It could seem like a long tournament with an early exit for the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup.
After drawing into a “group of death” that includes Germany and Portugal, the odds of the U.S. winning in Brazil have tumbled to 100-1, according to most sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.
In fact, the outlook is so bleak for the Americans that they sit tied with Ghana with odds of 6-5 to finish at the bottom of Group G.
Interestingly, the Americans’ unlucky draw may contribute to the squad’s back-and-forth trend of success and failure at the World Cup. In successive World Cups since 1990, the U.S. men's national team has alternated between elimination and advancement in the group stage.
The Americans’ greatest World Cup success came in 2002, when they reached the quarter-final before falling 1-0 to Germany. The U.S. followed up with a disappointing 25th-place finish in 2006 but managed to advance as far as the round of 16 in South Africa four years ago.
While the odds are clearly not in favor of the U.S., they have enjoyed success against the two powerhouses in Group G. Germany and Portugal sport odds of 5-9 and 5-2, respectively, to win the group.
Led by captain Clint Dempsey, the U.S. knocked off the Germans 4-3 in a 2013 friendly played before over 47,000 fans at a sold-out RFK Stadium. The win put an end to a three-game losing streak against Germany.
The U.S. has also won their last two meetings with Portugal. However, their last match against the Portuguese took place during the group stage of the 2002 World Cup, and the Portuguese have since emerged as a soccer giant, currently No. 3 in FIFA’s world rankings.
The U.S. are a 7-4 moneyline underdog in their group-stage opening match against Ghana, a squad they must defeat to have any chance of advancement. This will be the third consecutive World Cup in which the U.S. and Ghana have faced off.
Ghana recorded a 2-1 win to eliminate the U.S. men's national team in the round of 16 in 2010, and they defeated the Americans by the same score in group-stage play in 2006.
If the U.S. manages to earn second place in Group G, they would face the winner of Group H in the round of 16, which will likely be the youthful Belgians.
Belgium has some injury woes, but the squad dominated in its World Cup qualifying matches, rapidly ascending to No. 12 in FIFA’s rankings with odds of 18-1 to win its first World Cup title.