Unfortunately for the United States, its chances appear slim to advance from what’s been deemed the “Group of Death.”
Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad could certainly win its June 16 group-play opener against Ghana, but, as we know from matches against Ghana in 2006 and 2010, that’s easier said than done. It gets only tougher from there, as the Portuguese and star forward Cristiano Ronaldo awaits on June 22, with Germany, Klinsmann’s former team, looming four days later.
Expect Germany and Portugal to advance from Group G, their head-to-head match on June 16 obviously proving crucial in determining which comes out of the group in first. Brazil (Group A), Spain (Group B) and Argentina (Group F) are Shoo-ins to advance, too. Although it’s in the same group as Spain, the Netherlands should reach the Round of 16.
Once deep into the tournament, those teams will be difficult to top. Germany, with striker Miroslav Klose and midfielders Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil, is really dangerous. As are defending champion Spain and 2010 runner-up Netherlands. And you can never count out Lionel Messi and Argentina, playing on South American soil.
But in the end, Brazil, with Neymar, Thiago Silva, David Luiz and a crucial home-pitch advantage, will prevail to win its sixth World Cup and first since 2002.