Posted 2013/12/06 by matthewsf in Uncategorized. 83 Comments
We got this.
Germany, Ghana, United States and Portugal.
Group of Holy F!
Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/12/06 at 10:26 AM
We’re Ghana have to make a meal of them Porkchops to make it thru….see what I did there?))
Posted by aztri81 on 2013/12/06 at 10:27 AM
Rut roh, Shaggy.
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/06 at 10:33 AM
How do you say ‘early bath’ in Portuguese?!
Posted by D on 2013/12/06 at 5:14 PM
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/06 at 11:45 PM
Didn’t know the WC was being played in Italy.
Posted by Paul on 2013/12/06 at 5:23 PM
Great idea, George! I think the BBC could use some filler when England goes out after losing to Uruguay and Italy. All those highlights of 1966 are getting rather old…
Posted by kaya on 2013/12/06 at 11:53 PM
You guys… LOL. I have to admit, I thought his point was about losing to Portugal at first, too, more than in the national language of Brazil.
Posted by WatertownMA on 2013/12/09 at 8:25 AM
Um banho mais cedo para nossos amigos de Portugal e Ghana.
Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/12/06 at 10:34 AM
Think 2002 thoughts….Landooooo….Landooooo…..
I think Klinsi can break the Ghana hex (is Ricardo Clark still on the roster somewhere?) and Portugal is a notorious underperformer in big tournaments. Steal one from them and hope that you draw Germany for your last game after they’ve qualified and squeeze a draw from them utilizing Klinsi’s superior grasp of the nuances of the Teutonic game and his photos of Lowe and Michael Ballack in compromising locker room embrace.
There’s my in depth analysis….if you want I have heat maps from Ballack/Lowe and some extraordinarily detailed Pareto diagrams based on Alexi Lalas’ comments from random appearances over the last 12 months…
Posted by Dare2Dream on 2013/12/06 at 10:53 AM
The silver lining in this is that if we miraculously won the group, it’s a very soft path to the semis (and unfortunately a likely date with Brazil).
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/07 at 11:59 AM
Second place is a realistic target [but never say never!]. In that scenario, I believe you’d most likely face Belgium in the Last 16, and Argentina in the QF.
If the US are going to progress, they’re going to have to do it the hard way…
Posted by Adrian Garza (@agarza34) on 2013/12/06 at 10:55 AM
While I don’t like the group we are in, Jurgen knows Germany (doesn’t mean we’ll win but he’ll know how to play and attack them), Portugal has always been an up and down team never really living up to the hype and so if we play our best that game can be won, then there is Ghana… our nemesis moreso than Mexico. I feel that game will be won because if there is any game the US should win it is this one!
The bigger question is will this change Jurgen’s thinking on possible players that will make the squad. For example, we are going to play 3 very long and athletic teams with very creative players like Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, Max Kruse and Muller of Germany, Gyan & Muntari of Ghana. So does a players like Beckerman, Brad Davis, Castillo (inferring that maybe F. Johnson does move back to LB due to this group of teams), Kljestan, or Evans become major question marks, moreso then before?
To solidify the wings, does Castillo, Evans or Parkhurst really make sense over F. Johnson moving back to LB, Lichaj or Dolo or Chandler getting another looksee. Last I checked, our backline is already suspect so why not help the CBs by adding/moving better LB/RB options. I don’t mind Castillo or Evans but I cringe at even a thought of them two having to defend Muller, Ronaldo or Podolski. Right now at RB, Cameron looks better every game he plays in EPL (same type of talent we’ll see at WC2014 from these teams).
Posted by Kevin_H on 2013/12/06 at 11:26 AM
Fullbacks of Cameron and Johnson sound OK to me, with Evans, Beasley, and perhaps Lichaj/Cherundolo as backups. If Johnson gets more playing time as a LB, both our full backs will potentially have good experience defending against world class talent. Make it happen, Klinsmann, and no more tinkering with the backline!!
Posted by giantleap4 on 2013/12/06 at 12:47 PM
excellent comments adrian. i’m in agreement with u all over the park (except on castillo). an additional note, given the distances we’ll travel and also the heat and humidity we’ll face, depth will be especially vital. i’d love to see a healthy cherundolo on the team.
Posted by aztri81 on 2013/12/06 at 4:21 PM
Damn, Adrian. Well thought out analysis. Now I regret my “Rut roh, Shaggy” comment above.
