It's Football Season
I'm sitting here watching an international friendly between the United States and Germany and I have to say I'm getting pretty excited for World Cup 2006 this summer.
The United States had a great run in Korea and Japan four years ago when they advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to what was considered a vastly superior German team by a score of only 1-0. Four years later, the tables have turned to some extent. The United States will field its best team ever when the World Cup opens in June. In fact, just last week, the US achieved its highest ever FIFA ranking by climbing to 5th place in the world. The U.S. sits behind only Brazil, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, and Argentina in the latest rankings. Host nation Germany, on the other hand, fell out of the top 20 in those same rankings.
This is not to say that the U.S. will have an easy go of it this summer. They have been placed in what some consider to be the toughest group of the Tournament. Group E may very well earn the "Group of Death" moniker by including three of the world's Top 12 teams. The group comprised of #2 Czech Republic, #5 United States, and #12 Italy is also rounded out by a solid, if understrength, team from Ghana.
With the start of the MLS season coming up on April 1, now's a good time for Americans to get primed to cheer on our team this summer as we aim to shock the world and try to advance to our best finish since reaching the 1930 semifinals in a tournament that only had 13 teams.