The worst fears of soccer fans around the country were realized on Friday morning as the United States was drawn into arguably the toughest group at the 2014 Fifa World Cup with perennial European powerhouses Germany and Portugal as well as recent World Cup foe Ghana.
"Obviously it's one of the most difficult groups in the whole draw having Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo and then Ghana who has a history with the United States it couldn't get any more difficult or any bigger," U.S. Soccer Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann told ESPN after the draw. "But that's what a World Cup is about. It's a real challenge and we'll take it. We'll take it on and hopefully we're going to surprise some people there."
The schedule is certainly a daunting one for the United States who begin the World Cup journey on Monday, June 16 in their third-straight World Cup matchup against Ghana in Natal. From there, they'll travel across the country into the Amazon where they'll face Portugal in Manaus on Sunday, June 22. The final match of the group stage is back on the coast against German in Recife on Thursday, June 26.
Among the other highlights of Friday's FIFA World Cup draw include a 2010 World Cup final rematch between Netherlands and Spain in Salvador on June 13. The opening match of the tournament is on Thursday, June 12 as Brazil hosts Croatia in Sao Paulo while Mexico and Brazil will face off in Fortaleza on Tuesday, June 17 in what will be another of the biggest matches in the group stage.
The month-long tournament culminates in the final on July 13 at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.