FIFA World Cup 2010: How the USA Could Make the World Cup Semifinals

Adam MatthewsContributor IJune 17, 2010

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 12:  The USA team (back row L-R) Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Ricardo Clark, Tim Howard, Oguchi Onyewu and Jay Demerit and (front row L-R) Steve Cherundolo, Landon Donovan, Robbie Findley, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore of the United States pose for a team photo during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between England and USA at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Although there are many matches yet to be played, it's not entirely unreasonable to imagine the USA making the World Cup Semi-finals.

Here's how that dream could become a reality:

The USA and England both beat Slovenia and Algeria. The USA scores more goals. This would make the USA the winners of Group C.

In the Round of 16, the USA would likely face Ghana, a good team, but definitely beatable. After barely scraping by Serbia on a PK, Ghana can secure second place in Group D with a good showing against a nonthreatening Australian team, who will be without Tim Cahill, their best player.

Facing Ghana in the Round of 16 would be the best possible scenario for the USA. Should the USA get second in their group, Germany would await them instead.

After taking care of Ghana, the USA would then find themselves in a Quarter-final against either Uruguay, Mexico, France, or South Korea. This match-up is still a toss up. While it can be safely assumed that South Korea will take second to Argentina in Group B, Group A is still up for grabs.

While the result of the France versus Mexico match should shed some light on Group A, at this point, I think Uruguay has put themselves in a good position to win the group with a strong 0-0 tie against France and a sound beating of South Africa.

So, let's say Uruguay wins Group A. They would then play South Korea in the Round of 16. Who wins there?

I would say Uruguay. South Korea took advantage of a weak Greece team to win 2-0, and Uruguay just seems to be playing tough so far.

So we have the USA battling Uruguay in the Quarter-finals. Very doable.

To make it to the Quarter-finals, Uruguay will have to play their hearts out four times. They are a team that succeeds with hustle and plays as a unit, but they are not the most talented squad in the tournament.

With any luck, Uruguay will wear themselves out just trying to reach the Quarter-final. The USA has a relatively easier road. The advantage of a fresher squad and the confidence of a strong showing against Ghana could give the USA an edge.

And, if the USA can beat Uruguay, they will find themselves in the Semi-finals, likely against Brazil, or less likely against the Netherlands.

So, a lot would have to fall in the USA's favor, but the Semi-finals are not impossible.

Getting out of the group is the first step.