See any use for a Brek Shea on the team in consideration of the draw for the US in group play? Still think the US could use a wild card on the team to bring in off the bench.
Posted by D on 2013/12/06 at 5:17 PM
I think there is more need for an in-form Shea now more than ever. After 70 minutes in the Amazon jungle, I would love to sub in Brek to gallop down the vulnerable wing of Portugal.
Posted by SamT on 2013/12/06 at 11:28 AM
Fortune smiled on the sports writers with this group. On the team, not so much.
Posted by Adrian Garza (@agarza34) on 2013/12/06 at 11:45 AM
Read this: “The United States will play Ghana, Portugal and Germany in what looks to be the toughest group. Making their seventh straight World Cup appearance, the Americans were drawn into Group G and will open on June 16 in Natal against Ghana, who eliminated the Americans from the last two World Cups. With the longest travel schedule of any World Cup team at almost 9,000 miles, the U.S. meet Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo on June 22 in the Amazon rainforest city of Manaus. The Americans close their group on June 26 in Recife against Germany, who beat the U.S. in their 2002 quarterfinal meeting. None of the previous seven World Cups held in the Americas, starting with the first edition in Uruguay in 1930, was won by a European team. ” Per Associated Press on ESPN web link: http://espnfc.com/news/story/_/id/1639444/fifa-sets-groups-2014-world-cup-draw?cc=5901
Now, something else we will need to consider is weather. Brazil will be hot and all I’ve read was no one wanted to play in Manaus (in the Amazon!) but we will play vs. Portugal there. So consider this, F. Johnson hasn’t finished many games this WC qualifying cycle and its been suggested he doesn’t like the heat in Central America/US. We know he’s going but his backup will need to be ready to play so depth for US will be important. Most MLS players will not have a problem since they’ve played in the summers of US (still different but 100 degree is 100 degrees be it in Amazon or Houston/Dallas Texas!). German-Americans may have some issues including Aron Johannson from ICELAND. Personally, I doubt this will be considered much but if a player is not playing regularly in Jan-March with club team like say… Shea or even Dolo… I’m not so sure they’ll make the cut because 1) they are not at prime conditioning (important to JK) and 2) the heat will only make it worse for those not in game shape.
I am really intrigued on what who will make the cut. We all know about 15 or 18 but its those “others” plus our depth “chart” that we need to know. Have to be ready if someone goes down or accident like Davies last WC.
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/06 at 12:02 PM
That was the first thing I thought about – chasing Ronaldo & Co around Manaus at 4pm local time with average temperatures 90F with +80% humidity.
Posted by D on 2013/12/06 at 5:20 PM
I’d like to see what Ronaldo looks like after 65 minutes of running in that temperature too. Running into men of Gonzalez size, when your sweltering in that heat, is never fun.
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/07 at 7:22 AM
Yeah, but it might boil down to who can keep possession of the ball better in this heat – I couldn’t imagine doing an aggressive, high press for most of the game [which BTW is why I’m not looking forward to England vs. Italy in Manaus]. Just keep control of those lazy lunges around the box giving away free kicks to you-know-who as limbs tire – yes, I’m looking at you, Mr. Jones.
Posted by aztri81 on 2013/12/06 at 4:23 PM
Just noticed your analysis on Shea… thanks!
Posted by Eiffel on 2013/12/09 at 8:40 AM
Travel may not be an issue for most of the USA players. MLS has long travel stints and if anything it may help because European teams will not be used to the travel as much as the Von Trapps.
Weather will affect everyone and CR7, Mertesacker, et al will also have to face the temperatures as well.
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/10 at 8:01 AM
Which is why keeping the ball is important. Have you ever played in extreme heat? I can tell you, you use much more energy trying to get the ball back…
Posted by Steve Fenn @SoccerStatHunt on 2013/12/06 at 12:32 PM
The US can take Ghana. The biggest 2 piece of counter-evidence are 4 and 8 years old now.
That Portugal game is absolutely the key. I don’t think the US should be favored in that match, but they have a respectable chance of getting a draw or even a win.
Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/12/06 at 1:12 PM
Did you see what Ghana did to Egypt in the 1st leg when it mattered or what their U20 team did to our U20 team at the U20 WC?
