Peter Goldstein's excellent WC draw article...

Discussion in 'FIFA and Tournaments' started by ChcgoStingInMyBlood, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. ChcgoStingInMyBlood

    Jun 15, 2005
  2. rapscallion

    rapscallion New Member

    May 1, 2002
    Things I didn't like about this article:

    Goldstein doesn't seem to know much about the less prominent confederations, despite the fact that he claims that he follows Africa closely (an obvious lie). For example, he speculates that Ghana and the Ivory Coast are the toughest CAF representatives, while Tunisia is weak. Say what? While Tunisia doesn't boast players like Drogba, Essien, Appiah, and Muntari, they beat Senegal and tied Nigeria in the 2004 African Nations Cup--en route to winning the championship. Furthermore, they're the only African representative with any World Cup experience. Now, I'm not saying that Tunisia is better than Ghana or the Ivory Coast--but there isn't a lot of evidence to suggest that they are worse. The truth of the matter is that very few of us know anything substantial about African soccer--Goldstein included.

    I don't really see how Group D is a walkover group. While I agree that Mexico and Portugal are probably better than Iran, I don't think they will just "walk over" team Melli. Iran has plenty of capable players--and it's not like Portugal is known for performing well in the clutch.

    Goldstein states that the U.S. and S&M were "clearly" the strongest teams of Pot 4 (despite the fact taht S&M wasn't technically in Pot 4). He dismisses Korea because they have yet to win a World Cup game away from home. Fair enough, I guess. But what about fearsome Ghana and Ivory Coast. Last I checked, they haven't either. And wait a minute, either has S&M (technically), and they're "clearly" one of the strongest teams in Pot 4. I don't disagree that the U.S. and S&M are among the strongest teams of the final pot--but there's not much between them and the rest of the teams in the pot. After all, much of Mexico's recent reputation rests on their strong play in the Confederations Cup; Japan acquitted itself quite well in the same competition (obviously not as well as Mexico).

    Really, what makes Spain or most other European sides that much better than Switzerland? Switzerland made it through perhaps the toughest Euro qualifying group and beat a very strong Turkey team in a playoff. Spain looked terrible throughout qualifying and hammered Slovakia in the playoff.

    He states that Saudi Arabia hasn't contended for a place in the final 16 in "many a year." Saudi Arabia made it to the round of 16 in 1994. I realize that that was eleven years ago, but the World Cup occurs only every four years. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia managed to get a point in 1998, which is one more than the U.S. got that year. Yes, 2002 was embarrassing for them, but to say that Saudia Arabia hasn't contended in "many a year" is a gross exaggeration.

    Goldstein states that France-Senegal was the only case in World Cup history in which a favorite crashed out and a minnow went through. Off the top of my head, I can think of another: U.S.-Colombia '94. Sure, the U.S. was at home but who expected that?

    I really could go on for days, but I'm ashamed that I've spent so much time thinking about this stupid article.
  3. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 30, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How can he say 1990 and 1994 had 'balanced' draws compared to 1998, 2002 and 2006?

    USSR/Romania/Argentina/Cameroon was considered a nightmare of a group--and that was BEFORE people knew Cameroon could play. Same can be said of England/Netherlands/Ireland/Egypt. Compare those to Italy/Czech/Austria/USA (2 walkovers) and Brazil/Scotland/Sweden/Costa Rica (Sweden was not the team then that it is now) and there's no way you can argue 1990 was 'balanced'.

    1994 had Group C (Germany, South Korea, Spain, Bolivia) which he referred to and Group F (Netherlands, Belgium, Morocco, Saudi Arabia) as very weak groups (yes, Saudi Arabia played well comparatively, but they were not a "strong" team at that WC). Meanwhile, Group E (Italy, Ireland, Norway, Mexico) and Group D (Argentina, Nigeria, Bulgaria, Greece) were very tough (though, I'll admit, Group D was only tough in retrospect...not many had rated Bulgaria ahead of time).
  4. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    Great article as always from Peter.

    Mass ref- I think if you look closer at your two groups you cited you would have to say that:

    - The 1990 group w/Cameroon was a tough group but not a GoD. Yeah it had three good teams but what's unspoken in his essay is that's the ideal. Considering that, as he mentioned, four of the 3rd place teams could qualify for the next round then the pressure in this group was not GoD pressure.

