Jun 21, 2014
After the scintillating match between Ghana and Germany, it is a simple matter to profess the group of death as Group G.
First coined in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, "el grupo del muerto" included reigning champion England, 1970 favorite Brazil, an aging but capable Czechoslovakia (runners up eight years earlier), and a Romanian side that had breezed through the European qualifiers and was considered a dark horse side to win in 1970.
What constitutes a group of death? The most basic argument is that in each game within group play there is a clear chance of either side winning and Ghana's stretching of the German machine was just such an example. Had the Africans won the day, it would not have been due to fortune of any kind. And as usual, the Germans exemplified resilience and an unerring display of competent play.
Coming into the tourney there were three "groups of death" but each had a minnow that would leave two spots for three teams. Australian fortunes went as predicted but they did not go quietly intio the night. But nonetheless, after only two games, Group B is decided, Holland and Chile are through with a game still to play. Group D has been turned on its head by Costa Rica, England is out and Uruguay and Italy have a showdown on June 24th.
But what about Group G? A US victory over Portugal will see CONCACAF qualify its second team in as many games while Portugal would be eliminated. But that is the only result that will determine the fate of only one team- Portugal, the team with the current world's greatest player.
So is Group G this Cup's version of the group of death? It is clearly that and more. Whoever emerges from Group G will be a battle tested and capable couple of teams. Just ask anybody who saw the second half of Ghana and Germany today, "Is either team a team they would want to play in a one off," and the answer will be a resounding, "NO!"
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