For Team USA soccer the Portugal tie is a tie, nothing more
Team USA had it in the bag.
After being down by one goal in the first half, Jermaine Jones scored to tie the game in the 64th minute. Clint Dempsey then came in to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead at the 81st. The United States had that round of 16 spot within their grasp.
But then Portugal’s Silvestre Varela literally used his head to tie the game, causing a mixture of roars and groans to fill the stadium. The crowd at Zentropa Pizzeria and Pub let out a chorus of moans and gasps, followed by a brief moment of silence and an infant crying — albeit for a different reason.
But the tie itself had little effect on me. After years of being a Minnesota Vikings fan, I’m used to the heartbreak that comes from watching your team in the lead in the closing minutes of the game, only for them to lose at the end. However, the difference here was that the match between U.S. and Portugal was a tie, but after seeing all of the frustration and anger from fans, you would have thought the U.S. lost the match by a large margin.
Still, the game was a tie and while the U.S. hasn’t advanced to the tournament, they’ll have to work harder when they play Germany later today (June 26) in their final Group G match. It’s not the end for the United States and their quest for the coveted World Cup trophy — not yet anyway.
The U.S. is tied with Germany in Group G standings. Both teams are 1-0-1 and have four points. Portugal and Ghana are also tied in the group at 0-1-1 with one point. Team USA would make the tournament if one of the three scenarios happens:
● The U.S. beating Germany would guarantee them a spot in the tournament.
● If the U.S. and Germany tie, both teams would advance to the tournament with the Americans placing second in the group.
● If the U.S. loses to Germany, they would still advance if Portugal and Ghana tie in their game.
Now if the U.S. loses to Germany and there is a winner in the Ghana vs. Portugal match, the scenario gets more complicated:
● If Ghana defeats Portugal by one goal and the U.S. loses to Germany by one goal, they would advance due to their goals-scored tally being higher than Ghana’s.
● If Ghana wins 1-0 and the U.S. loses 1-0, both teams would end up on a goal difference of zero and it would still come down to goals-scored. If both teams were still tied, the U.S. would advance since they beat Ghana in their first match.
● If Ghana wins by a couple of goals or more, or won by a single goal, the U.S would be out of the tournament if they lost to Germany by more than one goal.
● If Portugal wins, they would need a bigger goal differential deficit to advance in front of the U.S. Portugal’s goal difference is minus-four, while the U.S. is plus-one. If they end up tied, it would be whoever scored the most goals overall. After that, if Portugal and the U.S. are still tied. FIFA would draw lots to see which team advances to the tournament.
So don’t put away the red, white and blue jerseys just yet and save those emotions until after tonight’s game.
Even if the U.S. doesn’t advance to the tournament, there’s always the next World Cup in four years.
Al Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.