Thanks to a tough draw, The United States Mens National Team(USMNT) landed the proverbial “Group of Death” for the 2014 World Cup.
As USA was drawn, their fate landed them in Group G, a difficult group that consists of World Cup powers Germany, Portugal, and proverbial nemesis Ghana. The Black Stars have eliminated the Yanks in their last two World Cup matches in both 2006 and 2010.
“It’s definitely one of the tougher groups, if not the toughest, but at the same time, this is what the World Cup’s all about. You go there to play against the best,” American forward Jozy Altidore said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I think the boys will be excited, will be up for it.”
Germany has finished in the top three in the past three World Cups, losing to Brazil in the 2002 World Cup. Their last title came in the 1990 World Cup, as they defeated Argentina 1-0. USA’s coach Jurgen Klinsmann played for Germany’s 1990 World Cup championship team and led Germany to a third place finish in the 2006 World Cup.
Portugal was eliminated in the last World Cup by Spain in the Group of 16. Spain later went on to win the whole tournament, defeating the Netherlands in the finals.
In 2010, Germany defeated Portugal 3-1, to win third place, as Portugal finished in fourth.
Portugal, led by their forward Cristiano Ronaldo, is one of the favorites heading into the World Cup in the summer of 2014. Ronaldo has battled Argentina’s Lionel Messi for the best player in soccer, hoping to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or, which is an award that is given to the player who is considered the best soccer player in the past year.
Portugal’s best asset is their midfield as well as forwards. They are a threat to score multiple goals fast, and have one of the best offenses in the World. Their midfield is led by João Moutinho, who is great at stopping other teams from scoring as well as passing the ball up to the strikers for the goal.
Ghana is similar to Portugal, as their attack and midfield are a threat. Their midfielder, Kevin-Prince Boateng, has played great for his new team, Schalke 04. In just 17 games, Boateng has seven goals, four more than he had last year for AC Milan.
The other midfielder that is a threat for Ghana is Andre Ayew. The attacking midfielder scored two goals and one assist in ten games for Maseille this year. The duo of Ayew and Boateng will be a problem for opponents, as their versatility and speed gives Ghana a chance to be one of the two victors from Group G.
Germany has always been a powerhouse in the World Cup. Their three World Cup championships places them third in the all-time list (behind only Brazil and Italy). Striker Thomas Müller and midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Özil are three of the top players for Germany.
Schweinsteiger’s versatility allows him to play defense as well as score goals, especially from a far distance. His energy Is a perfect asset for coaches to work with and his leadership has helped Germany became the big threat it is now.
As for his teammate Özil, the 25-year-old midfielder has great control with the ball as well as his exceptional vision, which tears defenses apart, opening opportunities for his team to score. While playing for Arsenal, Özil has scored three goals and accumulated six assists in just 11 games.
Germany’s striker Müller has skills that helped him become a deadly attacker and spot-on passer he is now. His leadership, like Schweinsteiger, has helped his teams become top teams in their respective leagues. In 14 games for Bayern Munich, Müller has six goals and four assists, proving he is a solid and unselfish player.
Not only is Germany a dangerous team on offense, but they are also great on defense. Goalie Manuel Neuer has been a shot-stopping force with great reflexes, helping him stop potential goals that other goalies can’t. In his 14 games with Bayern Munich, Neuer has 30 saves and eight shutouts.
Germany has talent at every position, which leads to their success in major tournaments, like the World Cup
The last team in the group is the United States of America, led by goalie Tim Howard, captain Clint Dempsey, and strikers Landon Donovan and Jozy Altidore.
Howard is an athletic goalkeeper who can block shots with ease. He has been a huge asset for the USA national team, posting multiple shut outs and blocking multiple shots that decide the outcome. He, like Neuer has eight shut outs in 14 games, but he has 38 saves compared to Neuer’s 30.
As for the attacking midfielder Clint Dempsey, he has led been the leader for the USA national team and is always playing with such energy and finesse, that the defense has trouble stopping him. He will be one of the major outcomes in team USA’s future, because if he struggles, USA will finish dead last. But, if he plays great, they may slide into the number two slot, or suffer close losses that’ll end up holding them from advancing into the next round.
The two strikers who are probably the most talented players for team USA are Jozy Altidore and Landon Donovan. Donovan is an unselfish player who is talented all-around. In 2013-’14, Donovan has 19 goals and 15 assists in 35 games, proving that his versatility is dangerous for other teams. Altidore has not played great in the English Premier League, but while he is with the USA national team, he is just as deadly as Donovan. Altidore is more dominant shooting the ball than racking up the assists. In his 10 games with the USA national team, Altidore has eight goals and two assists.
For team USA to have any chance in becoming one of the two teams who will come out of Group G, all four of these players need to play at a premier level.
Germany is the best team in this division and their dominance at every position will lead them to first place in Group G.
Portugal will finish in second place, as they are a threat to score at every minute of the game. Their attacking midfielders and strikers will prove to be a valuable asset for Portugal, as they will finish right behind Germany.
USA will finish in third place, behind both Germany and Portugal. They will get revenge against Ghana, who eliminated USA in the previous two World Cups, but they won’t be able to get past the “Group of Death.”
Ghana will finish dead last in this group, struggling to find any wins. This division is too strong for Ghana, which will show in the first game of the World Cup.