2014 World Cup Draw: USA gets a Group of Death

2014 World Cup Draw: USA gets a 'Group of Death'

12/6/13 in Soccer   |   Dan_B   |   1066 respect

Oct 15, 2013; Panama City, Panama; United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann looks on before their game against Panama at Estadio Rommel Fernandez. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY SportsIt may not be the worst possible outcome, but the USA have an incredibly difficult road ahead in the 2014 World Cup. At Friday morning's draw, the USA were placed into Group G with world powerhouse Germany, perennial nemesis Ghana and a Portugal squad led by Cristiano Ronaldo.

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:           
Brazil                                                     France
Mexico                                                   Ecuador
Croatia                                                   Switzerland
Cameroon                                              Honduras

Group B:                                  Group F:
Spain                                                     Argentina
Chile                                                      Bosnia and Herzegovina
Netherlands                                         Nigeria
Australia                                                Iran

Group C:                                  Group G:
Colombia                                             Germany
Cote d'Ivoire                                        Portugal
Greece                                                  USA 
Japan                                                    Ghana

Group D:                                            Group H:
Uruguay                                               Belgium
England                                               Russia
Italy                                                      South Korea
Costa Rica                                            Algeria
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12/9/13   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

w_g_walters wrote:
I think there are three groups of death--A, D, and E--and any of the teams can advance. Cameroon will find it most difficult since Mexico finally has a coach, and nobody envies Costa Rica. B could be called one, but I don't see Chile advancing. H is remarkably weak. Unless Nigeria pulls an upset, I think the other groups are straightforward.

The reason I consider H a rough group is not because of overall strength of teams.  It is the weakest group.  But because all the teams are still fairly close together and one could make a case for any of them advancing.  The best news for the US is (and this is looking ahead) if they get out of their group they will get a group H team in the round of 16.

12/8/13   |   w_g_walters   |   221 respect

Eric_ wrote:
It might not be the worst possible outcome, but it's close, especially given the 8600 miles of travel that will be required. At least we'll find out for real how good the USMNT is*.

*to the extent a small sample size of three games can do that

With matches four days apart, I don't see that as an issue for a country the geographic size of the USA. Our players do that a lot. None of the other teams could handle it.

12/8/13   |   w_g_walters   |   221 respect

Oops! I meant G, not E.
 

12/8/13   |   w_g_walters   |   221 respect

ML31 wrote:
You know...  I'd say nearly every group this World Cup is a Group of Death.  The rest of the world is getting better.  There are more good teams then ever before.    When they put CONCACAFF in with Asia we knew the draw would be rough.  But let's just deal with it.  With a little luck, going 1-1-1 could get us through.  And 2-1-0 is possible too.  We have matched up OK against Portugal in the past...  You never know...

I think there are three groups of death--A, D, and E--and any of the teams can advance. Cameroon will find it most difficult since Mexico finally has a coach, and nobody envies Costa Rica. B could be called one, but I don't see Chile advancing. H is remarkably weak. Unless Nigeria pulls an upset, I think the other groups are straightforward.

12/6/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

It might not be the worst possible outcome, but it's close, especially given the 8600 miles of travel that will be required. At least we'll find out for real how good the USMNT is*.

*to the extent a small sample size of three games can do that

12/6/13   |   ML31   |   3615 respect

You know...  I'd say nearly every group this World Cup is a Group of Death.  The rest of the world is getting better.  There are more good teams then ever before.    When they put CONCACAFF in with Asia we knew the draw would be rough.  But let's just deal with it.  With a little luck, going 1-1-1 could get us through.  And 2-1-0 is possible too.  We have matched up OK against Portugal in the past...  You never know...