One of the most surprising results of the 2014 World Cup group stage is that United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann is one step closer to proving himself wrong.
"We cannot win the World Cup, because we are not on that level yet," Klinsmann told The New York Times' Sam Borden prior to the tournament.
Don't tell that to U.S. goalie Tim Howard.
On Day 15, Germany dominated the U.S., possessing the ball 63 percent of the match and attempting nine shots on goal, compared to just one for the U.S. Here's Thomas Mueller's fourth goal of the World Cup that put Germany ahead and tied him for the most goals scored in the tournament with Neymar and Lionel Messi.
But five Howard saves to keep a 1-0 defeat from getting ugly kept America alive, as did Cristiano Ronaldo.
The U.S., as well as Germany, will advance from the Group of Death. But if Ghana would've beaten Portugal by the score of 2-1, Ghana would've advanced having scored more goals than the U.S. Portugal won 2-1, though, as a result of Ronaldo's game-winning goal in the 80th minute.
Portugal is edged by the U.S. due to goal differential. In Group H, Russia is edged by Algeria due to a laser pointer.
A victory by Russia would've catapulted it into the knockout round. Its Aleksandr Kokorin scored a goal six minutes in, giving it the lead most of the match.
Russia's goalie, Igor Akinfeev, had been phenomenal on Thursday and finished with five saves. However, 61 minutes in, Algeria's Islam Slimani scored off the game-tying goal that earned it second place in the Group H standings.
And seconds prior to the kick, a laser pointer was shined in Akinfeev's face.
Russia can't blame the mysterious laser for its exit or the goal that tied the game at 1-1. But it definitely could've influenced both.
Also on Day 14, Belgium stayed perfect against South Korea. The match was close, but 77 minutes in, Belgium's Jan Vertonghen scored to break the tie. It held on to its 1-0 lead, eliminating South Korea from knockout round contention.
Here are the final group standings and the knockout-round schedule.
|3||Bosnia and Herzegovina||3||0||3||1||0||2||4||1|
|Knockout Round Schedule|
|Sat., June 28||12 p.m.||Brazil vs. Chile||ABC|
|4 p.m.||Colombia vs. Uruguay||ABC|
|Sun., June 29||12 p.m.||Netherlands vs. Mexico||ESPN|
|4 p.m.||Costa Rica vs. Greece||ESPN|
|Mon., June 30||12 p.m.||France vs. Nigeria||ESPN|
|4 p.m.||Germany vs. Algeria||ESPN|
|Tues., July 1||12 p.m.||Argentina vs. Switzerland||ESPN|
|4 p.m.||Belgium vs. United States||ESPN|
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets too.
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