In the very early hours of Saturday morning, the 32 nations in the World Cup will discover their group assignments for June’s tournament. Things have been shaken up a bit compared to previous World Cup’s with the pots assigned by ranking instead of confederation. We decided to take a look through the other three pots and come up with three different options per pot, a best-case scenario, a worst case scenario and a draw somewhere in the middle that would produce the best storylines & have a fun few days in the build up to the match.
Best Case Scenario – RUSSIA
Getting the tournament hosts would give the Socceroos a chance to capitalise on a team that will be battling the weight of expectations. It could go one way or another for the Russian side spurring them on to a great effort or backfire. Either way it would be amazing to see the Socceroos in World Cup’s opening match and a disciplined showing against the hosts would be a great way to get things started.
Worst Case Scenario – GERMANY
You may hear the Australian delegation cursing coming from FIFA headquarters if the Socceroos were to get the defending World Champions in their group. Having posted a perfect qualifying record, the Germans are being given good odds to defend their title and it would be a massive mountain for Australia to qualify. There would also be plenty of people groaning at the memory of that 4-0 thrashing in 2010, of course they do have the 2-2 draw in Kaiserslautern to fall back on.
Just for Fun – BELGIUM
Any team from Pot One will be heavy favourites against Australia but the chance to match up against a very talented Belgian side would be a game worth watching for the neutrals. For Premier League fans, there will be plenty of recognisable names all over the pitch for the Red Devils including Thibault Courtois, Jan Vertonghen, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku. Taking any potential result out of the equation, Belgium would provide an interesting tactical match up for whoever the new boss of the Socceroos is.
Best Case Scenario – PERU
“Get one back for New Zealand” some might be saying, most of those people will be coming from New Zealand but it will be an interesting measuring stick to see how the Socceroos would match up against the side that eliminated their nearest neighbours.
Worst Case Scenario – SPAIN
It would be keeping with the luck Australia has received at the last two World Cup draws to get the best team from Pot 2 in their group. While Spain may not be the all-conquering force they were from 2008-2012 they are still the most formidable opponent here and memories of that 3-0 defeat at the last World Cup might be lingering in some player’s minds.
Just for Fun – ENGLAND
There are plenty of appealing options from Pot 2 including a reunion with Uruguay but you cannot pass up an opportunity to face old friends England in the World Cup of their sport. The days building up to the game, especially if it was the tournament opener for both sides, would be memorable. Plus it would be a great opportunity to relive this classic match from the past.
Best Case Scenario – COSTA RICA
It would be somewhat fitting if the Socceroos were to draw Costa Rica in the opening match of their 2018 campaign when they kicked off the Ange Postecoglu era with a friendly against this side. This would produce a low scoring affair against a team that has averaged under one goal conceded per game. Having seen what CONCACAF sent to the playoffs in the form of Honduras, the Socceroos would be in for a test against Costa Rica but would still fancy their chances to win this match.
Worst Case Scenario – DENMARK
Having to face a player who once proclaimed himself as one of the best strikers in the world is automatically a worst case scenario for the Socceroos. The Danish side showed their quality in the second playoff leg against Ireland putting up a resounding 5-1 score thanks to a Christian Eriksen masterclass. Thankfully for the Socceroos all three worst case draws cannot happen although there are plenty of teams in this competition that they would be underdogs against.
Just for Fun – ICELAND
Their fans were the biggest storyline of Euro 2016 and the opportunity to be in the same stadium as then would be a sight to behold. It would be two teams that would love to get a win in this game and depending on who is in charge of the Socceroos by that stage, could lead to one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament to match what is sure to be a raucous off field atmosphere. Best case scenario for this draw, you get half the stadium singing Waltzing Matilda and the other half doing this before kickoff.