Because we refuse to be held hostage to the rule of ping-pong balls, we’re skipping ahead to Group G today. (We’ll loop back to E, F and H after.) Germany, Portugal, Ghana and the United States form an intimidating group; by the numbers it’ll be the toughest one in Brazil. Amongst the four teams, there are four different tiers of expectation: “Anything less than a trophy will be kind of disappointing.” (Germany); “Maybe we can catch lightning in a bottle while we have this guy.” (Portugal); “[eyes narrowing] Just get us back to where we were last time.” (Ghana); “It’s cool, the matches will get easier once we get to the knockout rounds.” (USA).
(As a US fan, I hold no illusions; it’s not looking overly easy for the boys in red, white and blue. One semi-silver lining: a victory over Ghana will feel great, even if they don’t progress. I expect that, and then draws against Germany and Portugal. That would give the US 5 points in this group, and I think that might just be enough. I say they’re going to be one of the two teams to survive this scrum. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.)
It’s a distinctive looking group, too. Let’s discuss.