2014 World Cup Draw: USA in Group of Death with Germany, Portugal, Ghana – Schedule, times, venues

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After breezing through qualification to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, it couldn’t have got any tougher for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side following the World Cup draw in Brazil on Friday.

The U.S. national team were drawn in a “Group of Death” scenario, alongside European giants Germany and Portugal, plus their old foes Ghana joining them in Group G, as Klinsmann’s men were handed a tough draw.

MORE: LIVE WORLD CUP DRAW – AS IT HAPPENED

USMNT will face Ghana in their first group game in Natal on June 16, before traveling to the Amazon rainforest and playing Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in Manaus on June 22. The ‘Nats will then finish their group stage off with a tricky test against Klinsmann’s home nation, and the side he won the World Cup with back in 1990, Germany in Recife on June 26.

The draw in Group G will also strain the USA in terms of travel as they will rack up over 8,800 miles in their three group games. Of course the MLS players in the squad are used to traveling long distances more than most. But this huge amount upheaval across the vast nation of Brazil will make the task even harder for the USA to get out of Group G and make it to the last 16.

SOCCERLY.COM: DOES THE U.S. HAVE A CHANCE?

Below is the schedule for the World Cup Group G matches, as the USA face some mouth-watering matches in South America.

FULL GROUP DRAW

Group A: Brazil, Cameroon, Mexico, Croatia
Group B: Spain, Chile, Australia, Netherlands
Group C: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece
Group D: Uruguay, Italy, Costa Rica, England
Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras, France
Group F: Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Group G: Germany, Ghana, United States, Portugal
Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Korea Republic, Russia

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA

Fixture schedule

16 June 13:00 Salvador Germany v     Portgual
16 June 18:00 Natal Ghana v          USA
21 June 15:00 Fortaleza Germany v       Ghana
22 June 15:00 Manaus USA v     Portugal
26 June 12:00 Recife USA v    Germany
26 June 12:00 Brasilia Portugal v        Ghana

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VIDEO: Gerrard’s juggle and finish leads Liverpool legends past Real Madrid

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Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.

The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).

[ MORE: Under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.

Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.

On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).

Ozil bristles at talk of Arsenal selling him

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Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.

The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.

[ MORE: Under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

Ozil was not called up by Germany, and has missed four of his last nine Premier League matches. Three of those were for illness, and he missed last week’s loss to West Brom with a hamstring injury.

From Metro:

“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.

“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”

Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.

Sydney FC clinches first place in A-League

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SYDNEY (AP) After clinching first place in Australia’s A-League without taking the field, Sydney FC enhanced its record achievement with a 3-0 win over the Perth Glory on Sunday.

Sydney FC won the Premiers Plate as regular-season champions after the second-place Melbourne Victory lost 1-0 to Brisbane on Saturday, when Sydney had a night off.

The Brisbane win left Sydney with an unassailable 11-point lead in first place with three rounds to play.

[ MORE: An under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

The Sydney side also created some history: it became the only team to have remained in outright first position in the standings for an entire season.

In the other match Sunday, the Wellington Phoenix beat Newcastle 5-0 to remain within five points of sixth-place Western Sydney for the final playoff spot.

Walking Dead? Star fittingly sees Exeter’s implausible comeback (video)

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As Rick Grimes, actor Andrew Lincoln regularly battles the undead on his show “The Walking Dead”.

As a friend of Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale, Lincoln was probably pretty happy to watch a team that would not die.

Exeter went down 3-0 when Yeovil Town broke a scoreless drought with a trio of tallies between the 62nd and 78th minutes.

[ MORE: An under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

But Exeter’s David Wheeler scored in the 88th minute, and Troy Brown and Reuben Reid scored a minute apart at the beginning of stoppage time to earn a point for the League Two playoff hopeful.

Couple things on this video, too:

— Check out the shove on the goalkeeper when trying to collect the ball after the first goal of the fight back.

— Watch the man with his baby behind the net after the third goal. Did Mom know how safe her little one was?