(Odds to win the group via @Pinnaclesports)
Germany -150 | 1.67
Portugal +245 | 3.45
Ghana +970 | 10.70
USA +1350 | 14.5
This is considered to be one of the “groups of death” of the tournament alongside with Groups B & D.
Germany is the clear favorite and one of the best teams in the tournament. It would be a major surprise for me if they failed not only to advance to the next round, but also to make a serious challenge to the title.
They have a stable structure under NT’s coach Joachim Loew and their amazing depth is probably their biggest strength. We are dealing with one of the most fun teams to watch in the world that plays with a tremendous pace and verticality in a completely offensive minded system.
This team is loaded with several Bayern Munchen players who are coming from a dominating domestic season, but crashed out of Champions League play in a dismal semifinal performance against Real Madrid. While that loss was a major disappointment for them as after all, they were the clear favorites to win (repeat) the Champions League in this season, note that we are dealing with relatively “fresh” & rested players and ultimately, this could be a major factor for the tournament! For example, while both Cristiano Ronaldo & Lionel Messi logged more than 2500 minutes in the Spanish domestic league in this season, Gotze, Schweinsteiger, Kroos and/or Muller didn’t even reach the 2200-minutes mark in the Bundesliga.
Still there are some potential problems for them: Sami Khedira is a key player on their midfield and despite being fit, he was sidelined five-months with a knee injury. His performance @ final of Champions League didn’t impress me at all!; Despite all their superior depth, especially with offensive minded midfielders, this team doesn’t have the proper depth @ striker position! Most likely, Germany will start with Miroslav Klose on the front, who will turn 36-years old next week – not a good sign for them!
My home country Portugal is dealing with the potential terrible news that Cristiano Ronaldo could be severely banged up. There is a lot of counter information regarding this health, so we should proceed with caution. Nevertheless, his last games for Real Madrid were painful to watch because CR7 was far from being 100% fit.
Portugal doesn’t have much depth on the roster. Actually, this is a team with “only” 5 world class players and a bunch of “decent” players (CR7, Pepe, Coentrao, Moutinho and Nani), so they need badly those 5 players to step up big time, and this could be a problem: CR7 is banged up; Pepe missed the CL’s final due to an injury, Moutinho disappointed @ Monaco in his first season and Nani wasn’t an option in his club (Man Utd).
The good news is that Portugal is one of the better organized and tactically sounded teams in the world. They know exactly what to do on the field, and their work-rate is pretty impressive for a European team. Basically, they put 10 hard workers players + CR7 on the field, and they are deadly in the counter attack! Just have a look of Portugal’ goals against Sweden in the playoffs to have an idea (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot7YbwrV4ww).
This ability of Portugal to produce goals in quick transition moves could be lethal against USA and Ghana, because these two teams’ loves to play wide open and will be exposed in the back.
USA has shown some major defensive problems that could be dramatic at this level. The overall inexperience of their defensive back line has been quite evident in these latest friendly games against “better teams”. Bradley and Jones are a decent duo on the midfield but don’t have the proper creativity to make the difference; Altidore works hard and his off the movements are pretty sharp but his lack of scoring ability is just too damaging!
Ghana is way more dangerous in my opinion than USA. They are a relatively young team but with some vastly experience at his major level. Note that the majority of these players have won the U20 World Cup in 2009 in Egypt.
They have a (natural) physical advantage over their opponents that could be important and they play in a high tempo. Their midfield unit is pretty impressive with Sulley Muntari,Kwadwo Asamoah, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Michael Essien, so they will create plenty of chances to score.
The biggest problem for them in on the defensive side… their Goalkeeper is inexperienced at this level and the positioning of their defensive back unit isn’t consistent. Unlike Portugal for example, this team has some problems to be in-game consistent and is prone to commit individual errors.
With a healthy Cristiano Ronaldo, both Germany and Portugal would be “locks” to advance to the next round… Ghana is the clear outsider of this group while USA looks to me as the worst team of the group by some margin. To make any kind of future play without knowing the "real" status of Cristiano Ronaldo is worthless in my opinion.