Scenario analysis: We’re not out of it yet!

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Pop quiz, hotshot: What do we know after the first set of matches in Group E?

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?

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