Russia to face South Korea first in World Cup 2014

The drawing pots are listed on the screen during the draw ceremony for the 2014 soccer World Cup in Costa do Sauipe near Salvador, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Source: AP

The drawing pots are listed on the screen during the draw ceremony for the 2014 soccer World Cup in Costa do Sauipe near Salvador, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Source: AP

FIFA’s World Cup draw places Russians up against a fairly easy group, but experts warn them against underestimating their opponents.

Russia will face Belgium, Algeria, and South Korea as part of Group H in the World Cup 2014 soccer tournament in Brazil. According to the draw, Russia’s first game will be against South Korea.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, Sepp Blatter’s chief assistant, conducted the announcement of the final group stage draw of the soccer tournament in Brazil on Dec. 6. He was helped by former world soccer stars s Geoff Hurst, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Zinedine Zidane, Fernando Hierro, Lothar Matthaus and others.

There is no clear favorite in Group H, but the Belgians have had a strong qualifying campaign.

Fabio Capello, Russia’s team manager, said he had hoped that his team would be able to avoid getting into the "group of death.” According to the draw’s results, groups B and D are considered the most difficult because of their strong teams: Group B consists of Spain, Chile, Australia and the Netherlands; and Group D consists of Uruguay, Italy, Costa Rica and England.

The Brazilian home team will be up against very serious rivals – Cameroon, Mexico and Croatia. The tournament begins in June 2014

According to the regulations, 32 teams were divided into four baskets. Brazil, the host country was assigned to the first one, together with seven of the best teams according to the October 2013 FIFA rankings – Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Switzerland and Uruguay. The rivals were assigned to the remaining three geographically.

Interestingly, unlike in the previous FIFA World Cup, all the eight teams that have won the championships got into the final stage. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s teams participate in the World Cup’s final tournament for the first time, being the only debutant.

Anatoly Byshovets, an Olympic champion and former coach of Russia and CIS, said the Russian team’s opponents should not be underestimated.

"Russia got into the most successful group ever. The only formidable rival that our team has is Belgium, which has talented players such as Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witzel, Thibaut Courtois, Vincent Kompany, and Romelu Lukaku – they ball play for leading European clubs.”

Bychovets said he thinks Russian has a good chance to beat Algeria and Korea.

“Curiously, at the last World Cup, Russia was in a similar group, which we could not get out of,” he said. “At the time, Russia defeated Tunisia in the first match (2-0), and then ceded to Japan (0-1) and Belgium (2-3).”

Another more recent example was during the last European Championships, where all the experts also gave our team an unconditional leadership, but Dick Advocaat’s team did not come out of the group. It is too early to be celebrating. Everything will be decided exclusively on the football field. "

After the draw, the bookmakers formed their predictions, saying the chance of Brazil’s victory is 23.5 percent. The German team has a 14.9 percent chance and the Argentine’s team has 12.9 percent.

The world champion, Spain, has just over 12 percent chance of winning. The Russian team’s chance of winning the championship is estimated to be 0.8 percent.

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