U.S. Grouped With Powerhouse Germany in World Cup 2014 Draw

Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann will face the country he once managed and won a cup with as a player.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke holds the ticket of England during the draw ceremony for the 2014 soccer World Cup in Costa do Sauipe near Salvador, Brazil, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
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Soccer's governing body, Fifa, Friday set the groups in which countries will compete for the World Cup to be held next year in football-crazed Brazil, with the United States in a group that includes perennial power Germany.

That will pit current U.S. team manager Jurgen Klinsmann, against his old team, Ghana and Portugal in Group G. Klinsmann was a striker on the German team that won in 1990 and later managed the team to a third-place finish in 2006. He has been rebuilding the U.S. team around speed and youth.

"We are no underdogs," he told ESPN2 moments after the draw.

Brazil is joined by Mexico, Cameroon and Croatia in Group A. Brazil will face Croatia in the opening game on June 12. Brazilian legend Pele spoke of his country's chances at the ceremony that also featured French midfield legend Zinedine Zidane.

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"I really trust Brazil very much, I think they will be in the final," Pele said. "I will never forget the 1950 World Cup final in Brazil when I saw my dad crying as the home nation lost."

Spain, winner of the 2010 cup, has Chile, Australia and the Netherlands, which lost to Spain in the last cup final, in Group B.

Often the World Cup features a "group of death" in which top countries find themselves pitted against each other in the first, or group round. But this time, there may be more than one such group. Italy and Uruguay, for example, are both former cup winners now grouped together in Group D along with Costa Rica and England, a team that won in 1966 but has underperformed of late. Spain's group has three strong teams.

And as well as facing Germany, the U.S. will be up against Portugal, led by Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the two best players in the game, the other being Argentina's Lionel Messi. Argentina, also a former winner, is in Group F with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria. That might be the most politically interesting of the lot.

Still, each group offers its own particular dynamic.

"You cannot underestimate Uruguay with the strikers that they have," Roberto Martinez, manager of English Premier League side Everton, told BBC Sport. "They are a strong force to be reckoned with."

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No country outside South America has won a World Cup held on that continent and Brazil has won more cups than other country, taking home five.

The World Cup is sport's premier global event. In many countries, work comes to a standstill when the national teams are playing. In England, for example, people trek to the local pub and quaff pints. In Brazil, they dance in the streets.

Sometimes, though, matters turn violent. In 1994, following his own goal in a match, Colombian player Andres Escobar was murdered.

The 2014 World Cup runs from June 12 to July 13.

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