With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil a little under six months away, Jurgen Klinsmann and the United States Mens National Team have ample time to prepare for a very tough Group G. With the draw occurring earlier today, the Americans learned their fate with games scheduled against Germany, Ghana and Portugal. Coach Klinsmann stated that the U.S. group matches "couldn't be harder."
The U.S. won the CONCACAF hexagonal and qualified for the 2014 World Cup after a 2-0 win over Mexico back in September. In previous tournaments, winning one’s continental group was worthy of preferential seeding in the World Cup tournament; but FIFA established a new format based on the World Rankings that gives the highest ranked teams preferential seeding.
The first opponent the Americans will face is Ghana. Ghana has eliminated the U.S. in the previous two tournaments as well as some friendlies in between. Led by captain Asamoah Gyan and Kevin Prince Boateng at striker, the Black Stars were the first African nation to qualify for this year’s World Cup. Team USA will meet Ghana June 16 in Natal.
Next up for the U.S. is Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo is in top form and is widely considered for the Ballon d’Or. The last time these two teams met in the World Cup, the Americans shocked the heavily favored Portuguese, and the world, by pulling off a 3-2 upset in the group stage in 2002 World Cup. Ronaldo sports a supporting cast of players from Europe’s top leagues, such as Nani, Fabio Coentrao, Pepe and many more. These two meet on June 22 in Manaus.
The final game for Team USA will be against Germany. The Germans are ranked second in the world behind Spain. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann goes against his former team for the final group stage game of the tournament; and if the previous games go the way many are expecting them to go, this will be a must-win game. The Americans beat Germany 4-3 in earlier in June, but that was merely a friendly. The German side has always been a technically sound team and features players from the best teams in the Bundesliga. Germany is considered a favorite to win the tournament; this pivotal game for the Americans goes down on June 26 in Recife.
There is always a “group of death” for every international soccer tournament and the U.S. has found themselves in it this time around. Groups D and E are also considered groups of death among World Cup analysts. Here is the full World Cup draw from this morning:
- Ivory Coast
- Costa Rica
- South Korea