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As It Happened: 2014 FIFA World Cup draw

The field is set for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. (Silvia Izquierdo/AP) The field is set for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. (Silvia Izquierdo/AP)

Today is the day.

The 32 teams vying for the World Cup trophy in Brazil this coming summer will learn their group stage fate in the coming minutes, with all the talk of pots and ping pong balls giving way to matchup breakdowns, feelings of hope, senses of doom and six months of analysis.

Results of the draw will be updated automatically in our graphic below, and we'll be providing our own analysis and live commentary throughout the day as well. Thanks for joining us and let's get this show started:

[si_worldcup_iframe]

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More reaction from Clint Dempsey on the draw (and a HUGE ups to Brian Straus and Alexander Abnos for their reporting in Kansas City): "It’s going to be what it’s going to be. You don’t hope for anything, because you can’t control it. Once you know what the draw is, that’s what it is. You’ve got to prepare, work hard and make sure you put yourself in the best position to get out of the group. It’s going to be a difficult group.

"It’s excitement. That’s what the World Cup’s about. It’s about playing the best teams. We’ve got a good group as far as that’s concerned, and I think we have the quality that if we play our best ball we can get out of tour group. It’s just making sure that we do that, try to get the most out of every game and not wait until that last game and needing other people to do you favors for you. But at the same time looking at that group we think it’s going to go down to the last game for everybody."

"You can’t think about ‘Am I the favorite? Am I the underdog? What’s it going to be like playing in the heat? What’s it going to be with the travel?’ Those are factors that come into it, but at the end of the day both teams got to deal with it. Every team that you play with is going to have to deal with those conditions, deal with those situations, deal with injuries, deal with yellow cards, people get suspended for other games. That’s part of the World Cup. That’s what’s beautiful about this game. Anything can happen on any given day.

"We played against the big teams and we played some of those teams away from home, getting results against Italy away from home was big. France, we didn’t get a result there but we go that experience. We got some good results in Europe, I thought, but at the same time we’ve gotten some good results at home. Beating Germany, even though it wasn’t their ‘A’ team, they still had players that played on big clubs. It was still good experience for us."

On the destiny aspect of drawing Ghana: "It seems like that’s been the case, the past two World Cups. Maybe it’s an opportunity to get them back for that. We’re due a win … It’s one of those situations where you feel hard done by, because the last two times we played them they’re the team that beat us and crushed our dreams of trying to go on further in the World Cup. So I think we’re due a little bit of luck, and I think we’re due a win against them."

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https://twitter.com/BocaBoca3/status/409049471478034432

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Newly posted on Planet Futbol, a video highlight trip down memory lane, recalling the USA's past World Cup encounters with Germany, Ghana and Portugal:

CREDITOR: USA's World Cup group overflowing with history

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Brad Evans from Kansas City: On facing Ronaldo - "You jump into a position and you want to play against the best. Obviously he’s the best. Certainly if it happens it’ll be a great challenge, a great opportunity. Stick to your guns and do the best you can."

Could the draw have been tougher? "You could be lumped in with Brazil, the home country, and be playing in front of a home crowd. You’re going to face great teams either way and you might as well face the best teams now.

"As a country that’s what we want, to be lumped in and be noticed. Just because the U.S. is in it, it’s not an easy group – now it’s the “Group of Death.” It’s the toughest group, which is good. Our goals, like I said, remain the same."

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Omar Gonzalez from Kansas City: On (potentially) playing in his first World Cup - "For me, as a new player in this group, it's all about picking people's brains, and I'd like to pick some of the other guys' brains. I know I'll be picking Landon's brain, and I'm sure I'll be talking to Jurgen about everything, talking about what it takes to get out of the group, and once you're out of the group, what it takes to go even further. Jurgen has a lot of experience with that and will be good for all of us."

On facing Cristiano Ronaldo: "I faced him for the Galaxy once before, and that was fun. But I think he's going to be even harder playing for his country in this tournament. I think it's going to be awesome and it should be a fun time."

On his sense during the draw: "Once Germany and Ghana got paired together I figured this is probably going to be us. Fate's going to align, and it's all going to happen."

On which one of Germany or Portugal is better: "I don't know, they're both great teams. I guess you can look to the ranking for that one. Once you're out there on the field, everything goes out the window. It's about those 90-plus minutes, how hard you work during the game, take your chances well, and everything can happen."

