The U.S. men’s national team and their fans can’t complain too much. The Group G draw looks tough at first glance but really it is not as bad as first appearances first suggest. And the Stars and Stripes should be able to advance from this group to the elimination round.
The travel is bad, with the U.S. logging more miles than any other team in the group stage, but the schedule works to the Red, White, and Blues advantage.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s side opens against Ghana at Estadio das Dunas in Natal. The first reaction is that the Black Stars have dumped the U.S. from the last 2 World Cups but the truth is this squad is more in their golden years than prime. The West African nation qualified by beating Bob Bradley led Egypt in the CAF playoffs but after an impressive first leg dropped the second leg match.
This is arguably the weakest team in the U.S.’ group so grabbing 3 points is very possible and probably necessary to advancing to the Round of 16.
The USA heads into the jungle to face Cristiano Ronaldo…or Portugal at Arena Amazonia in Manaus in the second group match. The horror, the horror. In the deep jungle, the U.S. should not become too obsessed because the challenge is singular, find a way to stop Ronaldo. The truth is that Portugal struggled at times in UEFA qualifying drawing Israel twice and as well as drawing Northern Ireland on the way to a second place finish. They qualified in a playoff against Sweden.
Unlike Ghana, the U.S. has a good history against Portugal. The Red, White, and Blue ended all hopes of the Portuguese golden generation with their 3-2 win at Suwon World Cup stadium at the 2002 World Cup. The team will remember as both Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley were in the staring XI that day.
The U.S. closes out the group stage against world #2 Germany at Arena Pernambuco in Recife. The best part of facing the top team last is that the U.S. will know what is needed to advance. And Germany is possible not so bad when considering the other seeded teams. Klinsmann’s side is probably better off facing Die Mannschaft, a team Jurgen should know well, than any of the South American seeded teams or the current champions Spain.
The general consensus, however, is that Group G could be the Group of Death. And Klinsmann tends to be agreeing.
“That is a tough group, which couldn’t have been harder,” Klinsmann told FIFA after the draw. “The group is a real challenge, but we have built up our self-confidence over the last two and a half years and we have the most successful year in the 100 years of US football behind us.”
Group G includes world #2 Germany along with Portugal, Ghana and the USA. All four teams advanced from their group at the 2010 World Cup.
And while the U.S. could have been in an easier group, the side could have also been in a much more difficult group.
USA’s Group G Schedule at 2014 FIFA World Cup:
June 16: USA vs. Ghana, 6 p.m. ET, Estadio Das Dunas in Natal
June 22: USA vs. Portugal, 3 p.m. ET, Arena Amazonia in Manaus
June 26: USA vs. Germany, Noon ET, Arena Pernambuco in Recife
How do you rate the U.S. draw? Will the Red, White and Blue advance from the group stage?
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