Dec 6, 2013, 3:46 PM EDT
As the United States prepares to take on Germany, Portugal, and Ghana in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup, we take a look around the globe at others’ reactions to what transpired today in Brazil.
The Portugese are an intriguing selection into the USMNT group. Their biggest weapon is obviously Ballon d’Or frontrunner Cristiano Ronaldo, but it’s not all they’ve got.
As a country that no doubt underachieved in European qualifying, squeaking past Sweden in the knockout stage, they’re a bit of an unknown come next summer.
Looking across the country’s reactions to the Group G draw, one thing is clear – they know what they got in opening round opponents Germany, and they’re not exactly excited about it.
Former FIFA Player of the Year winner and Portugese international Luis Figo was wary of Germany’s stature but remained cautiously optimistic.
“The strongest teams in the world are in this competition and it is always difficult to choose opponents,” Figo told the Portugese media. “We already knew we would probably end up with a theoretically stronger team, and we got Germany, but it is good to start against them. Everybody knows the quality of the German team, but have been happy in recent clashes and hopefully we can have another positive result.”
Figo did not consider Portugal’s loss to the United States in the 2002 World Cup to be a sign of things to come for his country against the US. “The moment is different and there are all conditions to be get a good result (against the United States),” he maintained.
Portugese manager Paulo Bento, however, kept his cards close to his chest and played confidence, telling BBC1 that, “We have the same ambition as we would in any group – to make it to the knockout round.”
He recalled a slim 1-0 loss to Germany in the most recent European Championships, using that as a positive to show Portugal can compete with the Germans.
Bento also called both the United States and Ghana “well organized teams” that the country should not take lightly.
Speaking before the draw, Cristiano Ronaldo told Spanish paper Brand he hoped they did not pull Germany. “Favorites win the World Cup are Spain, Brazil and Germany. Therefore would be best to avoid them at an early stage.”
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