With the World Cup just around the corner (OK, like a really big corner), we’ll be taking some time every Friday to investigate the best ball-kickers (it’s a technical term, don’t worry about it) of each World Cup group. Today, the Group of Death: Group G!
(Photo: George Holland / Landov)
Our hometown heroes were shown no mercy by the World Cup Gods, being drawn into arguably the toughest group going to Brazil. The good news is it’s going to be just as tough for the other countries to advance. The US is anchored by the experienced fleet of guys like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley, but the new guard – including defenders Matt Besler and Fabian Johnson, as well as wunderkind Julian Green (who may not be developed enough to get field time yet) - will have to show that they are up for a big task in Brazil. Former German (and current US) coach Jürgen Klinsmann taking on his old squad, as well Ghana, which has eliminated the Americans from the last two World Cups, make this group heavy on the storylines.
Former Jürgen Klinsmann assistant Joachim Löw has headed up the team since Klinsmann’s exit in 2006, and has brought the team success, but has consistently fallen one or two matches short of finishing the job. The pressure is on for the team to bring home Germany’s first Cup since 1990, especially since players like Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Manuel Neuer, and Bastian Schweinsteiger will all be on the wrong side of 30 when the next World Cup rolls around. Hell, World Cup scoring machine Miroslav Klose is closer to 40 than 30 right now.
Everyone in this group is truly capable of going through to the knockout stage, but points from Ghana might be ripe for the picking. The team was 2010’s Cinderella story, cut short only by a cruel Luis Suarez handball in the quarters. Their star midfielder Michael Essien is 31, and the team’s form has dipped, though to be fair they were dealing with injuries. Ghana might have the toughest road out of the group.
Not that you needed any convincing, but Cristiano Ronaldo scoring four goals in the playoff against Sweden demonstrates that the guy is really excited about the World Cup. Honestly, there are some other people on this team, but as long as Ronaldo keeps doing shit like this, we don’t care about anything else.
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