With the World Cup on the horizon, GrandstandU’s Path to the World Cup coverage continues with Group G, nicknamed “The Group of Death” as it includes Germany, Portugal, the United States and Ghana.
Germany: Die Mannschaft is a strong contender to win World Cup with class players, who play for elite European teams, in every position. Head coach Joachim Loew has plenty of flexibility in terms of choosing his starting lineup. Germany plays fast, attacks aggressively and they have few weaknesses. The most glaring is an inconsistent defense that was exposed in a few friendlies.And although Sami Khedira is returning from injury, Germany lost a crucial player in Marco Reus during the friendly with Armenia. Reus, a key midfielder with a history of success in Borussia Dortmund, possesses the three key elements that would’ve helped the German side much more – pace, versatility and his ability to score from a distance. Die Mannschaft will advance to the next round in first place with the hardest fight coming from Portugal. Some key players to look out for are Thomas Muller, who has a unique goal instinct and intelligent movement, and Miroslav Klose, a veteran looking to set an example for the rest of the team.
Portugal: The Portuguese earned their World Cup bid after defeating Sweden in what was essentially an elimination game for Portugal. Germany should be Portugal’s biggest challenge as the German attack can punch through a vulnerable Portuguese midfield. If Portugal wants to advance, its midfield must become more consistent and prove up to supporting the attack or defense as necessary. Ranked fourth just behind Brazil in FIFA’s pre-World Cup rankings, Portugal is well positioned to advance. If the Portuguese do so, it will be due to the efforts of the world’s best player Cristiano Ronaldo, who has had a fantastic season with Real Madrid and Portugal. Not everything has been uphill, however, as he is currently suffering from an injury. Portugal’s success relies on the health of Ronaldo.
United States: The U.S. men’s team qualified themselves after winning the hexagonal group stage only to draw one of the hardest groups in the tournament. In order to advance to the next round, the U.S. must face some familiar teams, including one which includes the world’s best player. At the moment, the U.S. will likely not advance as Germany and Portugal have been playing better more consistently. The U.S. currently lacks a strong, consistent defense, overall consistency and an elite playmaker. Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey are dangerous as a duo, with Bradley in the midfield and Dempsey at striker, but both will need to raise their game to push the U.S. into the Group of 16.
Ghana: Ghana qualified for the World Cup after thrashing Egypt. Building on its success in the 2010 World Cup will be nearly impossible considering Ghana sits at the bottom of the Group of Death. A talented midfield can’t mask Ghana’s inconsistency. Some key players to watch for are Michael Essien, a very effective midfielder, and Kwadwo Asamoah, who has had a fantastic season with Juventus. Even club manager Antonio Conte has described Asamoah as irreplaceable as he is effective and brings a lot of energy to the field. Nevertheless, Ghana could be a dark horse in future World Cups. Just not this one.
Winner of Group G: Germany – will play runner-up of Group H
Runner-up of Group G: Portugal – will play winner of Group H
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|World Cup – Group E Schedule|
|Monday, June 16, 2014||Germany||Portugal||11:00 a.m.||ESPN|
|Monday, June 16, 2014||Ghana||USA||5:00 p.m.||ESPN|
|Saturday, June 21, 2014||Germany||Ghana||2:00 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sunday, June 22, 2014||USA||Portugal||5:00 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thursday, June 26, 2014||USA||Germany||3:00 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thursday, June 26, 2014||Portugal||Ghana||3:00 p.m.||ESPN2|