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SquadEdit

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

USA
Edit

Team ProfileEdit

The United States know that escaping Group G will be a tough task on their seventh consecutive appearance at the FIFA World Cup finals.

After failing to qualify for nine World Cups in a row between 1954 and 1986, the USA have since been ever-presents at football's grandest showpiece.

Yet they would appear to face a stiff task as they look to reach the knockout stages for the third time in four attempts, having been drawn alongside Germany, Portugal and Ghana in a tough-looking group.

A reunion with Ghana, in Natal on June 16, provides the USA with an immediate opportunity to erase painful memories of their last World Cup fixture.

Four years ago in South Africa, the two sides met in a dramatic second-round encounter, with Asamoah Gyan's extra-time strike handing Ghana a 2-1 victory.

The USA have also played Germany and Portugal at recent World Cups, with mixed results.

Germany proved too strong in recording a 1-0 group-stage triumph in 1998 and a 2-0 victory in the quarter-finals four years later after Bruce Arena’s team had exceeded all expectations by reaching the last eight.

There was cause for American celebration earlier in the 2002 tournament, though, as they raced into a three-goal lead against Portugal in Suwon before hanging on for a memorable 3-2 triumph.

It is not just the American players who will be coming up against familiar foes in Brazil.

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann not only represented Germany with distinction during an illustrious playing career, but also went on to lead the team at the 2006 World Cup on home soil.

The 49-year-old will come up against the man who succeeded him in the Germany dugout, former assistant Joachim Low, on June 26 - four days after his side face Portugal.

Klinsmann was appointed as USA head coach in July 2011 and oversaw a routine CONCACAF qualification campaign that saw the team top the final hexagonal group with a degree of comfort.

A fifth Gold Cup crown was also secured last year under Klinsmann’s stewardship, and the German signed a lengthy contract extension at the end of 2013, having overseen one of the most successful years in the nation’s history.

However, the coach has faced criticism in certain quarters ahead of the World Cup, after leaving out Landon Donovan – the USA's record goalscorer – from his final 23-man squad.

Captain Clint Dempsey will be tasked with shouldering greater responsibility in the absence of Donovan, while Klinsmann can call on a number of other players with experience of Europe’s top leagues.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard and Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron are set to play key roles at the back, while the likes of former Roma midfielder Michael Bradley, who now plies his trade for Toronto FC, and Besiktas’ Jermaine Jones, once of Schalke, will also be expected to put their experience to good use.

Much could depend, though, on the performances of Jozy Altidore, a forward who has retained the faith of Klinsmann despite a barren run at domestic level with Sunderland.

"He loves to be in the middle of the national team. He will come through and he will start to score," said Klinsmann after the striker drew another blank in a pre-tournament friendly against Azerbaijan.

With a tricky group lying in wait at the World Cup, there may be no better time for Altidore to find his shooting boots.


Player Profile (Clint Depmsey)Edit

Position: Attacker
Date of Birth: March 9, 1983
Club: Seattle Sounders
International Debut: v Jamaica (November 17, 2004)
World Cup Appearances: 6
World Cup Goals: 2

United States captain Clint Dempsey will have even more pressure on him at the 2014 FIFA World Cup after Landon Donovan was left out of his country's squad.

If leading the third biggest nation, based on population, into football's showcase event was not enough, the 31-year-old will have to do it without his experienced team-mate.

Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to overlook the country's all-time top scorer Donovan - a poster-boy for a generation of football fans in the United States - has sparked outrage in certain quarters back home.

And for Dempsey, so used to sharing the spotlight with Donovan, it presents a fresh test.

Not that it will likely bother the attacker, who has made a habit of clearing hurdles throughout his career.

After moving to the Premier League from the New England Revolution in January 2007, Dempsey not only proved himself, but also became a firm favourite at Fulham.

In five and a half years with the club, he scored 60 goals in 225 matches in all competitions, highlighted by Fulham's run to the 2010 UEFA Europa League final.

A £6million switch to Tottenham followed and, although some doubted whether he had the talent to make the grade at White Hart Lane, he was a regular scorer during his stay in north London.

Powerhouse MLS franchise Seattle Sounders then paid a reported £6million to bring Dempsey - who has scored the most Premier League goals of any American - home to the United States in August 2013.

The expectation could not have been higher on Dempsey - a hero returning home to boost the league's profile - and more than 67,000 fans piled into the CenturyLink Field for his first match in Seattle.

Dempsey took time to find his feet but hit peak form earlier this year following a short loan stint at Fulham, grabbing seven goals in April to help his side storm up the league table.

His international career has followed a similar path - however high the bar has been set, Dempsey has cleared it.

After making his international debut at 21, he played twice at the 2006 World Cup, scoring in a 2-1 group-stage loss to Ghana.

He also netted at a World Cup four years later and, although his equaliser against England was somewhat fortuitous, it helped the United States reach the last 16.

Dempsey has not only impressed at the World Cup for his national team.

He scored three goals in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup as his side finished as runners-up following a campaign that saw them beat Spain, and also played important roles in CONCACAF Gold Cup triumphs in 2005, 2007 and 2013.

Adept with both feet, Dempsey possesses a good shot from distance and the ability to make well-timed runs into the penalty area, meaning he will be one of the key avenues to goal for the United States at this year's World Cup.

Likely to play in a free role behind target-man Jozy Altidore, the presence of Dempsey - his country's second-highest scorer - is sure to worry Group G opponents Germany, Portugal and Ghana.

Germany need no reminding of Dempsey's ability after he scored twice in a 4-3 friendly win against them in June last year.

That led Klinsmann to say: "Having a player like Clint Dempsey is just a privilege.

"I think (he) is one of the best players, probably in US history. (We are) seeing him perform (in) almost every game at a very, very high level."

Klinsmann will have his fingers crossed that Dempsey - aiming to score at three consecutive World Cups - can hit that same level in Brazil.


News SourcesEdit

http://msn.foxsports.com/soccer

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/

http://www.nytimes.com/pages/sports/soccer/index.html

http://www.latimes.com/sports/

http://www.sportingnews.com/soccer