FIFA World Cup: Group G Scenarios For Advancement to Knockout

FIFA World Cup

There are 209 possible scenarios in Group G for advancement to the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup. It is one of a few groups where all four teams still have a chance for advancement out of the group. The United States and Germany are both level on four points with Germany ahead on goal difference, while Portugal and Ghana both have one point with Ghana ahead on goal difference as well.

The United States could advance out the group with a win, draw or even possibly a loss against Germany on Thursday. A win would mean they are top of the group with seven points and face the second place team from group H. A draw would leave them in second place behind Germany, both teams having five points, but Germany still ahead on goal difference. The American’s would therefore play the first place team from Group H. A loss by a goal or two and results going the American’s way in the other game, Ghana versus Portugal, would also leave the United States in second place.

The two games kick off at 12pm Eastern Standard Time between the two leaders of Group G and the two trailing teams. Jurgen Klinsmann, the coach for the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) has already ruled out striker Jozy Altidore for the match, but hopes the Sunderland forward will return later in the FIFA World Cup. Germany have stated that they must play cautiously and make sure they avoid defeat against an American team that will be looking to continue their exceptional run in the tournament.

Jose Mourinho has spoken out about the German team while he is the ambassador for global football for Yahoo, saying Bastien Schweinsteiger should be started in central midfield and Philipp Lahm placed back in his traditional role of a fullback for the game against the Americans. Lahm had been introduced into a defensive midfield role by Bayern Munich coach Pepe Gourdiola earlier this year, and Joachim Lowe the German coach, has also fielded the player there in both games of the tournament thus far. Mourinho believes Lahm has the ability to exploit an opponent on the wings with overlapping runs from defense, while Schweinsteiger can dictate play better centrally and has the attacking thrust that Lahm can lack.

The possible scenarios in Group G for advancement to the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup becomes more complex if the USMNT loses and Ghana or Portugal wins in their simultaneously played game. Ghana has a better chance of going through because they only have a minus one goal difference, while Portugal in contrast, have a minus four goal differential because of their first game loss to Germany. Therefore, the USMNT will be routing for a Portugal win by one or two goals for them to have a more likely chance for advancement, in case they cannot get a result against the Germans. A tie between Ghana and Portugal would send both the Germans and the Americans through to the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup regardless of the result in the other game.

Ghana has recently been linked to match fixing of friendlies before the World Cup, but the president of the Ghanaian Football Association has denied the claims. The Black Stars have a tough game against Portugal to get out of the group and become the first African team so far the tournament to do so, after the Ivory Coast was knocked out earlier today, in which a late Greek penalty kick eliminated the Elephants. Portugal on the other hand, will feel that they have had a poor World Cup performance due to their devastating opening game loss to the Germans. Even with the heroic late equalizing goal against the USMNT on Sunday the team must feel like fate is not on their side to advance. On a side note, the USA versus Portugal game set a record for viewership across the United States with an average 24.7 million viewers on Univision and ESPN accord to the Nielson Company who measures television ratings.

The number of possible scenarios to happen in the group is numbered at 209 according a report by USA Today. Of those, there are six occasions that would lead to a coin toss between the United States and Portugal. There are no scenarios where the USMNT and Ghana would go to a coin toss because the Americans hold the advantage of beating the Black Stars earlier in the tournament. The sheer number of possible scenarios out of Group G and for advancement to the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup is daunting, but many just hope for two good matches between some of the best teams in the tournament. Sadly two of them will be going home.

Commentary by B. Taylor Rash

Sources:
ESPN 1
ESPN 2
USA Today
FiveThirtyEight