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Graham Zusi from Kansas City: "I think you dream about being at the World Cup and doing the best you possibly can. Regardless of matchups. I don’t we really think we about that all. We think of it all as a challenge and we’re looking to do the best we possibly can.

They’ve done a fantastic job of preparing us for just this. We’ve played against some of the top teams world, the Belgiums, Germanys, Italys, the past couple of years. Playing those types of games is going to prepare us well for these games.

On the tough group: "I think to be labeled the “Group of Death” is always a fun story line, but as players you’re not focused on any of that stuff. You’re taking it one game at a time. Now our focus is Ghana. We’re playing Ghana the first game and we’ll do our best to win that game.

"I don’t think we believe there are expectations as players. We’re going to put the effort forth to do the best we can. We’ve had a historic year in U.S. soccer and we’re looking to make history down there as well."

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As for Mexico, El Tri received a pretty manageable draw (the USA would trade places in a heartbeat). Sure, they're paired with host and favorite Brazil, but they avoided having to play in the opening game of the tournament for the second straight World Cup. Croatia and Cameroon are beatable teams. Would not surprise in the least to see Mexico, despite ALL its troubles in qualifying, get out of that group.

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If you're into the FIFA rankings, Group G will feature:

No. 2  - Germany

No. 5 - Portugal

No. 14 - USA

No. 24 - Ghana

AKA - Stacked.

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Kyle Beckerman from Kansas City: "It's really tough, but I gues the main thing, is, I'm excited! It's a World Cup, you're gonna play tough teams, and we have a group that has a couple of them. It is what it is, you're gonna face teams in the group that are tough, you're gonna face teams when you get out of the group. So it is tough, but one that we feel like there's no reason why we can't get out of. "

"I guess you would say that we're underdogs for sure in that group. And I think that's not a bad place to be. I think anything's possible .There's going to be surprises in this tournament, things that the outside doesn't see. I think the teams will be prepared to go out there and prove what we can do."

On past Ghana memories: I do remember watching those, and they were kinda heartbreaking from what I remember. I think it's kind of cool to see them in the group. It's time we get one of our own. And no better time to do it than in the group at the World Cup. I think it could be super close with our group being so tight - a win and a draw could get you though. To get that against them would be great, but...they're a tough team. "

On the travel demands and MLS players being used to long travel: "Sure, I think it could help. The MLS guys are super used to traveling all over the place, traveling long distances, so that could help. There could be games that will be in hot areas that, depending on what team it is, could help us. If there are games in some cold areas that could help us as well. I don't really know the specific plan, I'm sure you guys know a lot better than I do. We'll see."

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Well, say this. You want a World Cup to be loaded with story lines, and every game the USA plays will be full of them. From a drama perspective, it doesn't get much better. Klinsmann vs. Germany. The USA vs. nemesis Ghana. A rematch of 2002 vs. Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Brad Evans, DaMarcus Beasley, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler (and other potential defensive additions). And loads more. It's going to be a blast to be a part of.

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Jurgen Klinsmann to ESPN regarding the travel: "We hit the worst of the worst."

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Matt Besler from Kansas City: On the travel demands - "That was something we were aware of before. We all knew that the travel was going to be an issue or a topic. To be honest I haven't even seen where we're playing yet. But again it's not an issue for us. We travel all the time in MLS play and even in CONCACAF we travel pretty far. For us, we see it as an advantage because we're used to it.  I'm excited. We all knew it was going to be fairly tough going in, so just knowing where you're going to end up, and now you can start preparing a little bit more, more specifically."

On the doubters: "If that's what people are saying then I'll be happy to prove them wrong. but I don't read too much of that. We still ahve six months before the world cup, a lot of preparation camp, and a lot of time."

On the tough friendlies the USA has played:  "I think that was the mindset for why we played hard friendlies, for situations like this. The year that we've had in the past year, i feel like the team's mentality is one that we can go and play with anybody. Now we have to prove it."

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https://twitter.com/BMcBride20/status/409013569519239168

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Nick Rimando from Kansas City: "Tough group, but anybody up there is going to be tough to play, especially at this level. It's a tough group, but I'm sure we're going to do everything we can to prepare for it and the World Cup. We're excited to be there. We put a lot of hard work into it. Playing Germany is probably going to get played up a whole lot because of Jurgen. But we did well against them in DC in a different climate. It'll be fun."

