2014 World Cup Preview: USMNT vs. Germany

By John Pavia
USMNT midfielder Michael Bradley
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This monumental clash between Germany and the United States has plenty of storylines. Both spots in the knockout stage are still available in Group G, which has lived up to its moniker as a “Group of Death” so far.

USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann used to manage the German squad back in the 2006 World Cup, where he guided them to a third-place finish before stepping down. His departure made way for Jogi Low, who has maintained Germany’s rep as a powerhouse and crafted his squad into a masterclass unit with some of the best players the world has to offer.

The relationship between Klinsmann and Low is a very amiable one as Low was Klinsmann’s right-hand man when he managed Germany, and there is a far-fetched rumor that a back-room deal has already been struck for both teams to play for a draw — or any result that will see both teams through to the next round.

Do not believe the hype on that. There is also the missed Torsten Frings handball that ended up knocking the United States out of the 2002 World Cup in the quarterfinal round.

The Americans will have their hands full as they must defend some of the best attacking players in the world in Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, Mesut Özil and Toni Kroos. The United States defense must also keep an eye on Miroslav Klose if he enters late in the game with his patented poaching ability that allowed him tie Ronaldo’s World Cup record of 15 goals in Germany’s last go around.

The key for the United States will not solely be Michael Bradley this game, although a good performance is very important to his team’s success on Thursday. The USMNT will need to attack with speed on the wings again in this game as Germany’s fullbacks have been solid, but unspectacular, and have been the source of their opponents’ chances in this tournament to date.

The focus will be on the right side of the attack for the United States as they must continue to get Fabian Johnson involved going forward.

Germany should look to cut off the USMNT’s supply through the midfield with excellent defensive midfielders Philipp Lahm and Sami Khedira. With two major mistakes from Geoff Cameron for the United States in this tournament, look for Germany to attack him frequently.

Germany probably will not play much in the air as the United States’ defense has been very good in that aspect of the game to date, but their ability on the ground could see them in on net very often.

Prediction: Germany 3, United States 2

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