We can not beat them unless they beat themselves. However, they often do that so there is that hope and sometimes Portugal just does not come to play aggressively.
Posted by Alex Song on 2013/12/06 at 1:33 PM
The USA is a lot better than Egypt right now tbh.
You know what Ghana is all about. Incredible athletic ability. Suspect composure and soccer skill. They’re like the very rich man’s version of Jamaica. They barely beat us 4 years ago and we’re a better team now IMO. We can beat them. Gyan is dangerous and they always have speed at their disposal, but outside of KPB they don’t have any great technical attacking players. We have a bit of an edge there with Altidore, Dempsey, AJ, and Donovan IMO.
Posted by Theo Sakyi @TKSakyi on 2013/12/06 at 4:23 PM
Muntari is good technically.So are Kwadwo Asamoah,Ayew ,Atsu, KBP and Wakaso. The US don’t have much of an edge there.
Posted by matthewsf on 2013/12/06 at 4:53 PM
Ghana–if I have this right–have been a little leaky at the back through qualifying or do I have that wrong.
I do think that the ordering of team’s in terms of strength is:
I do think the US has a decent shot at Portugal if Jermaine Jones plays within himself and protects the right-central channel. Puncher’s chance there.
This is a tough draw and it probably comes down to team defense, because the US will know it’s not going to get a lot of attacking opportunities through 3 games.
Posted by Theo Sakyi @TKSakyi on 2013/12/06 at 5:04 PM
Yep you’re right, I’m a Ghanaian by the way. Our coach is poor , won’t be surprised if we end up last with -9 goal difference.
Posted by schmutzdeck on 2013/12/06 at 8:19 PM
The irony of Ghana being in the US’ group is that I wonder if Egypt had beaten them would they have been in the US’ group?
BB vs US? JK vs Germany and Jogi? Makes you wonder about draws rigged for maximum drama.
Posted by Kevin S on 2013/12/07 at 7:51 AM
I disagree with that last paragraph. Sure team defense is always of utmost importance, but the US will get chances none of these teams are going to going to control possession from start to finish. Not even Germany. I think we’ve shown, albeit in friendlies, that we can hang with all three of these teams on offense. We have to continue to play our game which is no longer the Bob-Bradley-Rope-a-Dope.
I don’t think a result against any of these teams is out of the question. It won’t be easy, but its about time we break that inferiority complex.
Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/12/07 at 11:24 AM
What about that Kid who played left attacking wing in the U20 WC and made the best 11l WC team?
He was simply unstoppable regardless of the opposing team.
I hope they deem him too young to bring up because he is and will be a bloody nightmare regardless of the competitive level.
Best young winger I have seen since that hair obsessed guy from Madeira.
Posted by Paul on 2013/12/09 at 10:27 AM
Uhhh…it would be nice to have a name here. If you are referring to Moses Odjer, he has only played for the Ghana U-20 side. I cannot find any caps for him on the international side, although his name has been brought up in terms of signing from his local Ghana club to bigger names in Europe. In other words, it doesn’t look like we’ll be facing him in Brazil. Generally, U 20 results take a while to trickle up to full international play. (As many Mexico fans have seen.)
You haven’t provided any information that makes Ghana the clear favorite against the US. Both teams will field the same attackers from the 2014 game; the issue will be how both defenses play. If you want predictions, I would encourage you to look at ESPN’s SPI index. Stop posting needless worries without providing reasons to justify your fears.
Posted by Paul on 2013/12/09 at 10:40 AM
Clifford Aboagye and Ebenezer Assifuah were two of the other stars for Ghana at the U-20 World Cup. Both of them have experience with the U-20 side rather than the full international squad. Again, U-20 talent takes a while to filter up into the full national team, unless the player is already starting on a decent European squad. If Ghana was full of players like Paul Pogba, there would be serious reason to worry that Ghana’s youth could factor into the game against the US. However, this does not seem to be the case; at most, perhaps these U-20 players make the bench and are subs against the US.
Posted by schmutzdeck on 2013/12/06 at 8:25 PM
Ghana have not won a game outside of Africa since 2010.
Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/12/06 at 1:00 PM
Bright Side you ask?????
1. Well at least our squad will have less time to exposed to Dengue Fever
2. If we do manage by some miracle somehow to get out to 2nd round no one can ever say anything bad about us or level of play again.
