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USA draws World Cup Group of Death

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On Friday, the United States was drawn, unfortunately, into the Group of Death in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Draw in Costa Do Sauipe, Brazil, constraining hopes for the U.S. Men's National Team.

The USA now will have to get past Group G powerhouses Ghana, Portugal and Germany to advance in the Cup.

"Obviously it's one of the most difficult groups in the whole draw," U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "Having Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo and then Ghana who has a history with the United States, it couldn't get any more difficult or any bigger. But that's what a World Cup is about. It's a real challenge and we'll take it. We'll take it on and hopefully we're going to surprise some people there."

USA's All-Time Record against Group G World Cup Opponents:
Germany: 3-6-0
Ghana: 0-2-0
Portugal: 2-2-1

If the U.S. Men's National Team advances out of the group stage, it would face a team from Group H (Belgium, Algeria, Russia and Korea Republic) on either June 30 in Porto Alegre or July 1 in Salvador.

The U.S. opens its World Cup play on June 16 against Ghana at Estadio Das Dunas in Natal, on the northeast coast of Brazil in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. The USA will then face Portugal on June 22 at Arena Amazonia in Manaus and will finish group play on June 26 against three-time World Cup champion Germany at Arena Pernambuco in Recife, also located on the northeast coast.

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

"The memory will still be very fresh of the [USA's] loss in the Round of 16 [to Ghana] in 2010," said USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard. "I think that will help us more than it will them. We're a much stronger team than we were, and they'll know that going into the game. We'll look to set that result right.

It's nearly an impossible task to completely shut down [Portugal's] Cristiano Ronaldo, but I think from a team standpoint we match up well with Portugal."

In 2010, the U.S. dramatically won Group C as Landon Donovan scored a game-winning goal in the 91st minute to defeat Algeria 1-0 in the final group match on June 23 in Pretoria, South Africa, to advance to the Round of 16. It marked the USA's second first-place finish in the group stage, with the other coming at the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay.

2014 FIFA World Cup Groups:
Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria
Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA
Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic

Group G Opponent Profiles:

GERMANY:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 2nd
Championship Honors: FIFA World Cup (1954, 1974, 1990), European Championship (1972, 1980, 1996)
World Cup Finals Appearances: 18 - 1934 (3rd), 1938 (10th), 1954 (1st), 1958 (4th), 1962 (7th), 1966 (2nd), 1970 (3rd), 1974 (1st), 1978 (6th), 1982 (2nd), 1986 (2nd), 1990 (1st), 1994 (5th), 1998 (7th), 2002 (2nd), 2006 (3rd), 2010 (3rd), 2014
World Cup Record: 60-20-19
2014 World Cup Qualifying: Finished 1st in UEFA Group C (9-0-1; 36 GF, 10 GA)
Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorer: Mesut Özil (8)
Head Coach: Joachim Löw (Germany)
Key Players: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Mario Gotze (Bayern Munich)

GHANA:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 24th
Championship Honors: African Cup of Nations (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982)
World Cup Finals Appearances: 3 - 2006 (13th), 2010 (7th), 2014
World Cup Record: 4-3-2 (9 GF; 10 GA)
2014 World Cup Qualifying: Finished 1st in CAF Group D; Defeated Egypt 7-3 on aggregate in CAF Playoffs (5-1-0; 18 GF, 3 GA)
Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorers: Asamoah Gyan (6)
Head Coach: Kwesi Appiah (Ghana)
Key Players: Michael Essien (Chelsea), Sulley Muntari (Milan), Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Schalke), Andre Ayew (Marseille)

PORTUGAL:
Current FIFA World Ranking: 5th
Championship Honors: None
World Cup Finals Appearances: 6 - 1966 (3rd), 1986 (17th), 2002 (21st), 2006 (4th), 2010 (11th), 2014
World Cup Record: 12-8-3
2010 World Cup Qualifying: Finished 2nd in UEFA Group F; Defeated Sweden 4-2 on aggregate in UEFA playoffs (6-1-3; 20 GF, 9 GA)
Leading World Cup Qualifying Scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo (8)
Head Coach: Paulo Bento (Portugal)
Key Players: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Pepe (Real Madrid), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid)

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