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World Cup: USA's chances
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World Cup: USA’s chances

The United States came away from their last game with Slovenia with a very emotional draw. While a win was ideal for the States the tie did not doom their chances of moving on. They were helped out tremendously by the England and Algeria draw later in the day. What does this all mean for the USA’s last game against the Algerians? Let me break all the scenarios down, and we’ll see what the Starred Eagles (USA), Three Lions (England), Desert Foxes (Algeria), and Dragons (Slovenia) need to do to reach the knockout round.

(I am now convinced if the US doesn’t make it through it will be entirely because we don’t have a nickname. We need to pitch Starred Eagles to the United States Soccer Federation. If I knew Slovenia were referred to as the Dragons, I would have been a lot more scared of them before the US were down 0-2.)

Here are the current Group C standings:

TEAMS W D L GF GA GD Points
Slovenia 1 1 0 3 2 1 4
USA 0 2 0 3 3 0 2
England 0 2 0 1 1 0 2
Algeria 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1

On Wednesday morning the US plays against Algeria and England against Slovenia. Here is the breakdown of all the possibilities for what could happen on Wednesday.

USA Win – Slovenia Win

If the USA beat Algeria by any margin they are through to the round of 16. It’s that simple win and they move on. Same for the Slovenians.

USA Win – Slovenia/England Tie

Again the USA would move through with a win. But in the event they win by 2 or more against the Algerians and Slovenia and England draw the US would take the top spot in the group and Slovenia would come out second.

USA Win – England Win

This is the only scenario in which both teams that were supposed to exit the group at the beginning of the Cup will do so. The team that wins by the most would take top group honors and face the second place team from Group D.

USA Loss – Slovenia Win

A USA loss sends the Americans home early from a group they were supposed to escape easily. It is not all a downer if the United States doesn’t advance to the next round. They drew with England one of the best countries in the world at soccer, and they should have had one of the greatest halves in the World Cup ever with their comeback that fell just short against Slovenia. A loss though would be a huge disappointment as the States are favored heavily over Algeria. The Slovenian win over England would actually cause the most unlikely of advancements as Slovenia and Algeria would continue on.

USA Loss – Slovenia/England Tie

A draw for English would certainly not be welcome at home, but if the U.S. loses, it would get them through to the next round with the Slovenians. It would possibly also give them another chance to gain the support of their countrymen.

USA Loss – England Win
If England beats the Slovenians and the Algerians can pull the upset, the Slovenians who looked to be in control of the group at the Half against the United States would be going home just like the U.S.

USA Tie – Slovenia Win
If the U.S. draws with Algeria they will need a little help from the Slovenians. A win by the tiny Eastern European country over England in the other Group C match would assure the United States a pass to the knockout round as the number two team. Slovenia would win the group and the USA would come out second.

USA Tie – Slovenia/England Tie
This is where the tiebreakers start coming into play. If both games on Wednesday are draws the English and Americans would have the same number of points. The Americans will advance if their total goals scored are greater than England’s total goals scored for the tournament. The USA currently leads 3-1 in goals scored over England. The Slovenians would win the group.

USA Tie – England Win

England and Slovenia would jump to the next round and the United States would be sitting wondering what happened. England would even win the group, which many would have thought to be unlikely after the first two games.

Basically every team in Group C has a chance. Which can’t be said in most of the groups. It should lend it self to a lot of do or die moments in the games on Wednesday. Both games are played at the same time (7:00am PST) which means someone will be sitting in the locker room feeding updates to the sidelines. I know I will be a nervous wreck that morning hoping the United States handles business and gets their first win of the 2010 World Cup. (First win that actually counts as a win at least.)

If the U.S. or the English or both don’t advance it would not be the only shock in the tournament so far. Germany lost to the Serbians. The defending champion Italians tied tiny New Zealand and Paraguay. Spain lost to the Swiss. Portugal scored seven goals against North Korea. It’s not a shock Portugal won, just they scored that much. Seven to nothing. Are you kidding me? That is like an American football game being 49-0. Just doesn’t happen. It’s been a crazy World Cup so far. The refereeing is getting worse, the Vuvuzela’s are getting better, and the stakes are at an all time high.

Please send any comments or questions to gheinrich@ktar.com.