THE WASHINGTON POST
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.
The 32-nation tournament will take place at 12 venues across Brazil from June 12 to July 13.
The 32 teams will be placed into eight groups for the first rounds of the tournament. The top two teams from each group will then advance to the playoffs.
Spain won the last World Cup, held in South Africa, in 2010.
The World Cup is watched by more people than any other sporting event on the planet, with an estimated 3.2 billion people, or about 46% of the world’s population, watching at least part of the coverage from South Africa in 2010.
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