Bahia, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - The United States men's national team faces a difficult task in next summer's World Cup after being drawn into Group G on Friday along with Germany, Portugal and Ghana.
In the 2010 event, the U.S. was in a group with England, Algeria and Slovenia and advanced to the round of 16 before losing to Ghana. But this time around, the U.S. was dealt a much more challenging hand.
The Americans first match will be against Ghana, the side that knocked them out of each of the past two World Cups, on June 16, while Group G's opening clash between Germany and Portugal will be earlier that day.
Jurgen Klinsmann's squad will most certainly be the underdog in the group, but will take some confidence from past success against Germany and Portugal.
The Americans beat Germany 4-3 in a friendly in Washington, D.C. earlier this year and toppled Portugal in the 2002 World Cup group stage.
Klinsmann offered this reaction following the draw:
"I kind of knew we were going to get Germany," he said. "It's one of the more difficult groups. This is what the World Cup is about. We'll take it on and hopefully surprise some people. We are going to be well prepared and we don't look at ourselves as outsiders."
Some of the other more challenging groups to come out of the pots on Friday were Group B and D. Group B contains defending champions Spain along with European powerhouses the Netherlands, Chile and Australia.
Spain and the Netherlands - a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final - will open Group B play on Friday, June 13.
Group D could also be considered a "group of death" as Liverpool's Luis Suarez and PSG's Edinson Cavani lead Uruguay into a group with England, Italy and Costa Rica.
Some of the easier groups include Groups E and H. After being a seeded team ahead of the draw, Switzerland will have a solid chance to survive the group as they are in with Ecuador, France and Honduras, while up-and-comers Belgium were drawn into Group H with Algeria, Russia and South Korea.
Mexico, which struggled mightily to qualify and needed to beat New Zealand in a playoff earlier this year, was drawn into Group A with hosts Brazil.
The full 2014 World Cup draw is as follows:
Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon.
Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia.
Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan.
Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy.
Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras.
Group F: Argentina, Bosina-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria.
Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA.
Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic.
"He wants to blow up the world. He's like the marathon bombers."
That honor now goes to Hall of Fame baseball scribe Peter Gammons, who stuck his foot deep in his mouth Thursday when calling in to Mike Lupica's show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM to talk about the A-Rod saga.
Those words quoted above are Gammons'. You have to figure a man like Gammons wanted to catch them in the air and shove them back in his mouth the second he uttered them. Gammons is smarter than this. An embattled, overpaid baseball star and two men who rattled a city, killing five and injuring 280 people, aren't even remotely comparable. Not in any sports-obsessed reality.
Even worse: Gammons received a rather exalted introduction from Lupica — the "soul and conscious of baseball," he was called — before whiffing so bad.
A-Rod wanting to take MLB and Commissioner Bud Selig down with him is not a unique opinion. Others have said that since A-Rod's wild Wednesday, but they've said it with much more tact than Gammons did here. One needn't invoke eight-month-old terrorist acts to make that point.
Gammons realized this and apologized on Twitter after his comments began to spread:
Still, the entire incident underscores one of the points that A-Rod has been making in his own defense. He's being unfairly treated by baseball and the media, built into a monster.
If the tone of the A-Rod conversation is such that someone — anyone, baseball writer or average Joe on Twitter — is comparing him to a terrorist, we've lost touch with reality.
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TMZ Sports: Orlando Magic star Glen Davis -- aka "Big Baby" -- threw a MAJOR TEMPER TANTRUM at a Florida motel ... destroying a hotel computer ... and TMZ Sports has footage of the entire meltdown.
It all went down early Saturday morning at the Travelodge in Orlando, FL -- when the 27-year-old tried to book a room with the front desk and was told the place was sold out.
Glen -- clearly frustrated -- reached over the front desk and grabs a keyboard, which he proceeds to rip from the front desk computer and throw across the lobby. Davis then storms out of the motel in anger.
The Travelodge employee immediately called police ... and moments later, two cops arrive on scene.
Law enforcement sources tell us ... cops took a report but Davis was not arrested.
So why was Davis in such a crappy mood? Earlier in the night, the Magic lost to Glen's former squad ... the Boston Celtics.
Sources tell us ... the hotel has been in contact with the Magic regarding payment for hotel damages. One source tells us the team has already cut a check.
