US had a 1-1 draw against Italy today, with Italy down to 10 men and US down to 9 dudes. The US team played very well, but the game was robbed/ruined by the officials (and I think you’ll find the Italians in agreement). However, the US was given a great gift from On High in the form of Ghana’s 2-0 victory over the Czechs. But it is a gift that we will have to earn in game three.
So now what, you may ask. Here’s the current standings (brought to you by Pabst):
Though US is currently in last place, there is still a very real chance we could advance. How, you may ask. First off, the US absolutely have to beat Ghana and earn three point, putting the total to four.
Now, here’s where it gets tricky. Before we play Ghana, Italy battles the Czechs. That game has three obvious outcomes, which spell out three very different scenarios for our passage into the next round. So…
1) Italy beats the Czechs. This is the idea situation. If Italy wins, they win the group with seven points, the US comes in second with 4 points. Of course we will have to most likely have to face Brazil in the following round. (Our punishment for our hideous loss against the Czechs?)
2) The Czechs beat Italy. In this case, we’d tie for second with Italy at four points. The next determining factor is “goal differential.” This is determined by your goals overall minus goals scored against you overall. Italy is currently at 2 and we are -3. If Italy loses, their differential will drop by at least one point to 1. Which means to match that we have to beat Ghana by four points. If we beat Ghana by five, we are the clear victors. If we only beat them by four, we tie Italy’s goal differential and the second place slot is decided by the third criteria: greatest number of goals scored in all matches. (I had to look that up.) This is hard to estimate, though if we did score four or more goals in a game, that sure would help. There are three more step in determining a winner, but I won’t bore you with that. But do know that if there is still no clear winner after all that, it literally comes down to “drawing lots.” Obviously this is a messy scenario and involves the US having to score a minimum of four goals.
3) The Czech v. Italy game is a draw. If this is the outcome then the US would tie the Czechs for second and again come down to goal differential. But if that game is a draw we know the Czech differential won’t change. Their goal differential would remain at 1. Hence the US still has to beat Ghana by at least four. And then it’s the same whole situation here as in #2.
Both games will be played concurrently, so that neither set of teams can play to the others’ result. Talk about nail-biting action!
In classic cliffhanger fashion here are the burning questions until Thursday:
Will Ghana prove a formidable foe after they stunning victory against the Czech Republic?
Will Italy even try to play to win since a tie still moves them on to the next round?
Could the US even score 4+ goals in a game since it appears they have to rely on the other team to score on itself for goals?
Root for Italy (Thanks Kim). Root for USA.