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The U.S. drew a daunting task for next year's World Cup: difficult opponents, tropical venues and a wearying 9,000-mile zigzag journey across Brazil.
There are scores to settle, family feuds and no shortage of karmic reckoning. For something so random, Friday's World Cup draw delivered a blockbuster mix of intrigue, entertainment and story lines that will keep folks talking from now until the tournament kicks off June 12.
COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil - Coaches and players were quick to react to Friday's World Cup draw. The following is a selection.
Who wound up in difficult groups and who got away easy from Friday's World Cup draw (average world ranking for four teams in parentheses):
COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil - The World Cup promises friendly reunions and old scores to settle - and that's just in the coaching dugouts.
VIENNA - Geoff Cameron's header off Michael Bradley's corner kick deflected off an arm of Marko Arnautovic and appeared to cross the goal line in the 17th minute before it was swatted away by goalkeeper Robert Almer.
VIENNA - The United States slumped to a 1-0 defeat in a friendly game at Austria on Tuesday, finishing its record-setting year with only its fourth loss from 23 matches.
Zero goals didn't mean Jurgen Klinsmann saw nothing good out of his U.S. squad.