The Clean Sheet: Good day to draw

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is holding the World Cup trophy on Univision. I miss Robin Williams.

11:43 -- Waiting for my first Heidi Klum spotting, although this co-host in the Univision studio is filling in quite nicely, isn't she?

11:44 -- Queen of the Palace was nice enough to call me into the room the other night to see Heidi Klum in all her pregnant glory in a past episode of "Project Runway". I think she's trying to warm me up to the idea of pregnant beauties.

11:45 -- I did see Heidi in the "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" on CBS earlier in the week, in her first post-pregnancy show and Tyra Banks' final spin on the runway. Fear not, UPN is re-airing it next Tuesday. Easy guys, don't do a knee running to program your TiVo.

11:49 -- Eating cold Domino's pizza for like the first time in 15 years. Yup, still fantastic. All I need now is a Shirley Temple to wash it down. Back in a second, going to get the grenadine. Funny thing is, you think I'm kidding. Always in the Palace fridge: 7-Up and grenadine.

11:52 -- Sign I know things are changing -- I just ran to measure our second bedroom to see where the crib will go. Quick, I need to burp and make a stupid lewd comment.

11:54 -- Oh, Univision, did you have to show the 1994 uniforms? Anyone else wonder what gawd-awful designs didn't make the cut if those are the ones they picked that year?

11:57 -- Switching over to ESPN2 for the ... timber sports? And you need more proof there are just too many cable channels?

11:59 -- Carson Bosworth has made it to the next round in the Hot Saw. There you have it.

12:00 p.m. -- Let's get to it so I can see the Brazil, Holland, Serbia, USA group already.

12:02 -- C'mon ESPN, don't shoot Tommy Smyth from a wide shot. He looks like Verne Troyer from there.

12:03 -- They went tight on Tommy ... and look-ee, look-ee at that multi-colored, multi-patterned tie.

12:04 -- I agree with Tommy, I wouldn't have seeded the Yanks either. And he's right, '98 killed us. You know who's national team coaching history apparently still can't rest in peace.

12:06 -- Of the seeds, I want Germany and I want to play them in the first match. We know all about hosts in the first match. Plus we owe them.

12:08 -- What is that beeping when DMB talks? I think his Hot Pocket is ready in the microwave.

12:11 -- Guess DMB disagrees with me, says he wants no part of Germany.

12:12 -- Did they just show a clip package of the Portugal upset and not show John O'Brien's goal ... as in "Where when you when John O'Brien scored against Portugal?"

12:14 -- Love the highlights of the big win over our buddies south of the 2-0 border. But I have a bad feeling they are going to get grouped with Togo, Angola and in a special FIFA decision, Chivas USA.

12:16 -- Great point by Tommy. Who is the Yanks' back-up keeper in Germany anyway?

12:17 -- Now there's the Tommy we know and love. He just said the key to how we will do in the World Cup depends on what happens in the draw. Kids, you can't find analysis like that anywhere else.

12:23 -- Asking if Brazil is a contender or a pretender? C'mon there are better things to do with our time.

12:24 -- Celo with a little shot at Juergen Klinsmann's choice to live here in California. Nice.

12:32 -- The gratuitous adidas commercial with Steve Ralston is a little much. Let's work on some less-forced branded integrations going forward, OK guys?

12:40 -- Finally! Off to Leipzigland.

12:41 -- Roger Milla stopped playing finally? He and Preki were in a pretty good race to see who would play until they were 70.

12:43 -- It's OK you can't hear anything they're saying, they just make up the rules as they go along anyway. I think he just said, "Um, Mexico has six letters, some cities at a very high altitude, and has the world's record for beer ads everywhere you go. Therefore, they have to go to pot 4 and play two African teams and the East Idaho State girls JV team."

12:44 -- First ball out finally ... Eng-er-land into Group B.

12:46 -- In four years, ESPN should have American commentators instead of the world feed, that way then can be telling us what every pick means for the Yanks. Make a note, John Skipper.

12:47 -- Good draw for England, getting Paraguay first.

12:48 -- See what I mean!?!?!? Mexico gets Angola. Somewhere, Charles Barkley is looking at his elbow and grinning.

12:54 -- Argentina and Holland in the same group! Wow! The Bruce just threw up in his mouth. A lot.

12:55 -- How does Brazil always get these weak groups?

12:56 -- France, the Swiss and Togo ... that's the group the Americans want right there. Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia would work as well.

12:59 -- Ladies and gentlemen, Heidi.

1:01 -- Here we go, Heidi is gone and it's time to get down to business. Here is who will start with Germany?

1:02 -- Costa Rica gets the spot ... that's a nice group with Poland and Ecuador.

1:03 -- There it is! OK, Trinidad goes into the England, Sweden, Paraguay group -- so we have Italy, Ghana and the Czechs! Yikes. This will be borderline brutal but it could have been a little worse, I guess ...

1:04 -- Oh, ESPN. The world feed already told us it has to be the Italy group, yet Dave Revsine and his producers hadn't sorted that out when he came on to update us about the college soccer and said we haven't been placed yet.

1:07 -- OK, switch to ESPNnews, quick. Great, just in time to hear them ask DMB about Landon as a leader. I'll take time-filling for $200, Alex. That's enough for me.

1:23 -- Whoa! Dave Revsine exclusive! He just said this will be Pat Noonan's first World Cup when he takes the field! Wow, he must be tight with The Bruce to know that Noonan is not only going to make the team, but get to play!

1:30 -- Clip and save -- Tommy picks the Italians to win the whole dance.

So, what just happened?

Did the Americans get the "group of death"? Not from the world's perspective, but it was a pretty tough draw. That Argentina-Holland-Serbia-Ivory Coast group is downright mean and nasty. Conventional wisdom around the world will say the Italians and Czechs got a great draw.

Bottom line is the Americans have two very sexy matches against European powers Italy and the Czech Republic, and Ghana will be no push-over of course. Starting off against the Czech Republic is a pretty miserable draw, but so was Portugal, wasn't it? They are huge up front and strong throughout, so it'll be a tough way to get started.

As for Italy, while they are not quite as strong as a typical Italian side, this ain't gonna be easy. They are still rigid at the back, and should the Americans fail to get a result in the first match, the added pressure won't help.

Obviously, all signs point early on to the Americans needing a result against Ghana to slide though after stealing something in one of the first two matches.

Can the Yanks get out of the group? Of course they can. Could the draw have gone better? Sure. But the Bruce and his staff have earned the trust of the American fans that they will have a game plan to make their team competitive.

Looking around the draw, Brazil's group is a joke, not that it matters. The news was just as good for the French and the Spaniards, both of whom I would have rather had the Yanks play than Italy (or the Czechs to be truthful). Sven's Eng-er-land can't be too disappointed either.

Let the debates begin ...

The Clean Sheet views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com. Send any questions and comments to tcsresponses@yahoo.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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