Can Altidore lead Team USA Out of Strong Group?
The 2014 United States World Cup soccer team will have its work cut out for them as they try to navigate their way out of what is undoubtedly one of the tougher groups in this year’s globally-encompassing soccer tournament. Click here to see full 2014 World Cup odds.
You see, the U.S. men, led by gifted striker, Jozy Altidore and veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard, are in Group G, better known as the “Group of Death” along with elite world Cup title contender Germany and potential contender Portugal, not to mention, Ghana, a team that has been given equal odds as the U.S. of advancing out of the stacked group.
World Cup Odds To Win Group G
- Germany -150
- Portugal +250
- USA +900
- Ghana +900
While it’s true that veteran – and widely-respected – head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was quoted in a recent issue of the New York Times Magazine as saying, "We cannot win this World Cup," the fact of the matter is that Klinsmann did not say that the Americans could not advance out of their group and had absolutely no hope of doing anything positive if they did manage to reach the knockout stage.
Sure, the U.S. team has one giant of a mountain to climb in group G, but upsets certainly happen in professional sports all the time – and in soccer far more often than in other sports.
This look at the Americans’ trio of upcoming group G contests will give you a great idea of just what to expect – and a good idea of which teams you may want to wager on when these matches take place over the course of the coming weeks.
The U.S. has played all three of their group rivals in the last three World Cups and has played in every World Cup since 1990.
“We want to get past the group stage and take the knockout stage with more confidence than ever before,” Klinsmann said in a recent interview.
USA vs. Ghana June 16 @19:00
The United States will look to extract some revenge against Ghana after being eliminated from World Cup play in the round of 16 by this nation in 2010. A year after the humbling loss, head coach Bob Bradley was replaced by Klinsmann, who revamped the team by casting a wider global net that sought international players with American eligibility.
The biggest battle in this match will come in the center of the field where both teams are strongest. Ghana’s Kevin Prince-Boateng, Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien have the ability to pick defenses apart, so the Americans will need to be on top of their game here. The good news is that the U.S. team is known for its patience in this part of the field. The bad news for the U.S. squad is that Ghana allowed just six goals in World Cup qualifying and their first line of defense is their strong and capable.
USA vs. Portugal June 22 at 18:00
The 13th-ranked USA squad will have its hands full against a Portugal team that is ranked fourth by FIFA coming into the 2014 World Cup. The United States will have their collective hands full with superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo as he looks to bounce back from injury and reclaim his unofficial title as the best player on the planet.
As he showed in the play-off against Sweden, Ronaldo is still Portugal’s go-to leader, though he certainly has elite help in defensive stars, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Joao Pereira and Fabio Coentrao.
The USA team will have its hands full trying to stop Ronaldo and company, but the good news is that the superstar striker and fellow star Pepe have each missed two straight warm-up games heading into the official start of the World Cup so they could be a bit rusty. Either way, expecting the U.S. to win this match is a bit of a stretch, particularly against a team that many believe could find its way into the final four.
USA vs. Germany June 26 at 13:00
Once again, the U.S. team will have its hands completely full against a German team that is ranked much higher – and one that I like to take home all the hardware this year.
The bad news is that Germany is ranked second by FIFA heading into the 2014 World Cup and possesses a plethora of talented players starting with goal-scorer supreme Thomas Muller.
The good news for team USA is that Klinsmann knows this team extremely well, having coached them for numerous years.
Still, Germany has the ability to put most teams away with its potent offense. The Germans compiled an unbeaten record in qualifying play with nine victories in ten matches, scoring a whopping 36 goals along the way, the most of any team in European zone qualifying.
Germany coach Joachim Low however, sees plenty of room for improvement after his team played Sweden to a 4-4 tie after taking a 4-0 lead in Berlin in October of 2012.
“I see two main areas to focus on: we need to stabilize both our defense and our play in the final third,” Low said.
Now, the really bad news for the U.S. is that the Germans are experienced and almost expect to win whenever they play in the World Cup.
Germany is third in all-time FIFA World Cup titles, behind only Brazil with five and Italy with four. The 1954 team won the tournament in Switzerland as rank outsiders, in what became known as the Miracle of Berne. Germany also won it all in1974 on its home soil before bringing home the bacon in Italy in 1990.
The Germans have also finished runners-up four other times (1966, 1982, 1986 and 2002) while also taking third place four more times (1934, 1970, 2006 and 2010). No other team has played more matches (99) or scored more goals (222) at the FIFA World Cup finals.
Team USA World Cup 2014 Roster
- Tim Howard Goalkeeper Everton FC (ENG)
- DeAndre Yedlin Defender Seattle Sounders FC (USA)
- Omar Gonzalez Defender Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
- Michael Bradley Midfielder Toronto FC (CAN)
- Matt Belser Defender Sporting Kansas City (USA)
- John Brooks Defender Hertha BSC (GER)
- DaMarcus Beasley Defender Puebla FC (MEX)
- Clint Dempsey Forward Seattle Sounders FC (USA)
- Aron Johannsson Forward AZ Alkmaar (NED)
- Mix Diskerud Midfielder Rosenborg BK (NOR)
- Alejandro Bedoya Midfielder FC Nantes (FRA)
- Brad Guzan Goalkeeper Aston Villa FC (ENG)
- Jermaine Jones Midfielder Besiktas JK (TUR)
- Brad Davis Midfielder Houston Dynamo (USA)
- Kyle Beckerman Midfielder Real Salt Lake (USA)
- Julian Green Midfielder FC Bayern Muenchen (GER)
- Jozy Altidore Forward Sunderland AFC (ENG)
- Chris Wondolowski Forward San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
- Graham Zusi Midfielder Sporting Kansas City (USA)
- Geoff Cameron Defender Stoke City FC (ENG)
- Timmy Chandler Defender FC Nuernberg (GER)
- Nick Rimando Goalkeeper Real Salt Lake (USA)
- Fabian Johnson Defender TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (GER)
In nine total World Cup appearances, the U.S. has zero titles and has a FIFA ranking position of 19th.
How Did Team USA Qualify For the 2014 World Cup?
The U.S. got off to a bad start in their final round of qualifying in the CONCACAF zone, losing 2-1 on the road in Honduras. The loss put Klinsmann in an unenviable position of receiving criticism, but the team responded quickly, taking first place in the six-team Hexagonal. The team’s head coach experimented with veteran players in new positions.
Key Players For Team USA
Jozy Altidore, of English Premier League outfit Sunderland is clearly the best player on the U.S. team but he’s had run-ins with Klinsmann, getting kicked off the team briefly for what was supposed to be a bad attitude. When Altidore returned, all he did was lead the team in every facet. The fleet-footed striker has teamed up with fellow line mate Clint Dempsey to lead the U.S. offensive attack.
— Twitter Sports (@TwitterSports) June 10, 2014