Although most Americans probably felt that eating their lunch would be the most important thing to occur on their Friday, there were those few of us that had our eye either firmly on the live World Cup draw on TV or had their personal piece of technology tuned in to a draw-cast. As the teams started to be drawn into their groups, the football fan inside was extremely excited…the FIFA/Sepp Blatter hater inside giggled…and the USMNT fan inside started to weep uncontrollably.
We will start with the extremely excited football fan.
Spain and the Netherlands will have to recreate the 2010 WC Final within their group and with the current form of Robben and the slight fall-off of Spain, it could be massively intriguing. Suarez and co. will be loads of fun to watch as the entire hopes of England will be riding on Liverpool’s number seven not sending them home early. France got the easiest draw they could hope for, but that just means that if they fail it will be that much more epic. Messi will be the only thing worth watching in Group F, but if Argentina get on a roll then it could get quite interesting. Group H will allow everyone’s favorite dark-horse in Belgium to qualify rather easily and will scare any team that draws them in the knockout rounds.
Now, let’s cover the slight FIFA-hater that lives inside us all (and definitely inside me).
By having a crack-pot qualification seeding system and without acknowledging how difficult certain teams World Cup build-up was, FIFA and Sepp Blatter have created a few horrible situations in 2014. Although everyone loves a tough group, Group C/E/F/and H are laughable for the favorites in that group and the other groups will see one worthy team (probably) getting left by the wayside. On top of that, when Brazil finishes on top of Group A, they will have to face the second place team from Group B (most likely Spain or the Netherlands) and that will mean one of the biggest contenders and biggest draws in the competition will be sent home. We can only hope that Blatter is not mucking things up in 2018 as Russia will probably do a sufficient job of messing things up on its own.
Last, let’s talk about the inner USMNT fan that is now huddled in the corner.
Germany is an absolute powerhouse. Portugal does have moments of weakness, but CR7 is currently playing at a level where he could perform admirably in an 11 vs 1 situation. Ghana have knocked the US out in the last two World Cups and our defense always seems to struggle with their speed. These three teams scare me more than most others that the USMNT could have been paired against. Germany’s midfield can greatly outmatch our own and they have enough scoring talent to truly trouble Tim Howard’s goal. Portugal barely scraped into the World Cup, but they have talent to make a decent run and if Cristiano Ronaldo continues playing at this current level then nobody will keep the Madrid man at bay. Personally, Portugal houses our best chance at points in this group. As mentioned earlier, Ghana boasts a speed across the pitch that always troubles our team. History is always a terrible indicator and Ghana has proven to be our kryptonite for quite some time, meaning Ghana will probably break our hearts.
The World Cup draw always just gets me ready for the summer to arrive quickly, but another 6 months allowing the USMNT to prepare themselves won’t hurt. However, that’s another six months for me to worry about how quickly our team will get kicked to the curb. How did your team do from the draw? Which group do you find the most intriguing or which group do you think gets the “group of death” label?