Group G is shaping up to be one of the toughest in the World Cup after Germany, Ghana, the United States and Portugal were all put together. It was always going to be a tough one in terms of travel, with the fourth team in the group having the longest travel of any team in the tournament -- that went to the U.S. -- and it was made even tougher by a stacked group. Ghana, the U.S. and Portugal are all arguably the best teams from their pots and Germany is a possible World Cup winner.
Germany are third favorites to win the World Cup behind Brazil and Spain so they are huge favorites to win this group. They are hardly a settled team right now, but it's for a pretty envious reason: They have too much talent. Jogi Löw still has to figure out which of his world class players are better than his other world class players, but however he sorts it out, the Germans will have no problem with their group an will spend their time in Brazil more focused on the knockout stages.
Portugal didn't win their qualifying group, but Cristiano Ronaldo almost single-handedly put them into the World Cup with four goals in the playoff against Sweden. They're going to need a similarly fantastic performance from him in Brazil, but he is certainly capable of it and he has a fair bit of help with the likes of Joao Moutinho and Pepe. It's been a while since Portugal played to their talent, though. Will they in Brazil?
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The United States has been knocked out of the World Cup by Ghana in each of the last two tournaments and they will get their chance for revenge in the first match of this year's World Cup. With Portugal and Germany looming in their next two matches, they need to get at least a point from the Ghanians and probably need four by the time they head into their finale against the Germans. That's not an easy task, but it's possible considering their improved form in the last 18 months and the recent struggles of Portugal and Ghana. They may not be favorites to advance, but they can.
Ghana may be one of the best teams in Africa, but they haven't been at their best in a while. The aging of Michael Essien, as well as injuries and lack of form by some of their stars have left them vulnerable. Ghana have stepped up in the last two World Cups and pulled it together when it counts so if they do that, they can definitely make their way out of the group, but that's a big ask.
If matches are won in the midfield, as is so often said, there may not be a better man to have in your team than Bastian Schweinsteiger. The German can play as a deep holder, where he tackles and distributes from deep with the best in the world, or he can push forward and and create goals as a pseudo No. 10. You would be hard-pressed to find a more versatile or better midfielder than Schweinsteiger. The only thing that could stop him is injuries. Cristiano Ronaldo is obviously the best player, but what else is there to say about him besides "HOLY $&*%" so Schweinsteiger will do.
It's rather ridiculous to call a player who starred for a team that made the Champions League final and now plays for Bayern Munich an "emerging star," but Mario Götze is that. He's already fantastic, but his potential is so great that he can still get much, much better. He has a tough lineup to crack with Germany, where the likes of Mesut Özil, Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller are all in starting places, but Götze is good enough to play his way into the starting Xi and even if he doesn't, he may be the best bench player in Brazil.
The first match of the group will see Germany play Portugal on June 6 in Salvador and it should be a treat. Even if Portugal don't win, and they are long shots to do so, seeing Ronaldo go up against a team as good as Germany will be a treat. Right now, he is undoubtedly the best player in the world and with him on one end and Ozil, Kroos, Muller, Gotze and Klose on the other will be as good as it gets.