USA’s Chances in the 2014 World Cup

April 22, 2014 | Ethan Stewart

USA’s Chances in the 2014 World Cup

 

Just like when the Summer and Winter Olympics roll on in every few years, the FIFA World Cup gives us Americans another chance to showcase our patriotism and root on the United States Mens National Soccer Team.  This summer’s World Cup will be played in Brazil and international soccer will once again captivate the nation from June 12 to July 13.  While the majority of Americans would admit they don’t care to follow the English Premier League, the Bundesliga, or La Liga, most Americans do actually tune in or at least follow the United States’ progress during the World Cup.

It’s a commonly known truth that the United States is not a powerhouse in the soccer world.  For years soccer has been dominated primarily by South American and European countries like Brazil, Germany, Spain, Argentina, and England.

Although the United States men’s team has been performing exceptionally well under German manager, Jürgen Klinsmann, it was pretty heartbreaking time for the fans when the draw for the World Cup was released a few months ago.  Group G, also known as the dreaded Group of Death, consists of Germany, Portugal, Ghana, and the United States.

What I will be doing is analyzing each team’s past performance, and giving odds for advancement out of the group stages to each country.  Also I will be mentioning an interesting player to keep your eye on for each respective country in Group G

Germany: Germany, currently ranked 2nd in the FIFA world rankings, is a perennial international soccer powerhouse and have performed exceptionally well in recent World Cups.  In 2006 and 2010 Germany finished in 3rd place beating Portugal and Uruguay respectively in the third place playoff matches.

Player to Watch:

Mario Götze, a 21 year old midfielder for Bayern München, is one of the best young up-and-coming footballers in the world right now.  He’s one of the great playmakers in Germany’s Bundesliga at the moment, and he has a knack for finding the back of the net when he’s enclosed in tight spaces.

Weakness:

Germany does not have a definitive striker as both Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez have both struggled to stay healthy over the past year and have not maintained solid form so Germany may struggle early on in the group stage to score goals.

Odds of Advancement:

75%

Portugal: Portugal barely qualified for the World Cup this year despite being ranked 3rd in the FIFA world rankings.  They squeaked out a 3-2 victory against Sweden in which they needed a Herculean effort out of the reigning Ballon D’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, as he scored a hat trick.  Portugal will need many more spectacular performances out of Ronaldo in order to progress far into the tournament as the rest of the starting 11 are average at best.

Player to Watch:

Cristiano Ronaldo, also known as CR7, is the best soccer player in the world right now.  He managed to beat out the likes of Lionel Messi and Franck Ribéry for FIFA’s player of the year.  He has been absolutely sensational for his current club, Real Madrid, as they are still competing to win La Liga as well as the UEFA Champions League.  He has scored 28 goals while appearing in 27 games.

Weakness: Cristiano Ronaldo is definitely a force to be reckoned with, but will the rest of the squad be able to pick up the slack if Ronaldo is defended well?

Odds of Advancement:

50%

Ghana: Ghana is definitely the team in group G that has the United States’ number.  In each of the last 2 World Cups’, Ghana has been able to defeat the United States despite their lack of flair and star power.  Ghana should not be underestimated despite their poor FIFA World Ranking of 38 as when they play against high level competition on the international level, they are able to thrive under that sense of pressure and play as a strong, cohesive unit.

Player to Watch:

Kevin-Prince Boateng is a member of FC Schalke who play in the German professional league, the Bundesliga.  Boateng will be playing in the defensive midfield role for Ghana which means the ball will be running through him a lot and he will set up his teammates with great offensive chances by utilizing crosses and over the top chip passes.

Weakness:

In high-scoring affairs, Ghana will not be able to match the goal-scoring abilities of the other 3 teams in their group.

Odds of Advancement:

25%

United States: The United States have been playing surprisingly well over the past year under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann as USMNT are actually ranked 13th on FIFA’s World Rankings.  The United States were actually able to advance beyond the group stage in the 2010 World Cup, but ultimately met their demise against Ghana as they lost 2-1 in extra time.  Slowly but surely the United States is beginning to garner respect worldwide as we’ve had players begin to reach varying levels of success in the best leagues in the world.  Also the highest professional soccer league in the United States, the MLS, is thriving as the likes of legendary European players including David Beckham and Thierry Henry have dramatically helped the progression of the league becoming a highly respected member of the soccer community.

Player to Watch:

Clint Dempsey, the captain of the USMNT, has been scoring goals non-stop since the beginning of the 2014 MLS season for his new team, the Seattle Sounders.  Dempsey has had great individual success at top English Premier League clubs like Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham.  Dempsey and striker, Jozy Altidore, will be relied upon to be the primary goal scorers for the United States during the upcoming World Cup.

Weakness:

Defensively they are not as sound as the 2010 USMNT squad when led by the likes of Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo.  Stopping offensively gifted squads like Germany and Portugal will be a tough task.  Also the United States has notoriously played inadequately against Ghana, which is a team that the USMNT will need to beat to stand a chance in advancing to the next round.

Odds of Advancement:

25%

The draw was obviously unfavorable for the United States as they will be facing off against 3 high quality sides, but like the rest of America, I for will once again be feverishly chanting “USA! USA! USA!” along with my comrades come June 12th. In my opinion, the team that performs the best against Germany will move on through the group stage along with Germany.  The prospects of advancing past the group stage admittedly appear bleak at the moment.  But hey, crazier things have happened!

Feel free to comment below with your predictions regarding the winner of the 2014 World Cup. Also tell me how you believe the USMNT will fare in Brazil this summer.

Comments on Facebook

Leave a Reply