It could not have been any worse for American soccer fans who watched the 2014 FIFA World Cup Draw as the U.S. saw themselves drawn in a group with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. Right there are teams that have knocked the USMNT out of the last three FIFA World Cups. This draw will show whether the USA has turned the corner under Jurgen Klinsmann and has become a force to be reckoned with in world soccer.
The USA will start on June 16 at the Arena das Dunas against African side Ghana. Ghana has eliminated the United States in each of the last two World Cups and just seems to have the American’s number. The teams have only met twice in their history; both matches took place in World Cups, and Ghana won each game 2-1.
Ghana qualified for the tournament by thrashing Egypt, coached by former USA manager Bob Bradley, in the final round of African qualification. This fixture will be critical for the United States as they will need a win to have any chance to get out of this Group of Death.
USA will then travel to the Amazon and the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus for a clash with Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal on June 22. The United States has some success against Portugal in the past, having beaten them 3-2 in an epic match during Korea/Japan 2002.
This will be the sixth meeting all-time between these two nations with the USA having won twice, Portugal having won twice and one draw. the United States has actually won the last two matches between the two nations. It will be important for the United States to get results in each of the matches. A draw may be alright from this match depending on whether they can beat Ghana or not.
Finally the United States travels all the way back to the eastern coast for the final group stage match in Recife at the Arena Pernambuco on June 26 against Germany. The storylines for this match make it quite possibly the most anticipated group stage match other than the Spain–Netherlands clash early in the tournament. It will see Klinsmann coaching against his home nation and former protege Joachim Low with a potential berth in the Round of 16 on the line.
The United States has beaten Germany in 2013 already even though it was not a full “A” German squad by any means, it should instill some confidence in Klinsmann’s men.
The matchup between these two nations will be the 10th meeting all-time, with Germany winning six and the United States winning three. This will also be their third meeting in a FIFA World Cup with Germany having won the first two matches; a 2-0 group stage win in Paris during France 1998 and a 1-0 quarterfinal win in Ulsan during Korea/Japan 2002.
There is no doubt that this was not a favorable draw for the United States, but Jurgen Klinsmann would not have it any other way. His goal since taking over the job has been to make America into a soccer powerhouse, and here is his chance to put his money where his mouth is.