From this point forward, the 32 best national soccer teams from around the world all meet in one place for the grandest, most prestigious platform of soccer known to mankind! Host nation, Brazil, kicked off the tournament yesterday in the first match against Croatia and handled them quite easily 3-1. Our precious United States team doesn’t play until Monday at 6pm/5pm CST.
The United States team starts our World Cup journey against their arch rival in the World Cup, the African nation Ghana. Ghana has had our number as of late. In the 2006 World Cup, Ghana eliminated the USA 2-1 in the Group stage, sending them home packing a bit earlier than we all would have wanted. With this new look American team, can they finally 4 years later get revenge? Mondays match will tell, and will also be a good indication of whats to come against the much more difficult opponents that still need to be faced. If Americans want a legitimate shot of making it out of the group, this game is a MUST WIN.
The next match versus Portugal will be very interesting. With Ronaldo’s knee injury and being arguably the best soccer player in world, at least top 2 for sure, his lack of health and/or possible absence would be a monumental factor to the outcome of the match. I’m excited to see what happen with not just our match but with Portugal’s first game against Germany to see how they handle the Ronaldo situation.
Last but certainly not least, Germany. Now, playing against any top 5 ranked team is huge regardless, however, its hard for me to predict the sheer importance of this game without knowing the results of the first two. Who we beat, lose, or tie to that point as well with who the other 3 teams beat, lose or tie to is definitely a factor to the importance of that game. Although, any smart soccer fan, American or not, knows the unlikely chances of USA beating Germany(BUT… as Chris Berman says “that’s why they play the game”). Maybe that’s the American in me hoping that we can pull off a “USA beating USSR in the Olympics” type miracle, but can you blame me? That’s the essence of the American spirit, never giving up no matter the odds stacked against you. It only succeeds once in a blue moon. Using the example I already used, the USA hockey team stunning USSR in the Olympics, or even in the Women’s World Cup last year against Brazil(yes, our women’s team were #1 in the world, but remember Brazil is another top 5 team). Losing by one and being down 1 man(or excuse me, 1 woman down) for pretty much the whole second half, and to keep scratching and clawing until Rapinoe served a gorgeous ball to Wambach on the back post, heading it in to tie the game in stoppage time. Stories like these prove that anything is possible, so maybe the Men’s team CAN pull it off. Even if its a long shot.
All I can say is I cant wait for Monday, 5pm. That’s when the journey truly starts.