Group G of the 2014 World Cup got even more interesting on Sunday, as USA and Portugal played to a 2-2 draw that has major implications on the futures of all four teams in the group.
The outcome was almost drastically different, though. The United States were up 2-1 with less than 30 seconds left in extra time before a beautiful pass by Cristiano Ronaldo resulted in the equalizing goal. A 2-2 draw isn't a bad result for either side, but USA came within seconds of advancing into the knockout round.
U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard was clearly upset about the outcome, but he still has confidence in his teammates, via FIFA.com:
We're a little disappointed, but still optimistic. We thought we'd put one foot in the Round of 16, but we are where we'd aimed to be before the tournament: Going into the final game with a good chance of progressing. The coaching staff put in place a great game plan. Portugal didn't cause us too many problems and we could have avoided both their goals. We moved the ball around better and had the clearer chances. We're not going to let the last-gasp goal get us down.
Not a single team has advanced into the Round of 16 from Group G just yet. Ghana and Germany are also without the necessary points yet after they played to a draw as well. It will all come down to the deciding third matches of group play.
ESPN's Twitter account provided its followers with a full table of Group G:
Group G is still WIDE open. Each team has the ability to advance. pic.twitter.com/yjZsmDTknv— ESPN (@espn) June 23, 2014
Below you'll find the latest group scenarios following Group G's latest shocking result.
In the final two matches of Group G play, the United States will play Germany and Portugal will play Ghana.
All four teams still have a chance to move on, as Paul Carr of ESPN tweeted:
Updated Soccer Power Index odds to advance from Group G: Germany 98%, #USMNT 64%, Portugal 24%, Ghana 15%.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) June 21, 2014
Germany will advance if they're able to either defeat or draw the U.S. Should Germany and the U.S. draw, the result of the other game will have no impact on the group. Germany would move on as the top seed, and the U.S. would follow as the second seed.
Will Germany and the United States lock down the top two seeds?
Even a loss can propel Germany to the Round of 16 based on their advantage in goal differential, provided the winner of Portugal-Ghana doesn't make up the huge margin. It's unlikely either team would be able to do so, but remember, Portugal has already lost by four goals during this World Cup (to Germany).
For the United States, a win would clinch an automatic bid to the next round.
A loss for the United States would bring their advancement down to goal differential against the winner of Portugal-Ghana. The U.S. currently have a plus-one differential.
The chances of either Ghana or Portugal advancing are slim. To move on, one team will have to win by so much that they win in goal differential. This World Cup has proven that anything is possible, but is this really probable?
Possible and probable are obviously have entirely different meanings.
This World Cup gets more exciting by the match, and the third matchday for Group G will be one of the most thrilling thus far.
*Note: Group G scenarios courtesy of the Associated Press.