COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil -

The United States will play Ghana, Portugal and Germany in a tough first-round group at next year's World Cup.

Making their seventh straight appearance at soccer's showcase, the Americans were drawn into Group G and will open on June 16 in Natal against Ghana, which eliminated the Americans from the last two World Cups.

With the longest travel schedule of any World Cup team at almost 9,000 miles, the U.S. meets Portugal and Cristian Ronaldo on June 22 in the Amazon rain forest city Manaus.

The Americans close group play on June 26 in Recife against Germany, which beat the U.S. in the 2002 quarterfinal. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann chuckled when he mentioned his countrymen.

"I think we hit one of those really big, killer groups," said Klinsmann. "It couldn't get bigger, it couldn't get anymore difficult."

The groups are posted below:

World Cup groups