With the World Cup draw today, the US national team is going to face the ghosts of their past World Cups. Of the three teams in the USA's Group G in Brazil, they've met at least one of the teams in each of the past four World Cups.
The US faced Germany in the 1998 World Cup in France, falling 2-0 in their first group match. In the 2002 World Cup, the US again met up with Germany, this time in the quarterfinals, falling 1-0 to the Germans in a game that the US dominated for good periods of the game and had a hand ball on the goal line not called that would have led to a PK.
In the past two World Cups, the USA's elimination from the competition has come at the hands of their first opponent, Ghana. In the 2006 World Cup, after falling to the Czech Republic and tying Italy, the US needed a win to have a chance of advancing but ended up falling 2-1 to the African side. Then in the 2010 World Cup, after winning their group, the US faced Ghana again in the round of 16. This match went to extra time after a 1-1 draw in regulation. Again the African side advanced over the Americans with a goal in extra time to win 2-1.
Then there is Portugal, who the US defeated in their opening game of the 2002 World Cup, jumping out to a 3-0 lead before eventually winning 3-2 on their way to the quarterfinals.
Advancement out of the group will not be easy. Of the potential groups for the US, the only group that could have been harder, is if they were in Group B in Australia's place against the likes of Spain, Chile, and Holland. It's gonna be a chance for the US to exercise a few demons and has plenty of storylines already in place, Klinsmann vs his home country, can the US get over the Ghana hurdle, and Portugal's chance for payback from 2002.