The Full 90

Monday question: How far will the USA go in the World Cup?

This was supposed to be

the year

the USA contended for a World Cup title. Of course, soccer was supposed to have surpassed football and baseball in popularity by now. Things happen slowly in the world of soccer (often too slowly for most American sports fans).

Things are looking up, though. At last year's Confederations Cup, the US made a surprising run to the finals, where they were beaten 3-2 in a great game against Brazil. (In that same tournament, they were the able to beat the seemingly unbeatable Spaniards.) Most of the players are based in the top leagues of Europe. And this will be, by a wide margin, the easiest draw the United States has ever had in the Cup.

So, today's question, and you can be realistic or optimistic, is this: How do you think the USA will do in the World Cup? I think the answer depends on what type of fan you are.

a) The Hopeful Dreamer

-- You think that things are aligned this year and, due to the multitude of injuries to other teams, a Finals run is in the cards.

b) The Eternal Optimist

-- You think the USA will win their group, beat the second-place team from Group D (say, maybe, Australia or Serbia), advance to a quarterfinal matchup with Mexico (who you know we'll beat) and then bow out gracefully to Brazil or the Netherlands in the semifinals. (Admit it, I sorta just talked you into this option if you already weren't there. The toughest game? Beating England.

c) The Pragmatic Realist

-- You think we're losing to England but will advance to the second-round where a game against Germany awaits. You think is anything is possible, but it's unlikely that Germany will lose that game.

d) The Unfortunate Realist

-- You think we'll be destroyed by England, but in true underdog fashion, we will survive by beating Slovenia and Algeria. Of course, you don't think that we stand a chance in hades of beating Die Mannschaft.

e) The Midwest Pessimist

-- You want the team to just do well and not embarrass you, but you really don't think they have a shot of doing anything.

f) The Pre-Tournament Defeatist

-- You think the USA is going 0-for-3 because you have this absurd notion in your head that the USA is always going to be inferior and you have an inflated notion of how good Slovenia and Algeria are (from a guy who's watched tons of video of those two teams, trust me, they ain't great). You are, on a related note, worse for the sport than Beano Cook.

Let's see what you got...

Think you know how the World Cup will break down? Think you know what teams will escape group play? Think you know who'll win?

Then test out your skills/guesses in The Full 90's Bracket Predictor (via ESPN).

You can create your entry by following

this link

. (The Group is: The Full 90 and the password is: full90.)