Statistically, why USA's group is clearly Copa America's Group of Death

After Sunday night's draw for the 2016 Copa America Centenario, the US national team will be facing another tall task in the group stages of an official competition after watching Group A turn into what is unquestionably the tournament's "Group of Death." 

Don't take our word for it. ESPN's Soccer Power Index says that Group A is the toughest of the four groups drawn.

There are two other rankings to look at when attempting to determine the Group of Death, or even the Group of Life (Mexico's): the FIFA rankings and the ELO Rating System. The latter is held in higher regard by most soccer pundits since it takes into account the type of match, home field advantage and goal differential.


Team FIFA Ranking ELO Rating
USA 32 26
Colombia 8 6
Costa Rica 31 23
Paraguay 42 35
Average 28.3 22.5

The Group of Death will not be kind. Although the USA may be the "seeded" team as hosts, Colombia are clear favorites to get out of the group with the other three nations fighting for the second spot in the quarterfinals. Although things could change come June, Costa Rica and Paraguay are currently the more in-form teams of the three.


Team FIFA Ranking ELO Rating
Brazil 6 2
Ecuador 13 12
Haiti 65 86
Peru 43 22
Average 31.8 30.5

It's pretty obvious that Brazil and Ecuador are the top two teams here, but they will have to see off a Peruvian side that made it all the way to the semifinals of last year's Copa America. Haiti also showed some fight in the 2015 Gold Cup, when they advanced out of their group alongside the US.


Team FIFA Ranking ELO Rating
Mexico 22 13
Uruguay 11 9
Jamaica 51 61
Venezuela 81 56
Average 41.3 34.8

While everyone will be paying attention to Mexico and Uruguay, let's not forget that Jamaica defeated the US in the semifinals of the 2015 Gold Cup before falling to El Tri in the final. It would be a surprise to see Venezuela get more than three points in this group.


Team FIFA Ranking ELO Rating
Argentina 2 3
Chile 5 5
Panama 60 41
Bolivia 72 53
Average 34.8 25.5

Forecasting the two sides to emerge from Group D will not be tough for most, as Argentina and Chile are two of the top teams in the world. Panama will be the toughest opposition of the remaining two teams: They defeated the US in the third-place match of the 2015 Gold Cup, but they have not enjoyed the best of form since then. Bolivia have lost 5-0 to both Argentina and Chile in the past year.