The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

November 21, 2013

World Cup crystal ball: 10 predictions for Brazil

(Continued)

PANEL: 10 of 14 agree.

DOMENECH: Agrees. Not getting beyond the last 16 "is their habit."

___

WILL THE UNITED STATES REACH THE QUARTERS? No. That's happened just once, in 2002. The U.S. team got no further than the group stage in 1990, 1998 and 2006 and the last 16 in 1994 and 2010. Notwithstanding the improving quality of Major League Soccer, players of fine ability including midfielder Landon Donovan and forward Clint Dempsey and the leadership of former Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the US team won't get beyond the last 16, or before that if the draw is unfavorable. Despite qualifying top from North and Central America and the Caribbean, the U.S. isn't seeded for Dec. 6. That means it is bound to draw host Brazil or another top-ranked team and possibly other difficult opponents, too. By columnist John Leicester.

PANEL: Large majority — 11 of 14 — agree. "The U.S. don't have the talent or the stability/continuity to get that far" — Sam Tighe, Bleacher Report, United States.

DOMENECH: Disagrees. Believes United States will reach the quarterfinals. "I've always found them to be well organized at the World Cup. Their matches are generally tight. I would have liked them to beat the Italians in 2006, that would have helped me out." (The two sides drew 1-1 in the group stage).

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