2014 World Cup Draw: USA gets a 'Group of Death'
Because of the structure of the draw, there was a very good chance that the Americans would be placed in a difficult position to advance to the knockout stage (the top two teams from each group advance), but this grouping is difficult on a variety of levels, and also raises a ton of interesting story lines.
USA opens the tournament against Ghana. The Black Stars have eliminated the United States from the last two World Cups in 2006 and 2010. The Americans are also coached by Jurgen Klinsmann, a former star for the German National Team.
Making matters even more difficult for the red, white and blue is the fact that they have the most difficult travel schedule of any World Cup qualifier. The Americans will travel 8,866 miles to play their three opening round games. The games are in Natal, Manaus (the Amazonian venue that every team hoped to avoid), and Recife. So if you are an American hoping to travel to the games, I hope you have a lot of frequent-flyer miles.
Not all is lost for the USA though. Thought Ghana is considered an American nemesis, the USA should be favorites in that match. Overall, ESPN gives the Americans a 39.4 percent chance to advance from the group and a 9.5 percent chance to win the group.
One bit of good news for the USA is that if they do advance beyond the group stage their first knockout round game would be against a team from Group H, one of the weaker groups comprised of Belgium, Russia, South Korea and Algeria.
Here are the full groupings for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which begins in June:
Group A: Group E:
Group B: Group F:
Chile Bosnia and Herzegovina
Group C: Group G:
Cote d'Ivoire Portugal
Group D: Group H:
Italy South Korea
Costa Rica Algeria