The U.S. men’s national team begins its World Cup campaign Monday at 6 p.m. against Ghana.
Before that game kicks off, the two heavyweights of Group G — Germany and Portugal — meet in a highly anticipated match-up in Salvador at noon.
U.S. fans should be rooting for Germany. Specifically, U.S. fans should be rooting for Germany to beat Portugal by a huge margin.
The most realistic path to the knockout stage for the U.S. involves Germany winning all its group games. Under that scenario, the U.S. could get out of the group on goal difference if it beats Ghana and ties Portugal (or vice versa). The U.S. would get out of the group outright with wins over Ghana and Portugal.
The odds of the Americans finishing above Germany in Group G are slim. Germany is one of the four favourites to win the tournament. According to the advanced stats from Bloomberg Sports, there’s only a 23% Germany loses to Portugal, a 11% chance they lose to Ghana, and a 13% chance they lose to the U.S.
So the more manageable path for the U.S. is if the Germans just destroy everyone, and the USMNT finishes second in the group above Portugal.
Since goal difference is the tiebreaker, American fans should also be rooting for a huge Germany win. If the U.S. and Portugal end up tied on points, the team that loses to Germany by the lowest margin will probably end up going through. A huge Germany win on Monday (like, 4-0) would greatly increase the chances the U.S. ends up with a better goal differential than Portugal, meaning the U.S. would likely sneak into the Round of 16 by going 1-1-1 in the group.
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