Three Reasons The United States Can Get Out Of The Group Stage

The United States men’s national team has qualified for the past seven World Cups now, and their best result is an eighth in South Korea in 2002. This time around in Brazil, they have been lumped into the “Group of Death” with Germany, Portugal and Ghana, but all is not lost for the Americans and here are three reasons why. 

Experience All Over The Field

Out of the top 10 in regards to appearances for the national team, two will go to Brazil after Landon Donovan (second, 156) was left off the final squad: DaMarcus Beasley (fifth, 114) and captain Clint Dempsey (tenth, 103; in case you were wondering, Cobi Jones leads the way with 164 caps). But Michael Bradley has 83 caps at just 26 years old and has played in Italy, England and Germany, which explains why he looks like a man among boys since joining Toronto FC’s midfield. Beasley leads the back four, and the last line of defense is keeper Tim Howard, who has been a #1 keeper at Manchester United and Everton for the last decade and has played in a number of European games, so the occasion will not overwhelm him: he could be the team’s best shot to make it out of the group stage. 

A Deep Forward Group

Donovan (57 goals) and Dempsey (36) are the top two all-time leading goal scorers in national team history, while Jozy Altidore is tied for sixth with 21 goals and even Chris Wondolowski has nine goals in just nine appearances. While the forwards will get some support from Bradley (12 goals) and potentially Beasley (17 goals), they have to carry the scoring load, although they will also have to get back and help because if the Americans launch a full-on offensive attack on Germany and Portugal, it could get messy. Dempsey will likely start, but it’s good to have a young guy like the 24-year-old Altidore to come on and run at the opposition after an hour, especially in a climate like Brazil has. Even with the omission of Donovan, who has struggled especially over the last two seasons, won’t be missed; the United States should be able to score up front. 

The Manager 

Jurgen Klinsmann was named the manager of the U.S. team in July 2011, replacing Bradley’s father Bob, ironically. Klinsmann has since won the CONCACAF Gold Club last year, and has gotten the team to two World Cups, which is pretty solid. He is also a man used to success as Klinsmann won the Bundesliga and two UEFA Cups as a player, along with the 1990 World Cup with Germany, whom he coached to third in 2006. Therein lies a subplot to this group: Klinsmann is a polarizing figure in Germany and he was let go of the national team as a manager because he commuted back and forth from the United States. You don’t think Klinsmann wouldn’t like to stick it to his former team by at least giving them a hard time when the two meet on June 26th in the final Group G match for both? Klinsmann is also slightly arrogant, which you almost need to be at this level and that could inspire the underdog Americans. 

World Cup Group Betting: Odds To Win Group G

Germany -200

Portugal +215

Ghana +1000

United States +1100