Oh weekend, we meet again. I’ve missed your smile.
The “group of death” challenge falls on the United States and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited. There are two possible outcomes here: we shine on the world stage and become a favorite to win in the knockout round or we keep our reputation as an improving but not-yet-elite side. Legends are born out of adversity, and any group with Germany and Portugal is about as adverse as it gets. Add Ghana, the opponents who knocked us Yanks out of the South Africa World Cup in 2010, and we are probably expected to finish dead last. I assure you, we will not. Germany will be a tough opponent and here, I will settle for a draw. Even with a loss though and serving as the underdog in the match, we’re not out of our league with Portugal. We’ve beaten them in group play before (anyone remember 2002?) and we can summon that same magic, passion, and urgency again. The USMNT performs best under intense pressure, and we can prevail. The key will be to maintain our composure against a talented, yet inferior, Ghana side. If we pull off a tie or win against Portugal, we’re in the knockout phase. If we manage a tie with Germany in our final match of group play, we can win the group. I realize I’m being optimistic here, but some day the United States will bring home that trophy. I firmly believe that it could happen this time if we prove ourselves and emerge from what could be the most talented and difficult “group of death” in several cycles. Lets go, USA!