The USMNT has come a long way since Jurgen Klinsmann began managing the team in 2011. They are poised and ready to take on the best of the best, which they will face in the World Cup because they were drawn into the same group as Portugal, Germany and Ghana.
This also puts Klinsmann in an awkward position having to face his native country and a former team he managed, but it could also gives USMNT the upper hand.
Before anyone assumes that the USMNT won’t make it out of the group of death, they must remember how the team made it there. The USMNT had one of the greatest runs of their existence during the qualification rounds for the World Cup. They ended on top of the table for the CONCACAF Hexagonal standings, and even gave their rivals a helping hand. Their rivalry against Mexico stopped being one-sided. Both teams were equally competitive, and the last three matches ended in two draws and a win for the USMNT.
Now, being drawn into “the Group of Death” may be the USMNT’s biggest hurdle in the World Cup. They are up against two top-10 teams in Portugal and Germany. They cannot make any mistakes if they want to proceed past the group stage. Many believe Ghana will be a breeze, but they must remember Ghana was the team who knocked them out of the 2010 World Cup, and the USMNT has never beaten Ghana in a World Cup match.
However, USMNT players are not low on confidence. Landon Donovan has even said “it’s group of death because we’re in it.” These are some choice words, and hopefully the team has the determination to support the claim. I have a lot of faith in the team, but it will be an uphill battle. I believe the CONCACAF region is one of the least challenging regions, and because the team barely plays outside teams, they have to train harder to keep up.