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Saturday, June 17, 2006

The plot thickens

The USA World Cup team still has a shot. By tying Italy in a bruising (and controversy-filled) battle, and with Ghana surprising the Czech Republic, the Americans insure that it's all going to come down to the last matches in the group Thursday morning. It's Ghana vs. USA and the Czech team vs. Italy.

It will take a USA win for the red, white and blue to have a chance to advance. And unless I'm misreading the rules, USA fans will be rooting for Italy. Here are the scenarios:

USA loses or draws -- USA is out.

USA wins, Italy wins -- Italy 7, USA 4, Czech 3, Ghana 3. USA advances.

USA wins, Czech wins -- Czech 6, USA 4, Italy 4, Ghana 3. USA-Italy tie in standings, decided by best goal differential. Right now Italy is at +2, USA is at -3.

USA wins, Italy-Czech draw -- Italy 5, USA 4, Czech 4, Ghana 3. Czech-USA tie. Goal differential currently is Czech +1, USA -3.

Both Thursday matches are at the same time -- 7 a.m. Unless Team USA falls way behind, expect to see a lot of switching back and forth between the two matches on the TV.

If the USA advances, its next (and final) opponent will likely be Brazil.

Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm talking about. True "football" fans, feel free to correct this amateur analysis.

Comments (10)

USA would have done a lot better, save for that execrable ref...

Hey, it's no more or less complicated than trying to figure out the NFL playoff picture with three weeks left in the season.

And, yes, two red cards for the US? Give me a break, especially on Pope's second yellow. That was a joke. I think the ref realized he was giving the US a huge advantage by putting Italy a man down, and then tried to even it out.

At this point, I have to say Argentina is looking like the toughest to beat.

That ref was HORRIBLE. The first red card he gave out was correct, the rest were awful.

I thought the US played very well today, until the match broke down into 10 v 9. And yes, go Italy!

If USA & Czech have the same points then USA is out because they lost to Czech, goal difference does not count.

Sir, you are mistaken. See page 40:


The ranking of each team in each group will be determined as
a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
b) goal difference in all group matches;
c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.

I've never seen a more screwed up own goal than the one today.
The Italian guy's leg went forward and the ball went backward. It was weird. I wouldn't get too upset about the refs hurting the US chances - remember, there was a bad offsides call on the Italians that cost them a goal. Wasn't the Czech game 3-0, so if you take away Italy's own goal today, I believe we're still scoreless in this thing. USA soccer has come a long way, but let's not get crazy.

1) Maestroni and Pope were damn fools for not realizing the Ref was booking people left and right. The red and second yellow cards, while harsh, were not unexpected. They should have played smarter.

2) Having said that, the ref interfered with the play too much and was horrible in the way he influenced the pace of the game.

3) The Italians in the off season take acting and diving classes.

4) I am not concerned with Brazil after watching the last two games against Croatia and Australia. The advantage of the US is their group will toughen them up for the next round, assuming they advance. Brazil will be soft.

I am not concerned with Brazil


Agree with Travis' analysis in pts. 1-3. As for the Brazil comment, I hope we get to test that hypothesis.

Ghana will be a difficult opponent for us. Fortunately, they will also be missing two key starters. So we have a good chance.

I would have preferred to see Eddie Johnson substituted for someone late in the game. He is fast and would have provided a much needed forward threat. Bruce is too defensive-minded and wish he would let these guys play. That's my opinion on why we haven't seen a US goal yet.

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