World Cup: 4 Players USMNT Needs to Deal with The Group of Death
We are now less than seventy days away from the World Cup — two months and change before the inexorable march of time brings the attention down to Brazil, where American audiences will forget their antipathy towards ‘the European football’ and rush to support the U.S. Men’s National Team. Again. Every four years the World Cup captures the nation’s attention, until the U.S. is eliminated, and everyone has successfully slid their fandom onto another squad. There are bright colors, there are raucous crowds (featuring more American fans than you might expect), and there is a metric ton of soccer.
None of that does much to assuage the average American fan’s assessment of what’s about to happen at the world cup. Group G, the pod of teams that the USMNT wound up in, is where dreams go to die. Comprised of Germany, Ghana, Portugal, and the United States, Group G features one team that could feasibly win the entire tournament (Germany), one team with Ronaldo (Portugal), and one team that has successfully beaten the U.S. in the last two World Cups (Ghana). That’s not awesome.
So what can ease the blow? After all, on paper, it’s a recipe for the U.S. to finish the group round with exactly zero points and a quick exit home — a win in the group stage is worth three points, a draw is worth one, and at the end the highest scoring teams move on to the knockout round, or the round of sixteen. But the games aren’t played on paper, and there are ways for the USMNT to take advantage of their relative strengths. Here are four U.S. players who are going to have to play above and beyond their A game in Brazil.