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The USMNT has just taken its fourth major hit in recent months. In today’s fixture between Fulham and Blackburn, Clint Dempsey had to come off the field in the 62nd minute with a suspected knee ligament injury. The prognosis is not good. Fulham manager Roy Hodgson had this to say: “Clint will be scanned on Monday but we feel it might be a posterior cruciate knee ligament which would be very bad for us and he would be out for a while.”
Long-term injuries to Clint Dempsey, Charlie Davies, Oguchi Onyewu, and Jermaine Jones have cast a dark cloud over a World Cup campaign filled with such promise after a strong showing at the 2009 Confederations Cup. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for tomorrow’s scan–the US can’t afford to take too many more hits to its already thin crop of forwards. Updates will be posted when available.
I scrambled to get that post about the draw out earlier, so I thought I’d come back after sitting on it for a while and offer a few more post-draw thoughts.
-I don’t think the US could have asked for a much better draw than the one they got. And yes, I am including the possibility of drawing South Africa. Just look what happened to Mexico. They drew South Africa, followed by the best possible draw from Pot 3, Uruguay (since Algeria was now out of the picture). In their last draw, they got France–concensus “please God no” team from Pot 4. So even though they got what was regarded as the best possible seeded opponent and the best possible draw from South America, they are still left with a group that could give them trouble. France are…well, they’re France. Uruguay are a decent team that won in Costa Rica during their playoff. South Africa are the hosts. I hate to say it, but I would not be that surprised if Mexico failed to make it out of their group. We, on the other hand, have a difficult opener against England, followed by two very winnable games. I like our chances better than those of El Tri. Continue reading
The draw is over. The results are in. And the US has a real shot at making out of the group stage. Here are the groups:
Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France
Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, Korea Republic, Greece
Group C: England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia
Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana
Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon
Group F: Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia
Group G: Brazil, Korea DPR, Ivory Coast, Portugal
Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile
Now that our rant about the draw is out of the way, it’s time to get pumped! The Cup is near and the draw is here! There isn’t much going on this morning before the draw, so let’s take some time to look at the pots and discuss what we would/would not like to see this afternoon.
Our opponent out of Pot 1 is going to be difficult no matter who we draw. Even if we’re lucky enough to land South Africa, we’re not getting a free pass. Keep in mind, no host country has ever failed to make it out of the group stage. While one could make the argument that South Africa is the worst host nation ever, their home-field advantage (10% fans, 90% vuvuzelas) shouldn’t be underestimated. Because of this, Pot 1 isn’t as much about who we’d like to draw as it is about who we’d like to avoid–Spain and Brazil. After the obvious, we’d most like to see Argentina or Italy, but simply avoiding the big two would be good enough for us. Our rankings of Pot 1 (organized from most favorable draw to least):
From USsoccer.com–The United States Men’s National Team will face fellow 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers Denmark on Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Aarhus, Denmark. Kickoff at NRGi Park is set for 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET), and television details will be announced in the near future.