On Cristiano Ronaldo: The guy's one of the best players in the world. He does special things, so for me, yeah, you always want to play against the best and rate yourself against the best. If we wanna do well in the world cup we have to play the best teams to advance. We have to do that in our group.

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https://twitter.com/aronjo20/status/409010662330089472

https://twitter.com/SachaKljestan/status/409008608462909441

https://twitter.com/JozyAltidore/status/409012784333340672

https://twitter.com/MixDiskerud/status/409010417919205376

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Player reaction is starting to roll in.

From Clint Dempsey in Kansas City: "It’s a difficult group, but at the same time you want to play the best teams. That’s what the World Cup is about, so we’ve got to prepare and try to get out of the group. Germany’s going to be difficult. They’re one of the top two teams in the world.

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Check out Grant Wahl's reaction straight from Brazil:

3 Thoughts: Brutal road ahead for the USA

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https://twitter.com/BrianStraus/status/409008724347342849

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https://twitter.com/ussoccer/status/409007052472590336

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Spain and Netherlands to open the tournament against one another! A rematch of the 2010 final! Wow.

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https://twitter.com/GrantWahl/status/409007119417868288

https://twitter.com/GrantWahl/status/409006771340972033

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Why. Always. Ghana.

USA gets paired with Germany, Ghana and a team TBD. And opens the tournament AGAINST Ghana.

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POT 3 IS UP. TIME FOR THE USA AND MEXICO TO LEARN THEIR FATES!

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Switzerland and Ecuador land in Group E....if there's a Group Of Life, that's the one.

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ITALY is the mystery team out of Pot X and will be paired with Uruguay in Group D.

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https://twitter.com/GrantWahl/status/409004351923843072

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Spain will open its title defense in Salvador as the top team in Group B. That means that Spain and Brazil could either meet in the round of 16 (if either doesn't win its group) or meet in the final.

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Alcides Ghiggia, the scorer of the World Cup winning goal in 1950 that lifted Uruguay over host Brazil, is taking part in the draw. No fear of a hex by the Selecao to involve him in the draw process.

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OK folks, draw ACTUALLY about to get going. First they'll draw which European team from Pot 4 will be assigned into Pot 2, and then the complete draw. No matter what country you support or are from, good luck.

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How are your emotions with the draw just minutes away?

https://twitter.com/stuholden/status/409000372938608640

https://twitter.com/AmericanOutlaws/status/408999783702228993

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https://twitter.com/BrianStraus/status/408996231986155521

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https://twitter.com/GrantWahl/status/408981967275712512

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Don't forget, it's MLS Cup weekend in Kansas City, and they're hosting a World Cup draw event down there with U.S. national team players. Our Brian Straus and Alex Abnos are on the scene there and will be getting up-to-the-minute reaction. Got you covered from every angle today.

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If we're going with predictions, I'll say the USA draws: Germany, Ghana, Portugal and a whole ton of death. It's worth mentioning that (as reported by our Grant Wahl) the USA drew Uruguay, Nigeria and Croatia in the official FIFA rehearsal draw on Wednesday. As Grant says, I think most USA fans would take that and RUN with it.

https://twitter.com/GrantWahl/status/408971827122155520

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The deathblow scenarios are well documented. Worst case for the USA or Mexico (or any teams from Pot 3, really) would be drawing Brazil for the opening game, and then ending up with two European sides like the Netherlands and Italy.

If the 1,000,000-1 odds cash in, the USA will end up with Switzerland, Algeria and Greece. Still not an easy group -- there really isn't one considering this field -- but the most palatable of the options.

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The stars are out in force in Brazil -- Jogi Low and Pele pose prior to the draw:

https://twitter.com/DFB_Team/status/408979336499171328

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USA players have begun to voice their opinions and start trash talking to their foreign club teammates. Check out what Brad Guzan and Mix Diskerud put out to the Twitterverse just a bit ago:

https://twitter.com/bguzan/status/408978790606319616

https://twitter.com/MixDiskerud/status/408984330916995072

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And while the USA is hoping to avoid the deathiest Group of Death (because there will be multiple ones), other nations are hoping to avoid drawing the USA. Check out Brian Straus' piece here:

STRAUS: Foreign nations hope to avoid drawing tested USA

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The draw is slated to start sometime after 11:30 ET, but we'll throw some links and comments your way until then. If you haven't read Grant Wahl's interview with Jurgen Klinsmann last night, check out out here:

WAHL: Klinsmann ready for everything -- except Manaus -- at World Cup

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