We reached out to the Magic -- and a rep told us that while the team is aware of the situation, they have no further comment.
Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check http://www.tmz.com/when-its-on for syndicated/local listings at the bottom of the page)
In perhaps the NBA’s least-liked reunion of the season, Cleveland Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum will return to Philadelphia on Friday to play against the 76ers. This pairing will far outpace the eventual return to Los Angeles for former Lakers center Dwight Howard, because Howard is actually performing at an All-Star level in his early going with the Houston Rockets, so the spectacle won’t be nearly as sad as the one in Philly. On top of that, Los Angeles can’t possibly catch Philadelphia when it comes to public vitriol. Not with all those meetings to take, not after showing up fashionably late.
Bynum, who made the All-Star team in 2012 while a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, is not playing at an All-Star level. In fact, Bynum may not even play on Friday, as the big man has logged just 51 minutes in four games (22 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks, six fouls but just three turnovers) with the Cavaliers, sitting out of the second night of a back to back last Saturday, while complaining about “sharp” knee pains all week. On Thursday, he even admitted to considering retirement, before Cleveland's (potential, assuming he plays enough games) two-year, $24 million offer came calling over the offseason.
Andrew Bynum in street clothes, should he decide to sit with his teammates on the bench, would be a familiar sight for Sixers fans, as the center failed to log a minute for the team that deal star swingman Andre Iguodala for him. As a result, Bynum expects to hear a familiar chorus. From Christopher Vito at the Delaware Daily Times:
“Just another game,” he said.
Bynum, who’s coming off the bench for the Cavaliers, has seen a gradual step-up in minutes as he progresses from the arthroscopic knee surgery he underwent in March.
“I think they’ll probably boo, but that’s their choice,” Bynum told Cleveland media. “It wasn’t my choice to get rid of me. I don’t feel bad at all (about last season). … If I was not hurt, I would’ve played. That’s really the end to that story.”
Except … it’s really not the end to that story.
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What, you expected Metta World Peace to drive to Madison Square Garden? Clearly, you've never tried taking the L.I.E. inbound in the late afternoon or fighting Fifth Avenue at rush hour. No, as any New York transit veteran knows, the smart move is to hop on the F and take it to 34th Street-Herald Square ... which is precisely what the Queensbridge native, former St. John's University standout and newly minted New York Knicks forward did before his team's season-opening matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, as reported by fellow commuter Jim Baumbach of Newsday:
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The vibrations of the arriving F train getting louder by the second, the man formerly known as Ron Artest stood up from the bench where he had been sitting (next to a surprised fan, of course) and laughed as he watched the train come to stop.
"This," he said, "is something I've always wanted to do."
Then he boarded the subway car, bound for the Garden. [...]
As he took the F into the city, World Peace spoke with Baumbach about how the actual separation between Queensbridge and MSG — about four miles and 20 or so minutes on the train — differed from how long it took him, and how far he had to go, to make the trip himself:
Of course he was disappointed that the Knicks passed on him in 1999 to take Frederic Weis, who never played a game for them. But the St. John's product has come to believe that he was too immature then to handle what comes with playing at home.
"I was 19 years old, making a ton of money and I didn't know what to do with it," he said while riding the train, occasionally glancing out the window behind him for signs of where he was.
Throughout his career, he said he entertained thoughts of joining the Knicks, but said he didn't think the interest ever was reciprocated. Eventually, he said he figured it wasn't meant to be for him.
"I never thought this day would come," he said.
Nor did a lot of us.
After all, the former Ron Artest's NBA career had spanned 14 seasons and five franchises before this summer, and while New York fans who love World Peace's hard-nosed defense and, shall we say, colorful demeanor had always wished for a '99 draft do-over, it never seemed like a realistic possibility that he'd get back to the Big Apple, whether in trade (there was some smoke back in 2007, but evidently no fire) or his lone entry into free agency (the Cleveland Cavaliers were allegedly interested in him during the summer of '09, but he wound up signing with the Los Angeles Lakers). But then this offseason rolled around, and the Lakers needed to pare down their luxury tax bill, and the Knicks needed a cheap frontcourt defender. Peas, meet carrots.
READ MORE: Yahoo! Sports