Sports

World Cup draw instant analysis: the US is in the Group of Death

US drawn into the toughest group in the 2014 Copa. You heard it here first.

FIFA held the draw for the 2014 World Cup this morning, and I was really disappointed to be proven right. I predicted back in November that the US national team was screwed. Today we got official confirmation, as the USMNT was drawn into a group with Germany, Ghana and Portugal.

Fuck me.

At the end of the 2010 World Cup I predicted that the 2014 final would feature Germany and Ghana. Oddsmakers currently have Germany as the second favorite choice to win it all behind host Brazil, and if the tournament were being contested in Europe I can’t help thinking Germany would be the favorite. On neutral turf I think they’re the best side in the world.

Ghana, I thought, had a chance to be the best side in African history. I’m a little less certain about that now, given that I was counting on Michael Essien being the rock in the defensive midfield. Injuries have deteriorated his ability markedly, but the Black Stars are still an extremely dangerous side and one we’d liked to have avoided.

And the unseeded European team in the group? Right. Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese national diving team. Invest heavily in companies that manufacture stretchers and magic spray.

In other words, yeah, we’re in the grupo de morte. And, by the way, we have the worst travel schedule of any team in the tournament. So we got that going for us.

It probably could have been worse, but it couldn’t have been much worse. It will be next to impossible to nick a point off Germany. So we’re going to absolutely have to beat Ghana or Portugal and tie the other at an absolute minimum. Portugal is the best hope for a win, probably. If you can bottle up Ronaldo somehow – easier said than done, but humor me – they’re very beatable. I don’t rule out a win vs. Ghana, but we’re going to need to bring our A+ game that day.

As for drama, well, you can always count on backstories with these events, no matter how random the draw. US coach Jurgen Klinsmann is German and used to coach their national side. Ghana eliminated the US in the last two Cups. So jornalistas de futebol can now get started on their six-month field day.

At least the USMNT won’t have to cope with high expectations, I guess.

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