Of course, had Ronaldo not made the fantastic cross resulting in the tying header, we'd be through already. In any case, here we go.
The winner of the U.S.A. vs Germany will advance as the group winner. The loser may still advance depending on the result of Portugal vs Ghana (more below).
Should the U.S.A. vs Germany end in a draw, both will advance. This naturally has people talking about the likelihood of a draw as it benefits both teams, and that may happen, but it is interesting to look at the other scenarios as we get tie-breakers.
If U.S.A./Germany does not end in a tie, we have the following scenarios:
- Ghana/Portugal ends in a draw - The U.S.A./Germany loser still advances having more points (4) than both teams (2).
- Ghana wins - Ghana would get to four points and would tie the other match loser. The next tie-breaker is goal differential and so the scores would matter.
- If the U.S.A. loses a one goal game and Ghana wins a one goal game, they would be tied on goal differential and it would come down to goals scored.
- If the U.S.A. scores the same number of goals as Ghana in the final games, they win the tie-breaker. If Ghana scores two more goals than the U.S.A. in the final games, they win the tie-breaker. If Ghana scores one more goal than the U.S.A., they remain tied and it goes to a second set of tie-breaker rules where the U.S.A. wins over Ghana since they won head-to-head.
- If the U.S.A. loses and Ghana wins by more than one goal, Ghana would advance winning the goal differential tie-breaker.
- If the German's lose and Ghana wins:
- Ghana would have to win by five goals or more, or Germany lose by five goals or more, or some combination for Ghana to advance on the goal differential tie-breaker.
- If they end up tying on goal differential (Ghana win by four or Germany lose by four or some combination), then goals scored kicks in and Germany has an advantage if they score any goals as that increases the total Ghana needs to score.
- If they tie on goals scores, the next set of tie-breakers kicks in and this isn't so easy:
- The first is head-to-head and Germany/Ghana played to a draw so the points, goal differential, and total goals are both the same.
- The last tie-breaker in then drawing of lots. Yes, it could come down to drawing of lots if Germany loses 2-0 and Ghana wins 3-0.
- Portugal wins - Portugal would also get to four points and tie the other match loser. The rest is just as above, except Portugal is at a disadvantage on goal differential would would need to win very big to win that or tie that and force another tie-breaker. And in this scenario, Germany would have the advantage should they lose over Ghana and it is Portugal/U.S.A. that could come down to a drawing of lots.
So, the U.S.A. still has a very good shot of advancing. The only way they don't is if they lose to Germany and:
- Ghana beats Portugal by more than one goal, OR
- Ghana beats Portugal by one goal and the U.S.A. loses by more than one goal, OR
- Ghana beats Portugal by one goal and the U.S.A. loses by one goal but Ghana scores two more goals than the U.S.A. does in the final games.
- Portugal beats Ghana by five or more goals, OR
- Portugal beats Ghana by four goals and the U.S.A. loses by two goals (and similar other goal differential increments), OR
- Portugal beats Ghana by four goals and the U.S.A. loses by one goal 1-0 or 2-1, OR
- Portugal beats Ghana by four goals and the U.S.A. loses 3-2 and the U.S.A. loses the drawing of lots.