U.S. Dealt Tough Hand in World Cup Draw
The US Men's Soccer Team came into yesterday's World Cup Draw ranked 8th in the world and hoping for a somewhat easier path through the first round than they have encountered in past World Cups. Instead, the US landed in arguably the toughest group, with three of the four teams ranked in the Top 12 in the World. The US was placed in Group E along with 2nd-ranked Czech Republic and 12th-ranked Italy. The fourth team in Group E is Ghana, who should not be overlooked.
Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl is already calling Group E this year's "Group of Death," which is a moniker attached to the toughest draw in each World Cup. I happen to agree with Wahl, and the difficulty is magnified by the fact that the runner-up in Group E could end up playing defending Cup Champ Brazil in the second round. In other words, if this is truly going to be the year that the US proves it belongs on the World Cup stage, they are going to have to topple some giants to do it.
The US' first 2006 World Cup match will be against the Czechs on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen.