By Travis Waldron. 12-06-13
The draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil completed this morning, and on first glance, it couldn’t have gone much worse for the United States Men’s National Team. The U.S. was drawn into Group G with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana, the first of which is among the favorites to win the entire tournament and the third of which has eliminated the United States from the previous two World Cups.
With all four teams ranked, according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index, in the top 24 in the world (Germany is 4th, Portugal 16th, the U.S. 17th, and Ghana 24th), this isn’t quite the Group of Death, since the absurdly-drawn Group B, which features Spain (3), Chile (5), and the Netherlands (9) (along with No. 53 Australia), and Group D’s meshing of Uruguay (9), England (10), and Italy (13) are both tougher at the top. But it won’t be easy.
On top of that, because of its position in the draw, the U.S. has to travel to Manaus, a city in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, for the second game of the tournament against Portugal on June 22. American coach Jurgen Klinsmann this week said that Manaus was theone place he wanted to avoid, given that it is in a separate time zone from the rest of the tournament sites, boasts a muggy, tropical climate that could wear down players, and also requires longer travel than any other site.