World Cup Group G Preview
By Grant Becker
Preview: Group G has been labeled as the 2014 ‘Group of Death’, which is one of many plotlines in this group. With the 2nd and 4th ranked teams in the world in Germany and Portugal headlining the group, things look bleak for a US squad with loads of upside and a Ghanaian squad that has impressed at the last two World Cups. Former German coach Jurgen Klinsmann will face off against his former partner in crime and successor when the US takes on Joachim Low and his Germany side. Ghana has eliminated the US from the last two World Cups, making their opening match even more dramatic. Portugal has Ballon D’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, but they may turn out to be one of the most overrated World Cup squads in recent memory (in terms of FIFA rankings). This group is set up to produce thriller after thriller, make sure to set your DVR.
Key Match: Portugal and the USA will play each other in their second match, but when the final whistle blows it could mean elimination for one of these proud nations. Even without Marco Reus the Germans look set to take the top spot in this group, meaning these two teams will likely slug it out for the other knockout round spot. The Portuguese have the star power but Freedom FC has depth in every position. This match will more than likely be decided by one swift kick, don’t miss it.
X-Factor: Joao Mouthinho is the man in the Portuguese side who provides CR7 with his opportunities. His contributions offensively and defensively dictate how far Portugal can go. Leo Messi learned it in 2010, and Ronaldinho learned it in 2006, one man cannot carry a team to a World Cup championship, if Ronaldo is going to get aid from a fellow countryman, it must be Joao Mouthinho.
Prediction: Germany 7, USA 5, Portugal 4, Ghana 1. USA and Germany will both open the group with statement wins. Then the US and Portugal will play to an epic draw while Germany clinches the division early and in style. The US will need just one point on the last day against Germany, putting all the pressure on Portugal. When all is said and done Germany won’t have a reason to go after the win and will settle for a draw, allowing the US in and sending Portugal packing.