Teams: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States
Liverpool Players: None
Ah, Group G, the crown jewel of 2014 World Cup groups. Every single game here is a must watch and while the presence of four capable teams shoots the nerves of many supporters, we should also feel fortunate at the level of entertainment being served to us on a platter.
German forward Marco Reus has been ruled out of the World Cup with an ankle injury. How much does that news hinder Germany's chances of winning it all?
Germany can still win the World Cup, but Reus is an electric forward who would have given them elite pace at the head of their attack. Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski lack Reus' burst, but they tend to play well in international tournaments so Germany will still have some solid options at striker. Success for the Germans has always come from an outstanding midfield anyways, and this year's midfield is one of their best ever. (Dan)
Marco's a big miss for them. A big one. But as Dan said, they could still win it. They have Andre Schuerle and Mario Gotze who provide pace, and while neither like Reus's, they still can provide a nice foil to the power of Klose or Podolski (JAceKopite16)
It hurts, but I don't think any team out there is more equipped to handle an injury like this better than Germany. They are too good to let this derail them. Their roster is full of players who are known for playing on a whole new level when wearing that German shirt, and they are still more than capable of winning the whole thing. (blunatic)
Is the US toast or can they miraculously reach the knockout stage?
They're unlikely to progress, and any expectation to the contrary is just wishful thinking. But while they shouldn't find success, that doesn't mean they can't. This American bunch strikes me as a cohesive team, and perhaps their togetherness paired with intelligent tactics can give them a fighting chance against Ghana and Portugal. (Dan)
We need a draw against one team and a win against another. My best guess would be against Ghana and Portugal. Do I see it happening? No. But if our lads, particularly Bradley and Deuce, are on form, you never know. (JAceKopite16)
I won't lie, it's pretty unlikely. As much as I want to believe they can advance, I just have a hard time seeing it. I do believe there is a lot of fight in this team though, and I think they are capable of a big upset. If the defense plays like they did in the last 3 friendlies, advancing is out of the question, but if they can play well, then maybe there's a chance. (blunatic)
Related to the previous question, can the United States finally defeat Ghana?
They could have beaten Ghana in 2010 but fell painfully short in extra time, and this game should be similarly close. It's hard to see the US winning this one though simply because unlike 2010, there doesn't have to be a victor and therefore the play style will be less desperate. Ghana cannot afford to lose, and they're good enough not to, but a draw wouldn't be a shocking outcome. (Dan)
A draw wouldn't be the worst result, but Ghana are the team we need to beat if we think we can get out of the group. So I don't think Jurgen will waste any time making that known. Again, will it happen? Probably not. But we'll see. (JAceKopite16)
Like I said on the last question, everything depends on the defense. If the defense puts it together and plays well, a win against Ghana is definitely doable. If they can beat Ghana, their confidence will be sky high and they might actually have a chance to get out of this group. (blunatic)
Can Portugal pull together and finally play to their potential, or will this be another quick exit for Cristiano Ronaldo and Co?
This draw was harsh on the Portuguese as well, and just getting past the group stage will prove a challenge. Aside from Ronaldo, Portugal are a pretty mediocre side without the midfield muscle to combat the engines of teams like Germany. But equipped with Ronaldo, a man of superhuman ability, it's hard to definitively count Portugal out, although it's equally difficult to envision them lasting all that long. (Dan)
Nah, that whole side's had a decent season at club level. I definitely can see them getting to a semi, though not to the final. Everyone's freaking out over Cristiano having an injury. I think it's a ploy. (JAceKopite16)
I don't really believe much in Portugal's team. They have some good players, but they don't impress me much. The one thing they do have going for them is that an on form Ronaldo is good enough to drag this team to victor against most teams by himself. He should be enough to get them out of the group at the very least, but if he struggles, Portugal will be going home early. (blunatic)
Which player's performance will have the biggest influence on the outcome of this group?
I could give you a hipster answer like Jordan Ayew but no one in this group has as much weight on his shoulders or as much talent as Ronaldo. (Dan)
Ronaldo, for the reason Dan stated. The man has the weight of the world on his shoulders, and I would feel for him if he didn't perform best in exactly that environment. (JAceKopite16)
It's unanimous. It has to be Ronaldo. There's no team in this World Cup that is more dependent on one player than Portugal. If they do well, it will be because he plays well, and if they falter, it will be because he is struggling. (blunatic)
Which Group G matchup are you most excited for?
All of them. I will not discriminate. (Dan)
This group is as tasty as Ice Cream on a hot day in July. I agree with Dan. While this isn't the group of death in my opinion, you still have 2 world powerhouses, a team that's notorious for never giving up, and that sides' bogey team. It's every betting man's dream, if I were to bet. (JAceKopite16)
I'm genuinely excited about watching every single match in this group. No result will be really shocking, and every game looks to be entertaining. If I had to pick one match though, it's USA v Ghana. I'm ready to see if this US team can finally get some revenge on Ghana. (blunatic)
Reveal your bias! Which team(s) in this group are you pulling for or rooting against?
As a 'merican, it's impossible not to root for my country despite being a dedicated contrarian. (Dan)
Okay. Let me say this clearly, I will be rooting for the US. Hardcore. However, I am resigned to the fact that we probably won't get out of the group. I am also rooting for Germany. I always root for Germany in tournaments anyway, but don't worry, my love for all things German will not overlap into America's final match. I will support the US there. And if by some stretch, we do make it out alive, of course, I'll still be supporting them. (JAceKopite16)
I will also be cheering for the US of course, but I will also be rooting for Germany to do well. They are an exciting team and I would like to see them go pretty far. (blunatic)