Drawn in a group alongside Germany, Portugal and Ghana, Team USA face an uphill task to progress to the second round of the World Cup but manager Jurgen Klinsmann has an ace up his sleeve – Berti Vogts.
The former manager of the Germany national team has been appointed as a special advisor to the US national side, who are 3/1 to at least reach the knockout stage, and could prove to be a valuable asset in their World Cup assault.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have Berti join us as an adviser,” a statement from Klinsmann said.
“He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, both as a player and a coach, and he knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level.”
Klinsmann famously collaborated with Vogts during the 1996 European Championships – a tournament that ended in heartache for England but glory for the Germans.
Germany boasted a team of ageing superstars at the time and after crashing out of the 1994 World Cup to first-timers Bulgaria, pessimism greeted these finals two years later, with Die Mannschaft drawn in a tricky group containing Italy, Russia and the Czech Republic.
However, under Vogts and with Klinsmann as captain, the team played to its strengths, topping the group and advancing past tournament dark horses Croatia and hosts England before claiming a late victory over the Czechs in the final.
Team USA may be 200/1 shots to repeat that feat in Brazil and take home a shock World Cup but they could certainly spring a surprise on Portugal, Germany and perennial opponents Ghana.
Vogts will be eager to get one over on Die Mannschaft and Klinsmann’s close relationship with Joachim Loew could help them find a way of tactically outsmarting the German side with the Americans 13/2 for the win.
Portugal, meanwhile, will be all too aware of how dangerous the Americans can be, having previously fallen to a 3-2 loss at the 2002 World Cup and Klinsmann’s side are 7/2 for victory.
And the Ghana game represents something approaching a must-win for the US, who are 13/8 for victory, and will be eager to avoid a hat-trick of heartbreak against the African side, who have knocked them out of the previous two editions of the tournament.
Team USA may or may not surprise at the World Cup but one thing is for sure: with Vogts in tow they stand a much better chance.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.