In learning of the Team USA’s position in the so-called “Group of Death,” Las Vegas oddsmakers made it clear the Americans were a long shot to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Team USA Coach Jürgen Klinsmann and his squad faced 100-1 odds of going all the way, according to most Vegas sportsbooks, but the Americans were also picked as the team most likely to perish in the group that included Germany, Portugal, and Ghana.
It was a tough spot for the U.S. squad to make its move on the world football stage, but the men’s team managed to put up four points and advance following a 1-0 loss to Germany. Against those steep odds, here are five things that allowed the American team to survive the Group of Death and make it to the knockout rounds.
1. Germany’s blowout of Portugal.
To borrow a phrase from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Germany “got nasty” with Portugal in the opening match. By the time it was over, the Germans had dispatched their European rivals 4-0. Thomas Müller had a hat trick for “Die Mannschaft,” the team with a nickname that sounds as formidable as it appeared against the Portuguese.
Germany had a quick response for everything Portugal attempted in this match and, by the time it was over, the Group of Death had its first massacre. Thankfully for Team USA, one of its group rivals dug an early hole from which it would never emerge.