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Who will be in the Group of Death? It's World Cup draw eve!

Dec 3, 2009, 12:20 PM EDT

All the teams have been potted (if your nation has not been potted, my condolences), and we’re ready for the big FIFA official draw for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It’s happening on Friday morning (9 a.m. PST), and I had no idea what a big production this is: The photo here is from the 2006 draw, and yes, that’s co-host Heidi Klum. Who did they choose to pluck the ping pong balls out of the little globe this year? Hint: She’s won an Oscar.

The draw ceremony will be co-hosted by South African actress Charlize Theron and feature appearances from, among others, Ethiopia’s two-time Olympic gold medallist Haile Gebrselassie, English soccer star David Beckham and Nobel Peace Prize laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Frederik W. de Klerk.

Wait: Desmond Tutu and Charlize Theron on the same stage? FIFA, you have made all of my dreams come true. Fun fact: Theron is from South Africa, and can speak Zulu.
Nelson Mandela will also be there via satellite, with a special musical number by Michael Buble (just kidding about that last one). According to FIFA, they’re expecting a global TV audience of more than 200 million people — and several vicious monkeys — in 200 countries. The last World cup draw in Germany drew a TV audience of 134.5 million and was shown live in 137 countries.
The World Cup draw was first televised in 1966, and of course when it got to the U.S. we ruined it.

American TV icon Dick Clark produced the draw for the 1994 World Cup and pulled out all the stops in Las Vegas, with live performances from James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow and Julio Iglesias.

We Manilowed the World Cup? As an American, I am filled with shame.
Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina, South Africa and England are seeded in the final draw, with the other nations arranged in three pots. For more potting details, go here.
The U.S. is in pot two, which means we can’t play a team from Asia or New Zealand in the first round. The U.S. will be drawn into a group with one opponent from each of the other three pots. Look, I don’t pretend to know how this works.
Here’s someone who does.
But it’s World Cup draw eve! I’m excited: it’s like the NFL draft, only without Jets fans yelling obscenities. Who will the U.S. draw for their first match? (Crosses fingers, mutters “Please be Ivory Coast, please be Ivory Coast …”).
***
What’s the big deal about the World cup draw? [CBC.ca]
World Cup Draw: Best And Worst Case Scenarios For The USA [Goal.com]
U.S. nervously awaits Friday’s World Cup draw [NBCSports]

  1. Steve in Austin - Dec 3, 2009 at 5:31 PM

    I can’t wait, already have my tickets to follow the USA all the way to the finals! I may be an American, but I know why this sport is the largest and most popular in the world – it certainly is “the beautiful game”. This is bigger than the Olympics, Super Bowl and NBA Finals combined! Go USA!

  2. murphy - Dec 4, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    You know absolutely nothing about soccer. The Ivory Coast will wipe the pitch with us…