FIFA World Cup 2010: What the U.S. Needs To Advance from Group C
The U.S. and Slovenia played the cliché tale of two halves Friday morning and turned it in to the most competitive bout of the World Cup so far.
And then the referees turned the U.S. away with a phantom call that the Americans truly never got confirmation over what happened.
Nevertheless, the 2-2 draw showed the grit and incredible resiliency of the American squad.
Landon Donovan led the attack with a momentum-swinging goal early in the second half, and the Yanks stayed on the attack for the majority of the last 45 minutes.
But then the Jim Joyce of the World Cup robbed them of a late goal.
Man, I’m bitter.
Looking ahead now, the U.S. still needs a bit of help to advance out of the pool.
While England and Algeria have yet to play, their match proves to be crucial in determining who will leave Group C with a smile on their face.
So here are all the possible scenarios and what the Americans must do in order to boost the hopes of our recent soccer-crazy nation.
Situation 1. If England Beats Algeria...
If the heavily favored English can do as they are expected, the U.S. will be let down in rooting for Algeria.
The standings would look like this:
It doesn’t take Cornell West to see that the American would be outsiders looking in going into the third round of matches.
Down by two, there’s only one option they would have here against Algeria.
Defeating the feisty Algerians would go a long way in taking them to Stage Two; only because it's their only way to keep playing, as a draw or a loss completely eliminates them.
How the U.S. Would Advance from Situation One
While these fans are all smiles, they would probably be sweating off the face paint if situation one occurs.
And since the Americans' match is the last of the pool, they would already know the result of Slovenia versus England, which the U.S. hopes doesn't end in a draw.
So we want Slovenia to win.
We haven’t surrendered to the English in more than 200 years, and we aren’t starting now.
The winner of that match would have seven points, and the U.S. would have five, putting them in second and allowing them to advance.
Rooting for second place is normally unthinkable in America, but they will just have to live with it.
Just like the Celtics.
However, the dreadful situation is if Slovenia and Britain tie.
With a U.S. win and their tie, goal differential is the deciding factor because all three would have five points.
Break out the calculators because this gets hairy.
The U.S. would need to win by more over Algeria than either the Brits or Slovenians did.
Slovenia won by one, and so the Yanks would hope Britain wins by as few goals as possible, making their job a little easier.
Situation Two: If Algeria And England Tie...
Considering the dearth of scoring in the World Cup resembles Steve Carrell's prospects in 40-Year-Old Virgin, this outcome is entirely possible, even with the riveting 0-0 finish.
This creates the following standings.
This actually leaves the door open for all teams.
Algeria and Slovenia could upset both favorites with wins in their third pool play games, which would be the most unlikely thing since a Rajon Rondo three-pointer.
Or free throw. Or jump shot.
The U.S. could advance with a win or a draw in this case.
Obviously, getting up to five points could give them the first seed in the pool, giving them a more favorable match-up down the road.
How the U.S. Would Advance from SItuation Two
This scenario should give fans a lot to cheer about because it gives the most options for the U.S. to move on.
However, quantity isn’t always better than quality.
Just ask JaMarcus Russell’s bathroom scale.
If the U.S. were to beat Algeria, they would have five points.
This would either put them in a tie for first with either an English or Slovenia tie or an English win, or second with a Slovenian win.
The latter gives them a lock to advance, but the former gives them a chance at a first seed thanks to goal differential.
And what a sight it would be to come out of this pool on top.
The other way to advance would be a draw by the Americans.
With three points and a Slovenian win over England, they would stand alone in second place, ushering them into Stage Two.
And then Britain will truly be in Roo-ins.
Situation Three: If Algeria Beats England...
This kind of upset would fight for the top stunner of the tournament in Switzerland over Spain.
It’s arguable that it would be even bigger, considering most people can’t find Algeria on a map, or say what continent it's in.
If we see history happen today, then the Group C ranks look as follows:
Just like if the English win, the U.S. is stuck in third with an Algerian stunner.
Their only option would be to win against Algeria, and that would lock them into Stage Two.
But if Algeria beats England, they will have more momentum than William “The Refrigerator” Perry running down Mount Kilimanjaro.
How the U.S. Would Advance from Situation Three
The final possibility again leaves the Americans with only one choice against Algeria:
And with Bob Bradley’s “Let’s start the game off sluggish only to look scrappy in the end” mentality, it could be rough.
But that win could be gold for the U.S. defeating Algeria.
Coupled with a England win over Slovenia, this would put the Yanks in first all by themselves.
Another dream come true.
Winning the group outright could smack the U.S. right onto the international football map, which could be huge for the television market back home.
The other possibility is that U.S. and Slovenia both win, which means Slovenia grabs first and America slides into second.
While this may not be ideal, it brings a gift that can never be replaced:
England ended up dead last in the group.
I can hear Queen Elizabeth crying now.