First Team To Advance: Germany
Second Team To Advance: United States
Teams Heading Home: Portugal, Ghana
Call me a homer, call me biased, but I honestly think the two teams to exit the “group of death” will be Germany and the United States. Let’s start with Germany... In terms of talent, Germany easily exceeds all other teams. Their midfield depth is remarkable, and their back five (including goalkeeper Manuel Neuer) is up there with Italy for the best in the tournament. My one concern for Germany is that they only have one true striker on the roster, and that is 36-year-old Miroslav Klose. The reality is, goals are going to have to come from the midfield, and I think Germany’s midfield is capable, with Ozil, Muller, Gotze, Kroos, Schurrle, and Podolski all being bonafide goal scoring threats. In my eyes, the battle for second is then between Portugal and the United States, as Ghana are certainly a good team, but a first game loss to the United States would pretty much mean the end for them. Portugal fans will disagree, but they do heavily rely on Cristiano Ronaldo, and if he is not in full form, they may be in trouble. They do have other solid player like Joao Moutinho, Nani, and Pepe, but none of those players can make up for a half-fit Ronaldo. Meanwhile, the US is in fantastic form right now, winning each of their three friendlies in impressive fashion. Jozy Altidore seems to have found his touch at the pivotal moment, and Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Graham Zusi, and Fabian Johnson all look formidable right now. The biggest problem for the United States right now will be the center back situation, but I believe that Besler and Cameroon will perform admirable at the position. In the pivotal Portgual vs. USA game, Portugal will likely hold more of the ball and have more chances, but I just don’t believe they will be able to finish them without a fully fit Cristiano Ronaldo, while the United States seems to be in great form in terms of finishing. My prediction for the leading goal scorer of Group F is Germany’s Lukas Podolski, while I expect Germany’s Mesut Ozil to lead the group in assists.