World Cup Preview

Matt Whalen, Opinions Editor

Once every four years, a very special summer comes around. This summer in Brazil, people all over the world will sit on the edge of their seats as they watch their heroes play in the world’s most popular sport. Athletes from all corners of the Earth will proudly represent their countries on the grandest stage. And while everyone is doing all of these things, Americans will pretend to support their national team, regardless of the fact that they probably can’t name more than five players on the team.

The 2014 World Cup is going to be held in perhaps the most soccer-crazy country on the planet, Brazil. Thirty-two teams make it to the final stage where they are split into eight groups (four teams in each group). Each team will play each other once and the teams that finish in the top two spots in each group move on. The groups follow a table system: teams get three points for a win, one for a draw, and zero for a loss. Tiebreakers are settled depending on how many goals a team scores and concede.

This tournament, the United States team, the USMNT, affectionately known as “The Yanks,” were drawn into what is called “The Group of Death.” The group consists of Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. Germany is a team many believe will win the whole tournament. Portugal is a well put-together team led by Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the best players in world football. The last team, Ghana, is a team that knocked the U.S out of the last World Cup and a team we’ve never beaten. For a team full of struggling players, it may be a rough World Cup for the boys in red, white, and blue, but there are some upsides.

The USMNT is coming off of one of their most successful years. Captain Clint Dempsey has had a great start this MLS season with the Seattle Sounders. Although Jozy Altidore hasn’t scored for Sunderland in the BPL, he’s been firing on all cylinders for the national team. Michael Bradley is back, better, and balder than ever. There’s plenty of reasons to be excited for this World Cup, so try something new and cheer on the Yanks.