The United States has not lost while playing in the toughest group in the 2014 World Cup. Sounds good expect that one of those games was a heart breaking tie in extra time against Portugal. The tie cost Team USA a chance to advance top the round 16. On Thursday, the United states will get another chance to advance.
All they have to do is beat one of the best soccer team on the planet to do it.
Or just not lose
Or lose, but not by too much.
In the event of a Germany or the United States win,there are a number of World Cup tie breakers that will be used to decide who advances to the Round of 16 from the Group of Death. In fact, it isn’t even necessary for Team USA to win in order to advance.
Of course Team USA will win Group G outright with a win over Germany. But Team USA could also advance to the round of 16 if they tie the Germans. A tie would give both Team USA and Germany 5 points (1 point for a tie). The best Ghana and Portugal can with a win is 4 points.
Then there are the lose and get in scenarios. If Team USA loses to Germany they would have 4 points and be tied with the winner of Portugal v Ghana. The first tie breaker in World Cup Group Play is goal differential. The US goal differential is +1. The second World Cup tie breaker is total goals scored. The Americans have 5 total goals going into their match against Germany.
So what does all this mean?
If Team USA loses and Portugal wins, the Americans will likely advance. Portugal has a goal differential of -4 and a goal total of just 2. So unless Portugal beats Ghana and out scores them at least 4 goals they will not be able to overcome both tie breakers to pass the United States.
If Team USA loses and Ghana wins the forecast isn’t as sunny. Ghana has a goal differential of -1. So if Ghana beats Portugal by more than one goal they may be able to leap-frog team USA depending on their score against Germany.
All of this has led to some speculation that the United States and Germany will purposely play to a tie in order to avoid the complicated tie break scenarios.
A win by the United States would rank as the most important victory in American Soccer History and would avoid the controversy that would come with a tie. Controversy that FIFA does not need in a country they desperately want to join the world ranks of soccer fanatics.