3. That is all I can think of
Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/12/06 at 1:08 PM
PS – This is the worst possible scenario because we just do not have the big athletic types to compete with the raw speed combined with skill of these 3 national sides. Very bad match up wise the whole way around.
Just being a realist here. We be better off vs. virtually any other 3 national teams except Brazil and Holland.
Posted by giantleap4 on 2013/12/06 at 1:43 PM
A word of caution on all the doom & gloom. It’s easy to get caught up in the pedigree of the glamour nations and assume that that class will show itself. But who would’ve thought both France and Italy would finish last in their groups in ’10? That Cameroon would be Argentina in 1990? Or a US team full of college kids would only lose 1-0 in Rome to the Italians at the ’90 Cup?
The point is that anything can happen and usually does. I’m bullish on the US in this group. Not to win it but an even shot for second place.
To quote a bad man:
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”
Posted by Paula on 2013/12/06 at 1:57 PM
Deployed in a non-military action context, it seems like one can finally appreciate the poetry.
So, yeah … bad group. However, the general expectation that we’re not making it out will mean that I don’t have to feel like my guts are getting squeezed for 2 weeks straight. I just want good effort, and smart play — getting into the Round of 16 will be a nice extra.
However, see above quote for why thinking like this is still BS.
Posted by kaya on 2013/12/06 at 1:45 PM
We’re going to play like it’s 2002 and dispel the ghost of the Hand of Frings. It’s time to break the bad Ghana mojo.
On the other hand, I’m also convinced that FIFA is spearheading a massive conspiracy against us. 3 days until Germany after playing in Manaus… even the schedule is complete BS.
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/06 at 2:45 PM
You have 3 games in 10 days – Monday 16th, Sunday 22nd and Thursday 26th. That’s pretty normal for tournament football!
I know there is a lot of doom and gloom out there, but I honestly feel there is more parity between Ghana, Portugal and US than many people think. It’s going to be hard as there no easy game, but I believe the US have a decent shot at getting some points against Ghana and Portugal and finishing 2nd.
Posted by D on 2013/12/06 at 5:27 PM
Yep, This will be a very difficult group for everyone, no easy games. But, its the World Cup in Brazil and its not supposed to be easy. I’m actually excited, this should be a fun summer!
Posted by kaya on 2013/12/07 at 12:04 AM
I was kind of joking about the massive conspiracy theory. The travel/temperature/3 day turnaround, not so much. That is BS.
But yeah, even my Frenchy relatives have serious doubts about how they always end up in awesome groups. I definitely don’t think we’re on the FIFA Friends shortlist. They certainly aren’t on mine.
Posted by AdamFromMich on 2013/12/09 at 11:29 AM
The turnaround between the 2nd and 3rd games will be tough, but (like you said) normal for a tournament. The key for the US will be making sure they don’t need a win in the last game.
As far as the massive conspiracy theory goes, you’d expect an even worse draw for England — although it’s already bad. The US may not be on the FIFA friends list, but England have to be on their enemies list.
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/10 at 7:56 AM
It is a shame that Blatter hates England. But I am proud of Andrew Jennings and Panorama in attempting to highlight their scandalous corruption, rather than turn a blind eye to it.
Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/12/06 at 5:23 PM
I completely agree kaya- completely and totally agree. That SOB Blatter is ticked because we do not line his pockets baja la mesa (under the table) like everyone else.
(Qatar- what other world sport could that happen in?)
Posted by FellainisFro on 2013/12/06 at 3:51 PM
My first reaction at seeing our Group was Triple Crap and the feeling of dying a little bit inside this morning. Especially after seeing the Group of Ease with Ecuador, Honduras, Switzerland and France. WTF?
After some reflection I see opportunity in this group and this World Cup in general. If we beat Ghana, tie Portugal and lose to Germany it could come to goal differential between us and Portugal if Germany beats Portugal and Portugal ties Ghana. One of several possibilities that has us moving forward into knockout stages. So as Lloyd said in Dumb and Dumber when told there was a 1 in a million chance to date his dream girl. “So your saying there is a chance.”
Honestly a lot of us on here have been following Shin Guardian and eachother’s posts for four years now after the last World Cup in 2010. We have all enjoyed the high’s and low’s of the last four years and I for one believe that it is time to change out the little boy pants and put on our big boy pants when it comes to International Soccer. I’m with Klinsi. Bring it on….
Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/12/06 at 5:19 PM
A word to the wise…… if Cherundolo is healthy and match fit he plays 90 minutes every match – no debate, no argument NADA!!!!!
He is the best, most consistent,most professional outside back this country has ever produced.
Why anyone else would think differently is beyond my comprehension.
Posted by D on 2013/12/06 at 5:34 PM
True, our outside backs will be the key to our success in this Cup. But, I think Fabian and Eric Lichaj are way better answers than Beasley and Evans. I think the next 6 months will be a lot of fun, deciding who will be going to the jungle together.
Posted by seamusbklyn on 2013/12/06 at 6:07 PM
Speed is why. It’s been awhile since Cherundolo played on the national team it seems, but he’s looked very slow the last outings I saw. I am a big fan of his, and like his positioning, experience, crossing, etc., but he’ll be consistently burned in 2014. I don’t want to watch Ghana, Germany and Portugal smoking down the right side all afternoon. Bring him, ok, but FJ is a better option at right back this cycle.
Posted by s44 on 2013/12/08 at 10:03 AM
Eddie Pope was the best, most consistent, most professional defender the country has ever produced.
He still failed as an older man.
Dolo is not just old, but old recovering from a leg injury. He shouldn’t be on the plane, and won’t.
Posted by WatertownMA on 2013/12/09 at 8:29 AM
Agree. I wish the speculation of Cherondolo would just end. He lost a step. He grew older. He’s having injury issues. It happens. We can still love the memory of what he was and how effective he use to be up the wing. But, he shouldn’t be part of any WC2014 conversation (as a potential roster spot).
Posted by Ufficio on 2013/12/09 at 11:38 AM
I wouldn’t go quite that far. If and when he wins back a starting spot and Hanover, he’s in the discussion.
Posted by giantleap4 on 2013/12/06 at 6:56 PM
WHY BEING IN A GROUP OF DEATH CAN BE A GOOD THING….
Because everyone has a chance of getting a result against everyone else. And for a good but not great US side, that can create chaos which allows us to slip thru.
For example… let’s say the US were drawn into a group with two great sides and one mediocre side i.e. Spain/Holland/Australia. The US’s “expected” win vs Australia would mean nothing since both Spain and Holland would surely thrash the Socceroos, padding their goal differential in the process.
The US would then need to BEAT either a Holland or Spain to go thru since a tie would put us at 4 points. At best, this would put us level with Holland or Spain where we’d most likely lose on goal differential.
So we get Ghana instead of Algeria? Actually a blessing in disguise.
Posted by D on 2013/12/06 at 7:59 PM
I’m In. Let’s get em’
Posted by Gregorio on 2013/12/06 at 9:12 PM
Ok I havent been here is eons but I must state that these will be our finest hours. We shall beat Ghana, Beat Portugal and tie Germany. We shall be a surprise and then we all shall be pissed because all the bandwagon jumpers who will walk around with Clint jerseys or flock around the water-cooler stating that “Jozy is a beast”
Posted by D on 2013/12/06 at 9:41 PM
Yes! Because Jozy was a beast 4 years ago when he was 20? He is a man now, and will be scoring some goals this summer. The Equator heat won’t be bothering him.
Posted by AdamFromMich on 2013/12/09 at 11:20 AM
Wow, I’d be happy with 5 points, if the US gets 7 points out of this group then I’ll be so delirious I’ll greet any bandwagon jumpers as long-lost (and rich) relatives! That’s assuming I’m not too drunk/hungover to find the water-cooler.
Posted by Matt on 2013/12/07 at 6:21 AM
Group G are the Usual Suspects. Sepp Blatter works for Keyser Söze. Although, it is very dangerous and he does not expect all of us to live…we should go for the $91 million. It will be epic.
Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/12/07 at 11:30 AM
I wish Jozy had never left Holland for footballing reasons although I understand( and would have done the same thing) for the money.
Sunderland is damaging his scoring confidence although his hold up play has improved greatly. The question is who does he dish off to?
Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/12/07 at 11:34 AM
BY THE WAY………………A QUESTION TO ALL:
Who is going to Europe on loan during the upcoming window on our national team besides the Donovan to Everton rumor?
Man does Dempsey need to go or what?
