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USA’s hopes of advancing past Group G likely hinge on German domination

May 25, 2014, 11:49 AM EDT

PodolskiEagle Getty Images

The German national team is dealing with more than its fair share of injuries ahead of the World Cup in Brazil less than a month away.

Both Mario Gomez and Ilkay Gundogan were left off the 30-man roster, Lars Bender won’t be making it to Brazil thanks to an injury, and Sami Khedira looked sluggish and uncomfortable in the Champions League final as he works his way back from an ACL tear. Those are just the definitely misses.

While most fans in the US aren’t shedding any tears for their fellow group members, those who will be watching in hopes their country makes it out of the “Group of Death” should take a closer look at how things could play out.

The best hope the United States has of advancing past the group stage in this World Cup will likely depend on Germany dominating the group, and their failure to do so could mean a quick exit for Jurgen Klinsmann and company.

The group is Germany’s to lose, that much is given. So if that ends up being the case, the rest of Portugal, Ghana, and the US are fighting for the #2 spot.

Therefore, if Germany doesn’t win the group in dominating fashion, it will have dropped points to those battling with the US for the second spot.

In addition, an interesting scheduling tidbit could end up benefiting the US should things play out.  The United States plays Germany last in the group, which could be a positive if the Germans already have the group’s top spot locked up.

The US has already defeated a German “B” team 4-3 last June with a squad very similar to the one going to Brazil this summer.  If the European powerhouses already have the group wrapped up, they could start a number of replacements, and the United States could have a chance to pick up a vital point or even three.

In addition, goal differential could very well be a factor in determining that second spot.  Theoretically, if the United States beats Ghana and draws Portugal, those four points could be the same total Portugal ends up with.  Therefore, it could be vitally important to either the US or Portugal that Germany demolishes the other.

This is all, obviously, contingent on the most important thing for the US, which is taking care of their own business.  The Americans won’t go anywhere if they can’t pick up points on their own.  But outside help will likely be needed as well.

So while the Germans are sweating out their mounting injuries, US fans should be quietly cheering them on, hoping the Germans do indeed dominate Group G, opening the way for the Americans to make a move on the Round of 16.

RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly

  1. jucam1 - May 25, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    JK, just focus on getting the young guys playing time and experience, you might not win a game this cup, you probably are gonna get destroyed, but experience for 2018 will be huge. And you will then have the ability to recruit kids that have American ties like Green to bring good foreign talent in. Stay with the plan that you have been working on. The US has a much more realistic shot in Russia.

  2. noahbird - May 25, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Not optimistic…

  3. ws0001 - May 25, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    I disagree. Win, lose, or draw with Ghana, the US is better off if Portugal and Germany draw. One would always prefer fewer points being put up on the board when looking to advance, particularly when the team is a betting dog in all three matches (for people who take issue when I say they are bringing the least talented team to the group this is at least quantifiable). The US is going to need to win at least one match to advance, and the way a victory goes the furthest is for the matches they aren’t involved in to be draws.

  4. seanb20124 - May 25, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    Any Germans on team USA good enough to play for Germany?

  5. josephurban - May 25, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    Ghana 2-USA 1. Portugal 4-USA 1. Germany 2-USA 0. Post tournament interview. JK says the US needed more experience on the pitch. Blames the players for lack of effort.

  6. kh2468 - May 26, 2014 at 1:22 AM

    This article is spot on. The odds of the US advance greatly if Germany beats both Ghana and Portugal no matter what the results are for the US. 3 or 4 points can be enough to advance if a single team dominates. There are even scenarios where 2 points are enough. That being said if both the US and Germany win their first games any US fan will feel a lot better about their chances to advance. That’s why all you hear Klinsmann say is Ghana, Ghana, Ghana these days.

    • mikeevergreen - Jun 4, 2014 at 3:35 PM

      2009 Confed Cup.

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