Friday, June 18, 2010

Soccer Scenarios and Stuff

After a rather thrilling USA/Slovenia matchup - especially during the last day of school - it became quite clear I needed my World Cup scenarios (for Group C) explained.

Meet Koman Coulibaly. Jim Joyce thinks he blew that call...badly.
Credit: AP

Have no fear, for's Georgina Turner has us covered:

Group C is wide open after Friday's play, with three points separating all four teams. When the last two games kick off simultaneously at 10 a.m. ET next Wednesday, almost anything could happen. Here's how the various scenarios pan out for the U.S.:

If the U.S. defeats Algeria -- It will go through regardless of the other result, though its final ranking will be affected by that result. If Slovenia beats England, the U.S. will qualify second. If England beats Slovenia, it will be level on points with the U.S. and goal difference will come into play -- currently, that goes in favor of the U.S.

If the U.S. loses to Algeria -- It cannot progress to the next round, no matter the other result.

If the U.S. ties with Algeria and England loses to Slovenia -- Bob Bradley's team will qualify second behind the Slovenians.

If the U.S. ties and England wins -- England and Slovenia will qualify.

If the U.S. ties and England and Slovenia also draw -- Slovenia will top the group. England and the U.S. will be split by goal difference, but the U.S. currently has a two-goal advantage in goals scored in that category.

Be warned: If Wednesday's results mirror Friday's -- with England drawing 2-2 with Slovenia and the U.S. tying 0-0 with Algeria -- Slovenia will qualify first, and FIFA will draw lots for second place.

As for Saturday and Sunday's slates, here are 5 questions I am pondering...

1) Will the "real" Cameroon (vs. Denmark) either STAND UP or just fade away with a disappointing showing this World Cup?
2) After Germany's hiccup (or more) against Serbia earlier today, will Ghana prove to be the top dog in Group D (vs. Australia)?
3) Can Ivory Coast, with Drogba perhaps starting in Game #2, keep up with Brazil up and down the field?
4) Is Italy the next "giant" due for major disappointment in their second game?
5) How good is Paraguay?

We'll find out soon enough, right? RIGHT!?

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