How the US World Cup team can lose and still advance
Soccer

There are 95 scenarios in which the US soccer team can lose to Germany and still advance in the World Cup

6/23/14 in Soccer   |   JoeKukura   |   492 respect

Blog Photo - How the US World Cup team can lose and still advanceYou've surely been made aware the US men's soccer team can advance to the round of 16 with a win over Germany on Thursday. You are probably also aware that the US team can advance with a tie against Germany. But there are also numerous scenarios by which the US team can lose on Thursday and still advance into the knockout round. These "lose and still advance" scenarios all depend on the outcome of the Ghana-Portugal match.

Oh, and that Ghana-Portugal match on which US has so much riding? It will be played at the exact same time as the US-Germany match -- 12 Noon ET / 9 a.m. PT on Thursday.

So let's take a look at the scenarios in which the US can advance in the World Cup, even if they do not beat Germany.

Blog Photo - How the US World Cup team can lose and still advanceSome wiseguy made a chart (seen left) showing scenarios in which the US would advance (here's the full-size version of the chart). The green fields are scenarios in which the US would lose and still advance (95 different possibilities!). The red fields are scenarios in which the US would lose and be sent home. The yellow fields are coin toss scenarios.

And of course you can trust FIFA in a coin-toss situation, it's not like they have any major corruption scandals going on or anything.

Notice how the top half  of the above graphic has more red fields, and the bottom half has more green fields? That's because the top half shows scenarios in which Ghana wins, and the bottom half shows scenarios in which Portugal wins. It's easier for the US to advance if Portugal wins.

The tiebreaker on points is goal differential. The US currently has a +1 goal differential, while Ghana has a -1 differential and Portugal's is -4.

Of course, the US goal differential won't stay at +1 unless the team ties Germany.

The bottom line is that the US can still advance with a loss to Germany. The team will advance if they lose to Germany, but maintain a goal differential larger than either Portugal or Ghana.

To put it most simply, the US is in trouble if they lose by more than one goal on Thursday and Ghana wins by multiple goals.
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