By Paul Kennedy
1. Will the USA get out of Group G?
No. I agree with my Soccer America colleague Mike Woitalla that the USA has been looking good, playing the most confidently at any time of the Jurgen Klinsmannera, but it is hard to imagine the USA gets past Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Yes, the draw stinks. Put the USA in at least three other groups, and it would likely advance. No problem. But with the possible exception of Brazil in 2012, the USA has not faced a team like Ghana, Portugal or Germany in the Klinsmann era. The USA goes out after three games but plays well enough that Klinsmann keeps his job.
SA World Cup Previews:
Mike Woitalla: Group A
Ridge Mahoney:Group B
Mike Woitalla:Group C
Ridge Mahoney:Group D
Paul Kennedy:Group E
Mike Woitalla:Group F
Paul Kennedy: Group H
2. Who will win the World Cup?
I'm torn between Brazil and Argentina. A Brazil title will make a happy end to what has been a tortured build-up to the finals for a country that deserves better, but there is something about an Argentina championship that sounds right. For one, the Argentines have a slightly easier path to the final than Brazil. And they have in Lionel Messi, the best player in the world.
3. Who will be the World Cup MVP?
If Messi can have an off year with Barcelona and still score 41 goals, imagine what he can do if he is in form. Everything has been done to set up Messi for this World Cup with Argentina, and he will deliver.
4. What will be the storyline of the World Cup?
As each day passes, the talk of all the organizational problems will dissipate, and everyone will revel in the spectacle of Brazil 2014. Will it be the best World Cup in history, as Brazil President Dilma Rousseffsuggested? Perhaps. But it won't prevent her from going down in defeat in her re-election bid in the fall. And it won't prevent Sepp Blatter's FIFA house of cards from finally collapsing. He'll be gone by next year.