How can the United States advance against Germany?
The devastatingly late draw against Portugal sets up Thursday’s game against Germany as an all-important game for both sides.
The Germans are also coming off a disappointing result in their second game, though not nearly in the same fashion as the United States. Germany was a big favorite against Ghana and only came out of it with a draw.
Germany will have one advantage on the United States, as they played on Saturday, giving them an extra day of rest over an exhausted United States side coming off a 95th-minute draw.
1. U.S. wins
The United States is in the knockout round with any win over Germany, regardless of goal differential.
Both teams currently rest atop Group G with four points, though Germany has the differential tiebreaker. Regardless, a win gives the U.S. seven points, which Portugal and Ghana cannot touch win or lose on Thursday.
Oddly enough, both Germany and the United States may be looking for the least-loved result in American sports.
With Ghana or Portugal only able to get four points at maximum, a draw would give both Germany and the United States five points and passage to the Round of 16.
The tiebreaker would be goal differential, and the Germans would take that since they walked over Portugal by four goals in their World Cup opener.
3. Germany wins
The United States isn’t necessarily sunk with a Germany win, but it makes things much more complicated.
Germany will take the top spot in the group and the United States would be tied with a Ghana-Portugal winner. If those two sides draw, the U.S. advances.
But the U.S. should most be concerned with a Ghana victory, since Portugal has a minus-4 differential and a win is unlikely to get too many of those back. Ghana is at minus-1, so a win coupled with a U.S. loss would be devastating. If Ghana wins by one goal and the U.S. loses by one goal, it will come down to total goals scored by each team.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.