Jun 24, 2014; Sao Paulo, BRAZIL; USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann talks with his players during team training at Sao Paulo FC. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

World Cup: Clinching Scenarios for Team USA

With 94:30 of the 95:00 minutes in Team USA’s match against Portugal in the books, the US Men’s National Team looked to be well on their way to winning their second consecutive pool match and clinching a spot in the Round of 16.

Just thirty seconds later, the entire country was left in a state of shock, after Portugal tied the game on a last second header, set up by Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. More importantly, the US had failed to clinch a spot in the next round, keeping all four teams in Group G alive.

So the million-dollar question remained: How do the men in Red, White and Blue make it to the Knockout Stage?

If you’re a causal fan who wants the simplest of scenarios, any one of these three, basic, tiebreak free outcomes would result in the advancement of Team USA:

  • Team USA defeats Germany (Thursday at 11:30am)
  • Team USA ties Germany
  • Portugal and Ghana tie, regardless of the score

If you’re interested in a more in-depth look, here are a few scenarios in which the USA can advance, even with a loss to Germany and a winner in the Ghana/Portugal Matchup:

  • If Germany defeats the USA by 1 goal
  1. Ghana must win by only 1 goal
  2. Or, Portugal must win by 4 goals or less (i.e. 5-1, 4-0)
  • If Germany defeats the USA by 2 goals
  1. Portugal must win by 3 goals or less

NOTE: If Ghana wins outright in this scenario, they advance

  • If Germany defeats the USA by 3 goals
  1. Portugal must win by 2 goals or less

NOTE: If Ghana wins outright in this scenario, they advance

  • If Germany defeats the USA by 4 goals
  1. Portugal must win by 1 goal

NOTE: If Ghana wins outright in this scenario, they advance

Some of the above scenarios would result in dead ties between the USA and Portugal, depending on the score, (for example, if Germany beats the USA 4-0 and Portugal defeats Ghana 2-1) which would require a coin-flip to determine who advances.

One thing that is certain: You don’t want to miss the matchup between the USA and Germany this coming Thursday. It is sure to be an instant classic.


In a dream world, the USA beats or ties Germany, and we take care of business ourselves. However, much like many of the teams I root for (Mets, Jets etc.), this team has proven to be heartbreakers. They played an unbelievable match against Portugal and still only managed a draw. Reminds me so much of those 14-hit, 1-0 games the Mets seem to lose once a week.

I just wish Jürgen Klinsmann (who you’ll remember is a German hero) could tell Germany to just kick the ball around with us on Thursday. After all, a 0-0 draw would be an ideal outcome for both squads. Germany would win Group G outright, the US would advance as the group’s runner-up, and all the while, both the teams would have a little rest before the next round.

Too bad FIFA doesn’t fix the World Cup, however.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what this outcome is on Thursday. I think I speak for all of New York and the country when I say: I couldn’t be more excited.



Tags: Jurgen Klinsmann Team USA World Cup

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