What a great trip it has been so far. USA has managed to play through the touted “Group of Death” and now have a real chance for advancement into the next round. The Portugal game was a stunner, and the USMNT played well to fight back from an early mistake and take the lead. If not for a perfect cross from Ronaldo, we would not have to worry about this outcome. But before we get into that, here are the highlights from the last game:
There are 209 scenarios that can result from this matchup and none of them matter if the US wins or draws with the Germans. However, if we lose, it comes down to by how much and what happens in the Ghana v. Portugal game (which will be played at the same time).
Here are the simplest scenarios where the US does not advance:
If the US loses by 1 goal and Ghana wins by 2 or more.
If the US loses by 2 goals and Ghana wins by 1 or more.
If the US loses by 1 goal and Portugal wins by 4 or more.
There are a few scenarios where it could come to a coin toss decision…but I think ESPN will break if that happens, so I will ignore that for now. (Please, God, don’t let that happen.)
I covered the USMNT in an earlier post so let’s see what the German side brings.
Germany – Die Mannschaft (The Team)
Coach – Joachim Löw. Löw was brought into the national team as Klinsmann’s assistant in 2004 and eventually replaced him after the 2006 tournament. He is known for his ability to bring up young talent and make them work together in a system. He has yet to break through, but has finished 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd in the last 3 major tournaments.
Tournament history – 3-time winners in 1990, 1974, and 1954. Also reached finals in 2002, 1986, 1982 and 1966.
FIFA Ranking – #2
The Germans are the best team in football right now. Deadly and technical at every position and lots of depth on the bench. Most of the players on the team were involved in the last World Cup when Germany made a strong run and finished in 3rd place. They play with pace, are physical on the ball and can score from set pieces. All of the squad members play top-flight European soccer. Their goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, is the best player at the position right now and the midfield is dripping with quality.
It’s hard to image the US being able to withstand the German attack for all 90 minutes, but with the way that the USMNT has been playing, it is all on the table. A win would be the single greatest achievement in US Soccer history. A draw is more likely, but playing for a draw can have its own set of problems (see Italy’s last game). I think that, realistically, the Germans will pressure and attack and keep the game flowing, but there is history here between Klinsmann and Löw that may make the Germans want to win. The other side of the coin is that Klinnsman knows Löw very well and may be able to put a game plan together to prevent a loss. At the end of the day, I think that the Germans are going to score, and I hope the US can pull off some magic (with Portugal’s help) to keep the run going.