Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of the US Men’s National Team, has gone on record as saying the US can not win this World Cup. While that may be the case, don’t tell that to the millions of United States supporters who will be logging onto their computer and finding any available television to catch some of the matches over the next month.
The US had their best finish in 1930, losing in the semi-finals against Uruguay. This year the hope and expectations rely on getting through the “Group of Death”. A rough random draw that has landed the home team with a brutal 9000 mile+ travel schedule to play their three games in various climates and temperatures. The US will open play against Ghana on Monday, the team that has eliminated them the past two World Cups. After that, next Sunday, they will face the best player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. The final first round match doesn’t get any easier. They will face Germany, one of the heavy favorites to win the World Cup. Klinsmann led Germany to the cup in 1990 as a player and then took them to the semi-finals as a coach in 2006.
So what are the keys to victory and advancing?
The top two teams from each group (8 groups A-H), will advance to the 16-team knockout stage and single elimination. Most likely, the US will need at least one win and a tie to hope to advance.
Ghana is the key. The US must find a way to earn three points with a victory over Ghana. The Black Stars have been a thorn in the US side for the past two world cups, eliminating them in both. Once in the knockout stage and once in the final game of the first round.