There are those who would say the USA has been drawn into the strongest group for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.  Jurgen Klinsmann‘s team was drawn into Group G along with Ghana, Portugal and Germany at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final Draw that was held in Costa Do Sauipe, Brazil.

But with all of the top teams qualifying for this World Cup, which made the groups arguably the most competitive ever, we knew there would be no easy draws.  What will make the U.S. draw more difficult than some is the amount of travel the teams in the group will have to make.

The U.S. opens its tournament on June 16 against Ghana with kickoff at 6 p.m. ET at Estadio Das Dunas in Natal, located on the northeast coast of the country in the state of Rio Grande do Norte.

The USA will then face Portugal on June 22 at 3 p.m. ET at Arena Amazonia in Manaus, in the state of Amazon (deep in the Amazon), and will finish group play against three-time World Cup champion Germany at Arena Pernambuco in Recife, which is the capital of the state of Pernambuco and is also located on the northeast coast of the country. Kickoff for that match against Germany is Noon ET.

“Obviously it’s one of the most difficult groups in the whole draw,” U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said to ESPN. “Having Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo and then Ghana who has a history with the United States, it couldn’t get any more difficult or any bigger.

“But that’s what a World Cup is about. It’s a real challenge and we’ll take it. We’ll take it on and hopefully we’re going to surprise some people there.”

One pairing that jumps off the page is the USA against Germany to close out group play.  As a player, Klinsmann was the star striker for Germany’s World Cup teams, and was the head coach of the German World Cup  Team’s third-place finish in 2006  His assistant on that team, Joachim Low, is the current German head coach.

“That’s one of the craziest stories that football writes,” said Klinsmann to German broadcaster ARD about the matchup against Low.

Perhaps it is a good thing that the U.S. drew these three opponents.  After all, history shows that the U.S. has performed best when the team is the under-dog rather than the favorite.  Backs-against-the-wall! Nothing to lose, everything to gain.  Embrace the challenge!

Wayne Rooney, when learning that England was grouped with Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Italy said “If we want to be the best, we have to beat the best.  Tough group, but really looking forward to it!  Roll on Brazil 2014.”

That is the attitude the U.S. players need to adopt and believe in.

The game against Ghana is very intriguing. The Black Stars eliminated the U.S. from the last two World Cups.  However, even though it is a very talented team, it is a team that the U.S. can beat.  Is third-time the charm?

There are 32 teams in the final draw, and most are hoping to get out of group play and into the final 16. The goal all along for the USA has been to be one of those handful of teams that go to the World Cup to win.  After all, only eight countries have ever had a World Cup champion.

If you want to be in that group you must win challenging games that are meaningful and on a world stage.  The USA’s 2014 World Cup draw gives the Americans a chance to prove they belong.

2014 FIFA WORLD CUP DRAW
Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico Cameroon
Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria
Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA
Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea
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