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/07 at 11:47 AM
I think I read that he has it in his contract to be allowed to go on loan this off-season if he wants to. Might be a good opportunity to rest up though?
Posted by CJ on 2013/12/10 at 12:19 PM
In regards to resting up, I don’t think so with Donovan’s success in the last Cup as evidence. These guys can rest and be average form wise or they can be slightly fatigued and in top form from playing top competition. I’d take the latter as I feel playing against world class opposing defenses is what made Dempsey deadly in the last 5 or so years and is also what sharpened Donovan up.
In addition I feel like anyone in a 2nd rate league such as Diskerud should be strongly considering a move if they want to not only secure a seat overseas, but also to contend for minutes.
Posted by CJ on 2013/12/10 at 12:26 PM
I feel compelled to remind anyone who reads this comment that some rest will be afforded to anyone in MLS looking to go to the Premier League. Their Winter Transfer Window is 1/1-1/31. The MLS Final was 12/7. That’s 3-7 weeks rest or at least without a match. Preferably late pickups would be best, I’d think, or maybe the 4-5 week mark so form doesn’t drop too much.
Posted by Ufficio on 2013/12/07 at 7:11 PM
Tough, but we’re going to have to navigate these type of groups if we want to be legitimate contenders for a cup at some point. Neither Portugal nor Ghana are teams stacked with world-beaters, (though Portugal has one, which is more than we can say right now).
Posted by chris_thebassplayer on 2013/12/08 at 2:43 AM
We need to take care of business, but I think Germany will be our guardian angel. Hopefully they go for the jugular against Portugal and Ghana and are already through prior to the last game with us.
I think we play Ghana cautiously and tie in a very difficult game and go for broke late against Portugal…crash the box, bring out the gimp, whatever it takes for the win. Hopefully the game with Germany is a brotherly love mellow stroll to a tie.
Through the friendlies, Gold Cup and Hex we never had an opportunity to see the complete full side in action. I think JK is keeping a few elements under wraps…he won’t show full performance until he absolutely needs to. I think we’re going to see some very nice stuff from the boys. But if all else fails, I’ll take solace in the fact that if our backs are against the wall we have more offensive talent than previous teams to bring late game pressure.
Posted by CJ on 2013/12/08 at 9:50 AM
Before, I think I was a bit critical of Klinsmann for trying out so many different combinations of players and not allowing the two CBs and the two CMs to really get a consistent feel for each other. Now, looking back he couldn’t have done anything better in preparing us for the number of subs that the humidity will cause us to use.
I also believe it will be difficult to deploy the same starting squad more than twice due to that exhaustion and also due to the tactical changes necessary to compete with the opponents we’ve been drawn against. There’s just no way we can see our two centerbacks and center midfielders being the same 4 starters all 270 minutes. I would venture to say we could easily see up 8 different players in those 4 spots between starting duties and substitutions over those 3 games.
Bradley, Jones, klejstan, Diskerud, Holden
Besler, Brooks, Gonzo, Cameron
Posted by Gregorio on 2013/12/08 at 7:11 PM
I must same after not being on here in a while , I miss the misguided devoid of fact ramblings of dikranovich but I’m sure the novelty would wear off after a paragraph or a sentence or two.
Anyway back to the USMNT, although my wife says I’m overly critical and negative I must state the dichotomy that I am in that I believe we will do well this world cup. We will make it to the next round, we shall exorcise the Ghana demons, and then shock the nay-sayers by beating Portugal and tie or lose to Germany 1-0. The dark horse Mixx will make a name for himself. And Jonathan Brooks (who went 90 today) will be on the plane and perhaps make a WC appearance. But my prognosticating disclaimer is that I once stated that Robbie Rogers would be a star, and I didn’t mean in the fashion world.
Posted by gino744 on 2013/12/09 at 1:28 AM
OK, I’ve been chomping at the bit to get on here but family obligations have prevented me until now. First, when I saw our group Friday morning I was way bummed. Upon reflection, I’m not thrilled but I feel glass half full again. Here’s why:
Since 1982, when the World Cup Finals expanded to 24 teams (32 teams in 1998) Africa hasn’t had more than one country advance to the last 16. Granted, they only had two teams qualify for the Finals in ’82, ’86, and ’90 and three in ’94. However, from ’98 through 2010 they had five teams qualify (actually six in ’10 because South Africa hosted the tournament)) and still have never had more than one team advance from the Group Stage. That’s a 23% success rate during that time frame, the worst of all confederations except Oceania. My point is that for all the hoopla about African teams and their talent, they underachieve in the World Cup worse than Spain did before their golden generation. Yeah, Ghana has beaten the US in the last two WC’s but that’s irrelevant now because those matches were three and seven years ago. For all their attacking talent, they’re vulnerable defensively.
