First off, stop laughing, its sports so it could happen.
Right, off we go. The first thing that’s going to need to happen is the United States is going to need advance out of the group stage. We’re going to need a couple goals in the first game. Jozy Altidore is going to have to be USA Jozy and not Sunderland Jozy. Ghana is tough, but there’s no one on that squad that you’d label a “goal machine”.
In order to advance out of the proverbial “Group of Death” they’re going to need some help. If that help comes from a Ghanan witch doctor, personally I’m fine with that. Without Ronaldo Portugal is still a team of talented players, but they won’t be the same. Think of the Miami Heat if Lebron cramped up so bad he had to be helped off the court, they’d be lost. Maybe Ronaldo will strain his tendons enough today vs Germany that he’ll be out for the next couple of games. It could happen.
If the US were to beat Ghana, and Portugal, and come up with an amazing draw vs Germany (a German team with only one striker and a 36 year old at that) we could conceivably not only advance but top the group. If were to top the group we’d get the runner up from group H in the first knockout round. That would end up being either Russia or South Korea. We’d fancy our chances versus either of those teams.
From here on it gets even more difficult but say we ran into a French team that had started to dislike each other (not as if that hasn’t happened before) and can’t seem to get the ball from their midfield to their strikers. Maybe we could grind out a 1-0 win with an Altidore PK. Or perhaps we take it all the way through extra time and take our chances with Tim Howard in the shootout. There are a couple of ways we could win a match versus France. On any given day they’re just as capable of winning versus Brazil or losing to Sao Tome and Principe (that’s a real country, look it up).
In the next round we’d have to play Brazil and the world would expect us to lose 4-0. And that’d be fine, expected even. But if you’re expected to lose 4-0 there’s not a lot of pressure on you. You can try tricky backheels, bicycle kicks, whatever you want. If you’re Brazil, fully expected to win the Cup and look good doing it, maybe you get a bit complacent when you see the USA staring you in the face. When you find yourself down 1-0 in the 70th minute all of a sudden your legs don’t have the juice they did an hour ago, you start putting your shots into the 17th row of the crowd and next thing you know you have to be escorted from the stadium by police after breaking your country’s heart. Think of the headlines. I’d learn Portuguese just to read them.
Now we’re in the final. The “hard part” is over. All we have to do is win one game versus either Argentina, Netherlands, Italy, or Spain. Maybe its unlikely. It’s not impossible.