World Cup 2014
A field too far?
By Kevin Schaul, Emily Chow and Sohail Al-Jamea, Published: June 26, 2014
“We played in the Amazon; they played in the locations where they don't have to travel as much. Everything was done for the big favorites to move on.”
— Jurgen Klinsmann,
USA head coach
After USA’s heartbreaking draw with Portugal, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann spoke out against FIFA, which was responsible for scheduling the World Cup matches. His complaint was clear — that the USA team was at a disadvantage based on its geographically grueling schedule.
In fact, USA had the farthest distance between stadiums among all 32 teams, with 3,474 miles between locations of its first three games. Belgium, on the other hand, lucked out with all three of its games in stadiums within a few hundred miles of each other.
There does not appear to be preferential treatment, though, as Klinsmann suggested. When ordered from the highest FIFA-ranked team to the lowest, there is no clear pattern on which teams had to travel the farthest. Of course, that won’t stop U.S. fans from crying foul should today’s game be the last of the country’s 2014 World Cup bid.
Miles traveled between group stage games, by team
| ||Highest FIFA ranking || || ||Lowest || |
NOTE: Distances do not include other travel, such as to and from practice facilities. Distances are calculated “as the crow flies.” Dashed lines are for illustration purposes. SOURCE: FIFA.com.
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