Although Group B’s top seeded team England, might have been quietly confident following the World Cup draw for the tournament in Qatar, having been paired with Wales, USA and Iran while avoiding any of international football’s traditional heavyweights, FIFA’s world rankings tell a different story.
By average FIFA ranking, Group B ranks as the toughest group of the eight pools. Group B is the only section to draw all four teams from the current top 20. England are fifth while the US are 16th, Wales 19th and Iran 20th, giving the group a 12.5 average ranking.
Group A, includes hosts Qatar, Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador is the weakest group by ranking, 30 being it’s average with Qatar ranked 50th. Group H, which includes the tournament’s lowest ranked team, Ghana at 62, is the next weakest with an average ranking of 28. Group C, lead by Argentina, is third weakest with a 23 average.
Spain and Germany’s pairing in Group E, along with Japan and Costa Rica, makes that the second strongest pool after England’s group, even if the Germans have dropped as low as 11th of late, with an average of 18. Group F’s average ranking of 19 thanks to Belgium, Canada, Morocco and Croatia completes the top 3. Group’s G and D are close behind, both carrying an average ranking of 20.