Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger raises the trophy after the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. Germany won the match 1-0. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The world’s most powerful and notorious international Football Confederation, UEFA, drew its 2018 World Cup Qualifying groups this weekend, and there are some INTERESTING scenarios. For reference: all nine group winners qualify for the World Cup automatically (joining Russia, who is the host nation), and the eight second place finishers qualify for a playoff to determine UEFA’s final four slots.

Group A: Netherlands, France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg
Group B: Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra
Group C: Germany, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino
Group D: Wales, Austria, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Georgia
Group E: Romania, Denmark, Poland, Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan
Group F: England, Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta
Group G: Spain, Italy, Albania, Israel, FYR Macedonia, Liechtenstein
Group H: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus
Group I: Croatia, Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland

Observations:
  • Group A is your ‘group of death’. Either the Netherlands, France, or Sweden will not make the World Cup. This is crazy. Are we really going to be deprived of the third best soccer player (Zlatan Ibrahimovic) in the World Cup AGAIN? Ugh.
  • Group D is legitimately the softest pool I think I’ve ever seen in a UEFA draw, but, the good news is that we will more-than-likely get to see Christian Bale, Aaron Ramsey, and the Welsh on the world’s biggest stage for the first time since 1958.
  • Group G: One of Europe’s perennial powerhouses: Spain/Italy will have to qualify via the Playoff. After their disgraceful performance in Brazil, can you imagine if it’s Spain and they LOSE? ZOMG.