Germany, Portugal and Ghana Stand in Way of USA World Cup Glory
NEW YORK (TheStreet) - The U.S. men's national soccer team has drawn Germany, Portugal and Ghana for the opening round of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
At first glance, the team will compete in one of the toughest group stage pairings, Group G, facing off against top ranked squads in Europe and Africa.
Team USA will square off against Germany, the second-ranked nation as of the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings along with a Portuguese side led the dynamic Cristiano Ronaldo and a well-respected team from Ghana. Portugal and Ghana are ranked fifth and 24th in the world, respectively.
The U.S. national team is currently ranked 14th after posting a record-long 12-game winning streak in 2013 amid World Cup qualifiers and international friendlies. Team USA finished atop its World Cup qualifying group, CONCACAF, finishing ahead of other qualifiers Costa Rica, Honduras and Mexico.Stars on the US team are likely to include Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore, AZ Alkmaar's Aron Johannsson, Roma midfielder Michael Bradley, Seattle Sounders star Clint Dempsey, Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones, Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron and Everton goalie Tim Howard.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, a former star of the German national team, has yet to decide on a final roster, and just what roles he'll assign players such as Landon Donovan, Terrence Boyd of Rapid Vienna, John Anthony Brooks of Hetha Berlin and Alejandro Bedoya of Nantes.
The final U.S. World Cup roster will hinge on players on-field execution through mid-2014. Players competing for roster spots will close out the year on teams in the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga, Italy's Serie A, the Dutch Eredivisie, France's Ligue 1 and Major League Soccer, among others.
Bayern Munich's teenage prospect Julian Green remains a bit of a wild card for Group G as U.S. and German fans await a decision on which national team the forward will settle upon.
The U.S. men's national soccer team have appeared in the last six World Cup's and advanced out of Group Stages in 1994, 2002 and 2010. In 2002, the U.S. team made it to the quarterfinals where they lost to Germany, 1-2. Ghana eliminated the U.S. team from the knockout stages of the 2010 World Cup. Other international successes for the U.S. team include reaching the finals of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, where they lost to Brazil 3-2 in the final after beating teams as strong as Spain. The U.S. isn't the only team that will face stiff competition in each of its Group Stage matches in the 2014 World Cup. Group B will include Spain, the 2010 World Cup champions, in addition to the Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Group D also looks to be extremely competitive with Uruguay, Costa Rica, England and Italy all set to square off against each other. Weak groups appear to be Group E, which contains Switzerland, Ecuador, France and Honduras, and Group H, which contains Belgium, Algeria, Russia and Korea. --Written by Antoine Gara in New York
An earlier version of this story misstated the United States' group stage as Group H. They are in Group G. Follow @antoineGara
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