.”
Entry Filed under: WorldCup2006