The draw for the 2018 World Cup is tough for the Moroccan team, as it is in a strong group that includes Portugal, European champion Spain, and Iran.
FIFA uses the name the “death” group or “iron” group for such groups, based on their strength. This standard is reflected in a simple calculation through adding the teams’ rankings—based on FIFA’s World Ranking for October—in one group and dividing them by four, the number teams in each group. The closer the final number is to one, the stronger the group is and the closer it is to the “death” group classification.
In this report, Daily News Egypt reviews the most famous death groups, according to FIFA World Rankings, which started for the first time in late 1992.
World Cup America 1994:
The fifth group of this tournament was its death group. It included: Mexico, ranked 17th, Ireland ranked 13th, Italy, ranked first in the world at the time, and Norway, ranked fifth.
Mexico, Ireland, and Italy qualified for the second round, and the Azzurri went to the final, which they lost in penalties against Brazil.
World Cup France 1998:
The death group in this World Cup was the seventh group, which included: Romania, ranked fifth in the world, England, ranked sixth, Colombia, ranked ninth, and the Tunisian Arab team ranked 23rd.
The average rating of this group is 10.75. Conflict in this group raged until the last round, and Romania and England settled their qualifications, while Colombia was the victim of the death group alongside Tunisia.
However, the qualified pair disappointed hopes, as Romania came out of the knockout stage against Croatia, and Argentina managed to knock out England.
World Cup Japan and South Korea 2002:
The sixth group was the death group, included Sweden, which was ranked 61st in the world, England ranked 10th, Argentina ranked second globally, Nigeria ranked 40th, making the average rating 17.
For the second time in a row, England’s team managed to reach the second round, coming after Sweden. Argentina disappointed its fans and left early.
However, in the second round, leading Sweden lost to Senegal, with a surprising golden goal. Brazil succeeded in excluding Beckham and his teammates in the quarter-finals with Ronaldinho’s goal, which tricked goalkeeper David Seaman.
World Cup Germany 2006:
The fifth group won the title of death group, where Italy ranked 21st, Ghana 50th, the Czech Republic second, and America eigth, with an average rating of 18 for the group.
After a last-minute conflict, Italy managed to lead the group, accompanied by Ghana, which surprised everyone by qualifying at the expense of the Czech Republic, because of its leading player Pavel Nedved.
South Africa 2010:
Group eight was named the “iron” group. It included Spain, which ranked second, Chile 71st, Switzerland 13th, and Honduras 35th, making the average rating 16.75.
Despite the loss in the opening game, the Spanish team managed to dominate, and eventually qualified for the second round, accompanied by Chile, which was eliminated after a match against Brazil in the semi-finals.
Brazil 2014 World Cup:
The seventh group was named death group, and included Germany ranking second globally, Ghana ranking 23rd, Portugal 14th, and the US 13th, making the average ranking 13.
Germany qualified for the second round, but was eliminated by Belgium.
The last three World Cups from 2006 to 2014 were won by a team from the so-called death group. They were Italy, Spain, and Germany.