USMNT: Should the Yanks Be Rooting for a Group of Death Draw?

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USMNT: Should the Yanks Be Rooting for a Group of Death Draw?
Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Being drawn in the Group of Death at any major tournament is something that is not seen as a positive, but for the United States men's national team, it just might be. 

Ever since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as manager of the Yanks in 2011, he has scheduled a multitude of difficult opponents to prepare his team for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. 

Over the last two years, European powerhouses Belgium, Germany, Italy and Bosnia-Herzegovina have lined up against Klinsmann's men, and for the most part, the Yanks have held their own. 

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
The Yanks fell to Belgium back in May.

With that in mind, why should American fans root for a group that sees the Yanks featured alongside Switzerland, Algeria and Greece? Being paired with sides thought to be lesser than the traditional powers will not help the United States develop further as a team in Brazil. 

If the Yanks do get drawn in that very favorable group, they will be expected to make the round of 16, where they will face opposition that has been battle-tested in much tougher groups already in Brazil. 

For the United States to be taken seriously by the rest of the world in Brazil next summer, they will have to be lined up against the strongest opposition possible. 

With that being said, the United States should be rooting for a Group of Death draw against the likes of Brazil, Ghana or the Ivory Coast, and either France, Italy or Holland. 

As the host country, Brazil will have immense pressure to succeed and lift the Jules Rimet Trophy at the tournament's end, which is something that the Americans could take advantage of. 

Klinsmann has instilled a never-say-die attitude, and he has become the living version of the saying, "To be the best, you must beat the best." Beating arguably the best team at the tournament in the first match of a potentially grueling Group A would make a statement to the world instantly. 

The team that every American fan has their eyes on in Pot 2 is Ghana, who has been the Achilles' heel to the United States in the last decade. Repaying the Black Stars for defeats at the last two World Cups with a win over them in the hardest World Cup group would leave a sweet taste in the mouths of everyone in the American camp. 

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If they do not draw Ghana, the Americans should want to face either the Ivory Coast or whichever European nation is drawn into the pot with the unseeded South American and African nations. 

The Ivory Coast always brings a strong team to the World Cup. They would give the Yanks a tough test in the group stage, which is something Klinsmann's squad should be looking for during every game in Brazil.

Then there is Pot 4, which carries a few dangerous nations regardless of who falls into Pot 2. 

Between Italy, France and Holland, there are three very strong opponents that would go into their match with the United States as favorites.

The United States did beat Italy back in Genoa in 2012, while France and Holland have not encountered Klinsmann's new-look Yanks.

Holland, a perpetual underachiever in the last decade except for the 2010 World Cup, should be able to score goals at will in the group stage. Having a team like the Oranje face a still-makeshift American back four would be the ultimate test of resilience in Brazil. 

Italy's duo of Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy would also cause plenty of havoc when it comes to defending from the American perspective, and so would France with whatever attacking combination they put out on the pitch.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Balotelli and El Shaarawy would give the American defense fits if they are drawn against each other.

Playing games against the best possible opponent has been a trademark of the Klinsmann era when it comes to friendlies. So why not apply that strategy now to the World Cup as the Yanks look to prove they are for real?

If the United States gets drawn against lesser opposition and advances far in the tournament, they will not gain respect. But if they get out of the Group of Death alive, they will not only earn plenty of respect, but they will also become a better team in the future because of it. 

 

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90. 

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