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U.S. Is Given 77% Chance to Reach World Cup Knockout Stage

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U.S. Soccer Fans
U.S. soccer fans watch their team play against Portugal on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 22, 2014. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

June 23 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. soccer team has a 77 percent chance to reach the knockout stage of the World Cup after surrendering a last-second goal to tie Portugal 2-2, according to projections by Bloomberg Sports.

The U.S. squad will play Germany in Recife, Brazil, on June 26 with the teams tied atop Group G with four points. Portugal and Ghana, which each have one point, will kick off at the same time in Brasilia. The top two teams in each of eight four-team groups advance to the round of 16.

With wins worth three points and draws one, a tie in either game would mean that Germany and the U.S. advance.

The U.S. came back from an early 1-0 deficit yesterday to lead Portugal on goals by Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey. The game was deep into the fifth and final minute of added time at the end of the game when Portugal substitute Varela scored with a header. The U.S. would have qualified for the round of 16 and eliminated Portugal with a win.

The Bloomberg Sports projections are based on criteria such as yesterday’s result, players’ scoring and defensive abilities, injuries, squad selections and managers.

Germany has a 99 percent chance of advancing because of the first group tiebreaker: goal differential. Germany is plus 4 after beating Portugal 4-0 and drawing against Ghana; the U.S. is plus 1 following its 2-1 win over Ghana and the draw with Portugal; while Ghana is minus 1 and Portugal is minus 4.

Ghana has a 12.1 percent chance of moving on and Portugal has an 11.8 percent chance. Germany also has 16.1 percent chance of winning the World Cup final on July 13 in Rio, second only to Brazil’s 20.9 percent chance to extend its record with a sixth championship.

Group Tiebreakers

A win over Germany, the No. 2 team in the FIFA World Ranking, would give the U.S. a Group G win and it would play the No. 2 team from Group H in the round of 16. Belgium has qualified for the knockout stage and is leading Group H with six points, followed by Algeria with three. Russia and South Korea each have one point.

The Group G runner-up takes on the Group H winner in the round of 16.

If Germany beats the U.S. it would win Group G and the U.S. would finish second unless Ghana or Portugal passed the U.S. on goal differential.

If teams are tied in points and goal differential, the next tiebreaker is which has the most goals. The next tiebreaker is head-to-head matchups, which would help the U.S., having already beaten Ghana.

Within minutes of the U.S.-Portugal result commentators were discussing the possibility of the U.S. and Germany playing to a draw to ensure both teams’ survival. U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann, 49, coached his native Germany at the 2006 World Cup and current German coach Joachim Loew was his assistant.

Klinsmann said following yesterday’s draw that he won’t be speaking with his friend Loew prior to the match.

“There’s no time for friendship calls,” Klinsmann told reporters.

Today’s World Cup games are Netherlands-Chile, Australia-Spain, Cameroon-Brazil and Croatia-Mexico.

(An earlier version of this story had an incorrect headline.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net Dex McLuskey

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