a) That the US looked outclassed by Czech
b) That both Italy and Ghana looked better than the US
c) That it strains belief that the US could win a goal differential tie-breaker at 1-1-1
d) That the US needs victories over both Italy and Ghana to get through to the knockout round
e) All of the above
f) a, b and c only
The correct answer is f.
At this stage, the most realistic chance that the US has is not to win against Italy and Ghana – I would argue that it would be foolish for the US to come out attacking too hard against the Italians, exposing their back-line to the kind of 2-on-2s that Czech brutalized them with. Nor is it to win on goal differential – at minus 3 after 1 game that ain’t gonna happen.
At this point, what the US needs to get through is:
1. Earn a draw against Italy
2. Beat Ghana
3. Have Ghana beat Czech
4. Have Italy beat Czech
Final Group E standings in this scenario:
1. Italy 2-0-1 7 pts
2. US 1-1-1 4 pts
3. Czech 1-2-0 3 pts
4. Ghana 1-2-0 3 pts
Note that this is not a crazy scenario. Any questions?