The United States Men’s national team is primed and ready for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. During their qualification for the tournament they had an unbelievable run that saw them reach their current spot in the FIFA World Rankings as the number 14 team in the World.
The Americans won 15 out of 16 games over a four-month stretch, their form increased drastically from earlier qualification games and they found themselves in a great position.
At the time, having such a high ranking and winning the qualification group was supposed to mean that the US would get a somewhat favorable draw in the World Cup – not so much.
A few weeks ago the official draw for groups at this summer’s World Cup placed the United States in the “group of death” with some very tough opponents.
For starters, the US is accompanied by the No. 2 team in the world, Germany. The Germans always have one of the more talented teams in the world and this year they have a great shot at winning the World Cup. Comprised of top name players that play for all of the world’s biggest teams, the German national team is simply a force to be reckoned with.
Following that is the number 5 ranked team in the world, Portugal. The Portuguese team is always one of the teams that finds a way to disappoint in the World Cup. But even in the midst of their failures they still pose a huge threat to win the entire tournament.
For Portugal it all starts with their superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who some consider to be the best player in the world (or the second best, behind Messi). Regardless of his personal ranking Ronaldo is almost always the most dangerous man on the pitch in any game that he plays, it will be a tough matchup for the American defense.
And then the last team to join the U.S. in the group of death is the same team that put the Americans out in the 2010 World Cup, Ghana. There will no doubt be revenge on the minds of the Americans as they play Ghana first. Ghana is also ranked pretty high, number 24 in the world to be exact, meaning that the group of death has teams ranked number 2, 5, 14, and 24 — it won’t be easy for any of these teams to make it out. But what exactly should we expect from the Americans this summer? Most of the experts will have the U.S. not making it out of the group at the mercy of Germany and Portugal, which seems pretty fair. But how likely is it that the Americans can somehow sneak out of their group?
Well, in all honesty if the Americans can keep the form that they had during their qualification run they might actually have a good shot. They certainly have to beat Ghana and grab 3 points there, and if they can draw both of the games against Portugal and Germany, or somehow win one, they would be in good shape. The problem with making a prediction here is that so much can change by the time the World Cup runs around, it all depends on what form the Americans are in.
Nonetheless, it will certainly be awesome to see the American team square off with some of the best teams in the world.
Tyler Rollason is a Winder-Barrow High School graduate and mass communications major at the University of West Georgia. He writes a weekly sports column for the Barrow Journal. You can e-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.