2014 World Cup: Breaking Down Group G
Easily the deadliest of the three groups of death in the 2014 World Cup, Group G is going to provide for some of the best games the tournament will see in the first week. European powerhouses Germany and Portugal are joined by CONCACAF winner United States and Ghana.
After back-to-back third place finishes for the Germans, they’ll be looking to win it all in Brazil. One of the favorites, Die Nationalmannschaft will be difficult to break down for anyone in the tournament. A stalwart back line with the likes of Manuel Neuer, Per Mertesacker and Mats Hummels will ensure opposing forwards have their hands full every time they touch the ball.
Add in a midfield with more stars and options than some teams have in their entire history, and you’ve got a real breadwinner here. Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze, and Ilkay Gundogan are just a few players that the Germans can look to in midfield. At striker, they can choose from Miroslav Klose, Mario Gomez or Max Kruse, giving the Eagles more than enough options to score.
The Black Stars will be looking to advance out of the group stage for the third World Cup in as many appearances. Led by veterans Asamoah Gyan, Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari, they’ll look to guide the young talents to another positive World Cup outing. Christian Atsu and the Ayew brothers, Jordan and Andre, give Ghana a number of dangerous options up top that could pose a threat for slower teams in the tournament.
It was almost inevitable for the United States to be drawn into one of the groups of death. Unfortunately for them, it was the most difficult of the three. Key players to the USMNT’s success in Brazil are Michael Bradley, Omar Gonzalez and Jozy Altidore. Bradley pulls the strings in the midfield and when he’s absent, the team is noticeably weaker, literally and figuratively.
Gonzalez is arguably the USMNT’s best central defender since Eddie Pope, and will be crucial to keeping the opposing goals scored to a minimum. Altidore is the team’s focal point when it comes to scoring goals. If he can continue his blistering international form when the team gets to Brazil, who knows what can happen?
A Seleccao have Cristiano Ronaldo at their disposal and will look to him to carry the team as far as he can, just as he did in qualifying. A fourth-place finish in 2006 showed glimpses of the talent the Portuguese have. With players like Nani, Raul Meireles, João Moutinho and Miguel Veloso in the midfield, Portugal has the talent to not only cause some trouble for the other teams in this group, but to move on and make a deep run similar to the one they did in Germany.
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