After much anticipation around the world, the draw for the 2014 World Cup was announced on Friday. The field of 32, which will play in 12 different locations across Brazil, features eight groups of four teams.
Based on a composite ranking of each group utilizing the FIFA World Rankings at the time of the draw, Team USA received the most difficult draw. The USMNT has been slotted with Germany, Portugal and Ghana, none of which are ranked lower than 24.
The tournament will kick off on June 12 and conclude on July 13.
Following are 10 interesting facts to get you prepared for the world’s biggest dance.
- Team USA has met Germany once in the group stage in 1998, losing 2-0. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann scored one of the goals.
- This will mark the third straight World Cup that Team USA has met Ghana in the World Cup. The USMNT is 0-2 in the contests.
- Team USA has previously played everyone in their group in the World Cup, even upsetting Portugal in 2002.
- Soccer Power Index odds to advance for Team USA’s group: Germany 91.8%, Portugal 40.2%, USMNT 39.3%, Ghana 28.8%.
- Team USA will have the worst travel schedule, being forced to travel 9,000+ miles in between matches.
- Germany is the only team in the group with a World Cup title. The Germans have three: 1954, 1974, 1990.
- Team USA opens the tournament against Ghana, who eliminated the USMNT in the round of 16 in the last World Cup.
- Germany has the most World Cup appearances at 17, the first coming in 1934.
- Since the inception of FIFA’s Ballon d’Or, given to the world’s best soccer player, in 2010, Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo has finished runner-up twice to Argentina’s Lionel Messi (2011, 2012). Prior to Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo won the FIFA World Player of the Year title in 2008, edging out Messi. He finished runner up to Messi for the FIFA WPOY title in 2009.
- Team USA has appeared in nine World Cups. The best finish was third in 1930.