The seeding of teams at the World Cup are determined by luck, with two teams randomly drawn from the stronger pool and two from the regular pool, and has in the past created some unbalanced draws that have been affectionately dubbed the groups of death.
Lady Luck graces her touch across all sports but does so most cruelly in soccer's greatest event when there are no clear winners. This year's contest is highlighted by penalties and low-scoring matches which has subsequently made for a very close competition in several of the groups.
Thus, by FIFA's own regulations, the criteria to determine who goes through to the Round of 16 are:
- Points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw)
- Goal difference (goals scored vs goals conceded)
- Number of goals scored
- Number of red & yellow cards conceded
- Drawing of lots
Yes, a hat draw – for a spectacle that comes once every four years, with numerous qualifying rounds, hours of blood, sweat and tears, of immeasurable sacrifice and injury, it comes down to your name being drawn from a hat. And there's no amount of training that can prepare you for that.