Should the Nats beat Ghana and Germany beat Portugal in their first game, then Portugal will have to push for a result in their second game. The Nats don’t have anybody in CR9’s class but after him Portugal’s talent levels out close to USA’s. Win or tie here and the last game against Germany isn’t necessarily a must win. And if Germany beat Ghana in their second game and they’ll most likely take their foot off the pedal and protect their carded players in the matchup with the US.
I’m not saying I’m confident of the results but if we don’t believe in chances, then why bother showing up?
Posted by Tom Patton on 2013/12/11 at 5:24 PM
OK- let’s not show up in protest due to Brazil’s inability to guarantee our team’s safety and Seth Blatter’s Swiss Bank account courtesy of Qatar & Russia among other overt dirty dealings
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/16 at 10:43 AM
Will Spurs go for Klinsmann — I wonder what release clause in his contract?
Posted by schmutzdeck on 2013/12/17 at 11:04 AM
What possible advantage for jK would there be in taking the Spurs job?
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/19 at 8:28 AM
I know his life in sunny California is not too shabby. But the lure of managing one of the best clubs in Europe, in the best city in the world? *If* offered to him, I think he would be tempted.
Posted by giantleap4 on 2013/12/19 at 1:41 PM
well…not one of the best clubs in europe but the club with the best potential in europe 😉 as so it’s been for the past decade it seems.
Posted by schmutzdeck on 2013/12/19 at 1:48 PM
“best clubs”??? A little hyperbolic wouldn’t you say?
When was the last time they qualifed for the Champions League?
We’re not talking Alan Gilzean, Jimmy Greaves and Mike England here.
JK might be tempted but if he wants to leave the USMNT he could probably do better. The Spurs job is a poisoned chalice.
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/20 at 10:21 AM
Tottenham might not be a ‘G14’ club – I’d say that these were the very elite. But considering Spurs are playing in a league where the country coefficient ranking is very high… and they consistently finish in a UEFA Cup spot. I’d say theyire in the top 5-7 percentile.
“When was the last time they qualifed for the Champions League?” I believe BATE, Celtic & Olympiacos [to name a few] qualify most seasons, but I wouldn’t say that they were better than Spurs. And I believe Spurs ‘qualified’ last season, only for Chelsea to win the competition and finish outside the Top 4, replacing them.
Funny how in the summer of 2012 when a certain Mr. Dempsey was transferred to Tottenham, people considered them to be a top club. Just saying…
Posted by schmutzdeck on 2013/12/23 at 6:29 PM
Almost doesn’t count.
Let me qualify what I wrote earlier. When was the last time Spurs did anything worthy of note in Europe? That would have been the 2010 quarterfinals when they lost 5-0 on aggregate to Real Madrid. Before that you have to go back to the 80’s. And the last honor they won, of any kind, was the 2008 League Cup.
To be called one of the best clubs in Europe, I think you need more than that.
Spurs are a fine club, a big club with a lot of history and tradition, plenty of supporters and a number of good players, but that also describes Newcastle, for example. And the odds of Spurs winning anything other than the odd domestic cup or even qualifying for Europe any time soon are pretty slim.
Calling them currently “one of the best clubs in Europe” is pretty debatable.
Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/12/30 at 8:59 AM
First of all, [if you celebrate] I hope you had a Merry Christmas.
“To be called one of the best clubs in Europe, I think you need more than that.” *You* may think that, which is fine – but as usual, your Orwellian opinions are misplaced.
Not sure how many professional football clubs are in Europe, but there are probably 50+ football associations within UEFA – with most with multiple divisions.
I would say that it is not too far fetched to say that Tottenham are in the top 5-7 percentile. Therefore, by definition, I think calling them one of the best clubs in Europe is not wildly inaccurate. I concede that they are not one of Europe’s elite teams, I think we can all agree on that.
Have a wonderful New Year, Sir.
Rt. Hon. George Cross
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