Spurs Up Blog collected some pre-World Cup thoughts from the Gamecock soccer coaching staff this week.
How do you think the US team will do?
Men's Head Coach Mark Berson - I think the US team will do well. The huge drama in this first game against England is really compelling. It would be like Spain having a football team of their own and coming to play our NFL guys. We invented football and it's a huge game in our country. That's the way soccer is to the English. Another thing that makes it more interesting is the result in 1950 when we beat them in the World Cup. We don't have the star power that they do, but anything can happen in this game and I think we're going to be right there. A win against England would not surprise me.
I think we can reach the semifinals. I'm a little optimistic. I see us coming out behind England in our group and we would likely draw Germany next. That's a massive game and I think if we can win that game, it would mean a successful World Cup for the United States. I think we'll be facing the winner of Argentina vs. France after that game.
Of course, anybody's pick is anybody's pick. Anything can happen and the odds of this all happening are slim. But I do think the US is genuinely expected to get out of our group. If we can come out as the No. 1 team, then we'll likely play Serbia. That half of the bracket is much easier. If we're the No. 2 from our group, then we'll probably go against Germany and I think that will define the whole deal. If we can get through that, then who knows what can happen for us.
Women's Head Coach Shelley Smith - I think the US can place in the top two in their group and move on. The next group they would face are all beatable as well, so they could make a good run. I just don't see them getting past some of the more powerful soccer countries to get to a final. England will be a tough test for them to start.
Men's Assistant Bert Molinary - I think US make it out of their group, but loses in the 2nd round to Serbia.
Men's Assistant Mike Babst - I want to say the US will make it to the quarterfinals, but I don't think they'll get out of their group.
Who do you have in the quarterfinals?
Berson - In the final eight, I've got England vs. Mexico, Brazil vs. Holland, France vs. US, and Spain vs. Italy.
Who are your final four teams and your winner?
Berson - For the semifinals, I think it will be England vs. Brazil and the United States vs. Spain. I think Brazil will beat England and I think Spain will beat the US. I have Spain winning the whole thing.
Smith - It's difficult to make a prediction with all of the injuries to some key players who should have been playing in the World Cup. I think Brazil and Spain are in the final. I would pick Brazil to win.
Molinary - My semi-finalists are Spain, Brazil, Serbia and England, Spain and Brazil meet in the final with Spain winning the World Cup.
Babst - I have Spain beating the Netherlands in the final with Serbia finishing in 3rd place and England in 4th.