The 2018 World Cup draw was held on Friday and the groups are now set. While this World Cup does not have a clear-cut “Group of Death,” there is what some are calling the “Group of Life,” and coincidentally, it features the host nation, Russia.
Going into the draw, we knew Russia would get an easy group based on how the pots were set up. But even beyond that, Russia was placed into a group that is nothing like the others.
If we simply total the FIFA world rankings for each group, France’s Group C looks like the toughest group with a combined ranking of 71. For fun, we also included the top four teams in the world that did not qualify for the World Cup in a hypothetical Group X. That group would be tougher than any group that is in the World Cup.
As for Russia’s Group A, those four teams add up to a combined ranking of 180, 77 more than any other group.
Sometimes it can be misleading to consider the strength of a group based on all four teams. In theory, a group would only need three good teams to be a Group of Death.
In this chart, we added up the world ranking of just the top three teams in each group. France’s Group C is still the toughest of the lot. But again, look at how Russia’s Group A stands out from the pack. There is no guarantee Russia will advance to the knockout stage, but their chances are certainly better than expected.
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