1. The U.S. team is in the 'group of death'
All 32 national teams in the first stage of the 2014 World Cup have been divided into eight groups of four teams, and the U.S. team will compete in the 'group of death'. Group G owes its name to several of the international soccer competition's most formidable teams: Germany, Portugal and Ghana, which put an end to the U.S. team's run in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The African team has the easiest draw in Group G, as reported by Vox. FIFA ranks the U.S. 13th in the world, and Ghana 37th. The hard hitters of the group of death are Portugal, ranked 4th, and Germany, ranked 2nd.
2. The U.S. is undefeated in its warm-up matches
The U.S. still has some bite though.
It was undefeated in three warm-up games leading up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The team defeated the Azerbaijani national team 2-0, the Turkish national team 2-1 and the Nigerian national team 2-1. FIFA ranks Azerbaijan 83rd in the world, Turkey 35th and Nigeria 44th.
3. The U.S. is experienced
The U.S. owes its success in the warm-up games to several factors, including a number of players who have played or are currently playing in the European leagues. The U.S. team's lineup against Nigeria in its warm-up match on June 7 featured nine players who have been successful in Europe, according to Bleacher Report.
U.S. team captain Clint Dempsey has played for both the Fulham Football Club and the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in the English Premier League over the course of seven years. Dempsey was named the 2012 Soccer Male Athlete of the year thrice, and he has also set the record for the most goals scored by an American in the league at 57.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard has played for Everton Football Club over the last eight years. Howard also played for Manchester United for three years.
Other players with ties to the European leagues include Michael Bradley, DeMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Jozy Altidore and Alejandro Bedoya.
4. The U.S. team has used an attack-focused diamond formation
The U.S. team has used a 4-4-2 diamond formation in its warm-up matches, and USA Today reports that the strategy is focused on attacking and ball possession. USA Today explains that the strategy is made up of four defenders, four midfielders and two strikers. The diamond removes the two outside midfielders in favor of four central midfielders.
However, critics have said that the diamond formation leaves a lot of space on the team's flanks. Players such as Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo may take advantage of this weakness to attack on the outside of the field.
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