Will the USA advance? Here's your cheat sheet for ALL scenarios

06/24/2014 07:00 AM

Despite losing a chance to lock up their spot in the Round of 16, the USA is still sitting pretty nice in the Group of Death. Going into the final game of group play, here are the odds of the Americans moving on:

  • 64 percent chance of advancing
  • 32 percent chance of being eliminated
  • 4 percent chance of going to the second tiebreaker to determine which team advances (see tiebreaker situations below)

Quick recap of how a team advances from group play to knock-out rounds. Each team gets three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss. The top two point-earners advance. If two teams have the same point total at the end of group play, they compare goal differential, which is the difference between goals scored by a team and goals scored against that same team. For example, the USA scored four goals in group play and only gave up three, which makes their goal differential +1. Portugal scored two goals in group play and gave up six, so their goal differential is -4. If teams have the same point total and goal differential at the end of group play, the second tiebreaker is to compare total goals scored for each team.

Alright, now back to scenarios for this Thursday… if the USA wins against Germany, they are in the knock-out round. If either game on Thursday results in a tie, the Americans are in. But if Germany wins, that’s where things get a little tricky and we have to take into account goal differential.

Below is a cheat sheet to help you figure out whether to buy another red, white and blue baseball hat or not. The chart was inspired by this Deadspin article. Each box represents how the combined outcomes of the two Group G games affect the USA’s chance to advance to the knock out round. Ghana-Portugal is on the top, and the USA-Germany is on the left. The numbers represent goal differential of that particular game. The yellow boxes represent that pesky 4 percent, and in that case, we would have to wait until the end of both games to determine the team moving on.


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