The United States would have advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup if they had beaten Portugal Sunday, but a late goal resulted in the teams tying 2-2. Despite the tie, the US still has a good shot of advancing to the round of 16.
Here are the scenarios for the US to advance:
– Win or draw against Germany
– Loss to Germany and Portugal-Ghana draw
– Loss and win tiebreaker vs. Portugal-Ghana winner
The first tiebreaker is determined by goal differential (margin of victory/loss during the World Cup). The US has scored 4 goals and allowed 3 in Group G play; Ghana has scored 3 and allowed 4; and Portugal has scored 2 and allowed 6.
Ghana would win a tiebreaker with the US if either of the next two games are decided by a margin of two goals or more. Portugal would win a tiebreaker with the US if they can win big and see the US lose big (the margin of difference between goals would have to be greater than 5 total for their next two games).
The simplest scenario for the US to qualify is either of the top two scenarios, that way they would not have to worry about the margin of victory/defeat coming into play.
Both games are on Thursday. In short, here is what to root for besides a US win or draw:
1) A Portugal-Ghana tie
2) A narrow, low-scoring win by Portugal
3) If Ghana wins, hopefully it will just be by a 1-0 score