Losses are not easily forgotten. Players wonder how a little extra effort would have changed the game or about the wide open shot they should have made.
Now imagine the thoughts of a player whose team is up by one goal and about to advance to the next round of the World Cup. All of a sudden, with under one minute remaining, your opponent scores to tie the game.
That was the reality for the United States after tying Portugal in their second match of the World Cup.
Although it was a difficult loss, the U.S. should realize they’re still in a very good position to advance.
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Currently, the United States is second in Group G with four points. Germany also has four points, but leads the U.S. because of goal differential. Germany and the U.S. are set to play this coming Thursday, June 26. If the United States were to beat or tie Germany, the U.S. would advance.
Tying or defeating Germany, the team ranked No. 2 in the world going into the tournament, might be a very tall task and one many believe is not going to happen. However, the United States showed great talent and potential after tying Portugal. Further, the U.S., can also lose to Germany and still advance.
Ghana and Portugal are currently ranked third and fourth respectively in Group G. Both have one point and play on Thursday as well. If Ghana and Portugal were to tie, the United States would advance.
The only way for Portugal to advance is to win the game against Ghana and claim a better goal differential than the United States. Goal differential is the number of goals a team has scored minus the number of goals that team’s opponents have scored.
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Portugal’s goal differential is negative four while the United States has a goal differential of positive one. Portugal must catch the U.S. by scoring multiple goals against Ghana in combination with Germany doing the same to the U.S. If not, then the United States moves on.
Ghana is in a similar situation to Portugal. They must win and the United States must lose. Currently Ghana’s point differential is negative one. For Ghana to advance, they must either defeat Portugal by two or more goals or defeat Portugal by one goal, while Germany defeats the United States by two goals or more. If neither of those two situations occurs, the United States enters the next round.
The tie with Portugal may become a troubling memory for players if the United States does not advance. Yet, the U.S. can avoid that. Instead, the United States must forget that game and focus on doing whatever they can in order to advance.
— Andy Keller (@KellerAndy) June 23, 2014