You never want to root for an injury, especially an injury to a real world-class player like Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo limped off during training and is officially listed as doubtful for the 2014 World Cup. He can carry a team on his back and whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that he is incredibly fun to watch. He’s capable of anything.
That being said, this injury opens up a huge door for the United States Men’s National Team.
When the groups were drawn, few looked at Group G and said “Wow, the US really lucked out on that one.” It was going to be an uphill battle and even with the US playing their best soccer, the likelihood of them progressing was still around 35%, just ahead of Ghana for third place. This position is more commonly known as ‘elimination.’
While there won’t be any updated probability of progression numbers in light of the injury, there’s no doubt that the USMNT’s probability shot upwards following Ronaldo being listed as doubtful.
Of all the teams in the 2014 World Cup, no team relies as heavily on one player as Portugal relies on Ronaldo. That’s not to say that they’re not a good team without him, but any team that loses someone like Ronaldo not only loses a significant amount of their firepower, they lose confidence as well.
Portugal opens up against Germany, and without Ronaldo, it’s hard to see that match going in their favor.
The USMNT has to take this opportunity and come out strong against Ghana. They could very easily be tied for first in the group heading into the second round of matches.