The U.S men’s soccer team controls its own destiny in the 2014 World Cup, despite a heartbreaking draw with Portugal on Sunday.
Team USA earned a 2-2 result with Portugal in their second game of group play. The U.S. was less than a minute away from winning the match and advancing to the Round of 16, but a header by Silvestre Varela, which was assisted by Cristiano Ronaldo, tied the score and gave both teams a point in the Group G standings.
With all four teams in Group G scheduled to play one more game, Germany and the U.S. are tied for first place with four points. Germany’s goal differential gives them the tiebreaker, while Portugal and Ghana each have one point in the standings.
Team USA’s fate will be decided on Thursday, when they play Germany, and Portugal takes on Ghana. Both matches are set to start at the same time.
Here’s a look at all the possible scenarios for the U.S. to advance out of Group G.
USA win over Germany
Not only does a victory for the U.S guarantee them a spot in the next round, but it would put them in sole possession of first place in Group G.
USA tie with Germany
Both the U.S. and Germany would advance with a draw.
USA loss to Germany and Portugal-Ghana draw
If Portugal or Ghana wants to move past Germany or the U.S. in the standings, they’ll have to get a victory.
USA loss to Germany and tiebreaker over Portugal-Ghana winner
Even if the U.S. loses, they’ll likely have the tiebreaker over Portugal, with whom they currently have a +5 advantage in goal differential. Ghana has a much better chance of getting hold of the tiebreaker, considering Team USA has a +2 goal differential advantage over them. A U.S. loss, coupled with a two-goal victory by Ghana, would eliminate the Americans.