Group of Death? Nope. It’s Worse Than That

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Tracy A Woodward / Washington Post / Getty Images

Fans watch as Ghana scores second goal in second half of their World Cup game agains the United States on June 26, 2010.

Oh Ghana, not again. For the last two World Cups, the road to the semifinals for the United States went through Ghana. And it’s been a dead end. In South Africa in 2010, the U.S. surrendered a goal in extra time to lose 2-1 in the second round. In Germany in 2006, the U.S. got punched out of the group stage 2-1 by Ghana, courtesy of a penalty call that was as mysterious as the Higgs Boson.

And facing their nemesis isn’t the worst news coming out of the World Cup draw for the U.S. After Ghana, the U.S. plays Portugal, which merely has one of the best players on earth to call on, Cristiano Ronaldo. And he will be banging on goalkeeper Tim Howard’s door. Then, the U.S. plays Germany in Manaus, the most undesirable of the Cup cities given its location in the steamy Amazon.

The U.S.-Germany matchup is an intriguing one given that current U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was the head man at Germany for the 2006 World Cup and won the world championship as a player in 1990. Klinsmann has spent the last year running the U.S. up against tough European teams to prepare his squad for the this kind of draw. But he might not have imagined it would be this. “It’s one of the most difficult groups in the whole draw,” he said. “It couldn’t get any more difficult or any bigger. But that’s what the World Cup is all about.”

Can you say Group of Death?

(MORE: World Cup Draw Goes Forward, But Host Brazil Lags Behind)