    - The 94 groups also didn't have a GoD. Again you cite a group (D) that had a surprise team retrospectively. 94's Group E had no real lightweights but outside of Italy the other teams were mediocre, second tier (at the time). Nice solid group, nothing more.

    Surprises happen in the group stages and that's one of the fun things about the tournament. But by definition those surprises don't make a group a GoD.
  5. Timanfaya

    Timanfaya Member

    May 31, 2005
    Well said. I thought your response was better than the article.
  6. Autogolazo

    Autogolazo BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 19, 2000
    Bombay Beach, CA
    When he said there was no Group of Death in 1994, when that World Cup was played in our own country and we all watched Italy, Ireland, Norway and Mexico pummel the crap out of each other and Norway go out on "goals scored", I lost all faith in the article and the author.

    Besides, seeding everything is based either on ridiculous FIFA rankings or on some arcane formula that FIFA draws up at the last second which has a MUCH greater chance of "fixing" things than a blind draw does.
  7. ChcgoStingInMyBlood

    Jun 15, 2005
    Rapscalliion said:

    Maybe you could publish the results of that lie detector test you gave Peter.

    You may disagree with his conclusions, but I can assure you after reading his balanced, fair and incisive work on CAF over the last several years that the man does closely follow African football, if you think he is wrong and it turns out that you are right, well congratulations to you. If I remember correctly from previous correspondence with Peter, I don't believe he has ever been to Africa to watch a qualifier, his observations are from the usual media outlets available, which regarding Africa can be scarce. Are you from Africa? If so, maybe there are things you are aware of that non-Africans aren't, if so please share.

    But just because you disagree with opinions in the article is no reason to brand it as stupid. Stupid would be the article recently posted on about the World Cup draw that had wild inaccuracies - I don't understand how you could come to the conclusion that this falls into the stupid category.

    I think his basic point - that the top two regarded teams in Pots B, C, and D (he is right, Serbia and Montenegro were essentially in Pot D) ended up in one of two groups is hard to argue about.
  8. rapscallion

    rapscallion New Member

    May 1, 2002
    I don't need a polygraph test; the evidence is in his article. Read closely, and he qualifies almost everything he writes about Africa, which suggests that almost all of his "knowledge" on CAF is based on pure speculation.

    Read my reply again, and you'll find that, unlike Goldstein, I admit that I'm no expert on Africa.

    While Goldstein's article doesn't contain any "wild innacuracies," it contains enough logical and rhetorical flaws to be classified as "stupid."
  9. bsas

    bsas Member

    May 27, 2004
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    I think differenciation between "difficult" teams and "weak" teams is tending to fade out nowadays. Anyone drawn with Greece in 2002 would have felt happy... Most teams now have the capacity to upset "bigger" ones, at least within 1 or 2 matches.
  10. benztown

    benztown Member+

    Jun 24, 2005
    VfB Stuttgart
    Did you know Captain Marley? Last thing I heard was that he stranded on Inky Island.
  11. Joe_Sanchez

    Joe_Sanchez New Member

    Sep 25, 2005
    The article distorted the issue of the 'group of death'. At the last world cup we had the England, Argentina, Sweden and Nigeria group. A group of death means a group that you can't predict who will qualify (Argentina didn't escape this group remember and were joint favourites with France pre-tournament). I don't think it is hard to see who will qualify from the so-called 'groups of death' in Germany:

    Seeded Argentina Italy
    Pot 2 Côte D’Ivoire Ghana
    Pot 3 Netherlands Czech Republic
    Pot 4 Serb. & Mont. USA

    Argentina, Holland and Italy, Czech Republic.

    Yes Ivory Coast, Serbia, Ghana and the USA could cause an upset, but it's unlikely. These are not groups of death. 3 of these teams have never even been to a world cup (I think) and the USA is not as strong as many people (Americans) think.

    As for the maths, this has also been misunderstood. Given the seedings, Holland and Czech could not avoid a very strong team in the group stages. Ok, the other teams in these groups are stronger than the average for pots 2 and 4, but there is not much in it.

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