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Dirty Tackle

The 2014 World Cup Group O’ Death Scale: USA Nightmare Edition

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

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Normally, the talk of any tournament is about the Group of Death — the one group that strikes fear in the hearts of its participants. But with the strength of the 2014 World Cup field, there's more than just one terrifying group. And with the World Cup draw now complete, we can now sift through the scalding ash of what has been inflicted upon these teams and, with the help of our patented Group O' Death Scale, determine who has the hardest road ahead (hint: it's the United States.)

Group E: Switzerland, France, Ecuador, Honduras

Group O' Death rating:

One laughing baby. This group is like a set of jangley keys. Believe it or not, Switzerland is actually the seeded team here. France could not have lucked out more after stumbling into the World Cup. Of course, they could implode again, as they did in 2010. So don't be surprised if any combination of two makes it out of here before serving as a sacrificial lamb to their first opponent in the knockout rounds.

Match-up of Doom: France v themselves. If any team could go on strike during two World Cups in a row, it's them.

***

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria

Group O' Death rating:

Two Undertakers. This should be nothing more than a warm-up for Argentina while Bosnia and Nigeria fight it out for second place. Lionel Messi will break a sweat, but he'll be giggling while he does it.

Match-up of Doom: Messi v Kun Aguero. They'll probably have to do rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to score more goals against Iran.

***

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

Group O' Death rating: 

Three Undertakers. Belgium are already everyone's second favorite team, but they're young and untested in a major tournament atmosphere. Fabio Capello improved Russia during qualification and should take second place. Algeria and South Korea won't go down easy, though.

Match-up of Doom: There might be a drunk guy that falls down the stairs during one of these matches.

***

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

Group O' Death rating:

Four Undertakers with championship belts. Brazil are the clear favorite to win the group on home soil, but the challenge of this group lies in the three wild card sides in there with them. Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon should probably all be better than they have been playing and maybe in six months' time they will improve. Or maybe they'll get worse. Their form has a wide range that makes them all unpredictable and, as a result, dangerous to each other.

Match-up of Doom: Croatia v Mexico. It comes on the last day of group play and it will likely decide which team advances. And the USA can't save Mexico this time.

***

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

Group O' Death rating:

Five Undertakers with a championship belt. You probably won't see the tournament's winner come from this group, but all four teams can ruin someone's month. Greece had a strong qualifying campaign and could play the role of giant killer that they perfected on the way to winning Euro 2004. Colombia has shot up the FIFA rankings over the last couple years, so this will be their test to see if they are as good as they seem.

Match-up of Doom: Didier Drogba v the f***ing disgraces. If there's any kind of typical FIFA/referee shenanigans in this group, the Ivory Coast captain will not stand for them in what is likely his last World Cup.

***

Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

Group O' Death rating:

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Six tweaked out Undertakers. All four of these teams can take points from each other on any given day. England will have to play in Manaus after the city's mayor said they're not welcome there. So that's awkward. If Italy and Uruguay make it out of this group as expected, they could both go deep into the knockout rounds.

Match-up of Doom: Mario Balotelli v Luis Suarez. Someone is getting a ban here.

***

Group B: Spain, Chile, Netherlands, Australia

Group O' Death rating:

Seven shirtless Undertakers with his eyes rolled into the back of his head. That's what Australia will be envisioning for the next six months. To have both of the 2010 World Cup finalists in one group is bad enough, but to throw the very talented Chile in there too creates danger for everyone.

Match-up of Doom: Spain v Netherlands. Xabi Alonso's chest is already quivering in fear.

***

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA

Group O' Death rating:

Eight nightmare fuel Undertakers and a Paul Bearer. That's how bad this is. It's like a rogue's gallery of past horrors for the United States. They will start off the tournament by facing Ghana — the team that knocked them out of the last two World Cups. Then there's Germany, who knocked them out of the 2002 World Cup in the quarterfinals. And to top it all off, there's Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal just to add a bit of poison to the plate of gruel. And the USA will have to play them in Manaus — the venue in the Amazon jungle everyone wanted to avoid for its heat and distance from the rest of the host cities. Racking up a total of 8,866 frequent flier miles, no team will do more travel than the United States in the group stage.

It won't be impossible for any two of these four teams to advance. They all have quality and they can all surprise each other. They could divide up all the points and have advancement come down to a tiebreaker. But it's going to be work.

Match-up of Doom: All of them. U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann against his homeland. USA v Ghana round III. And then there's Ronaldo v the world. This is going to be fun...in a pants-wetting, Freddy Krueger is killing you from inside your head kind of way.

As ESPN's Miguel Delaney pointed out, being dropped into a group of death isn't necessarily a bad thing for the teams that make it out alive. There's a history of the GoD producing teams that are strengthened by it and go deep into the tournament. Something to remember while breathing into a paper bag over the next six months.

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Brooks Peck is the editor of Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow on Twitter!

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