JLo’s beginner’s guide to the World Cup: Irrational United States edition
I’ve tried to stay fairly neutral and detached while writing these little World Cup missives, in an attempt to provide a bit of a service for those of you out there just coming to the game or finally noticing it. That goes out the window today. My irrational fandom side has taken over and is in full control, thank mostly to Ghana’s stunning and impressive draw with mighty Germany yesterday opening up an unlikely but suddenly plausible possibility: The U.S. could not only advance but could win Group F. Plus, I’m too nervous to write anything semi-coherent today anyway so I’ll keep this short.
Now, the realist in me realizes that Germany has struggled in their second group game in each of past several World Cups, that by salvaging a point from the match yesterday Germany still controls their own destiny in the group, and that if the U.S. fails to retain the ball the way we did against Ghana that Germany will beat us by somewhere between 6-139 goals. None of this matters, however, because the irrational fan side of me says “We beat Ghana, Ghana tied Germany, therefore we are going to beat Germany.”
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. The task at hand today is Portugal and advancing from the group, and the paradox of Germany’s result yesterday is that while we have a better chance of winning our group now, the odds of advancing have actually decreased, since a draw with Portugal would mean that we would likely need to get some kind of result against Germany, which, irrational exuberance aside is no easy task. Here’s the breakdown of all the ways that the U.S. can advance.
The one thing that makes all of those complicated permutations mute is this: Win and we advance. And I believe that we will win.
Despite the presence of Christiano Ronaldo, I believe that Ghana is a better and more dangerous team than Portugal, which played out yesterday against Germany. Win today, clinch a place in the final 16, and then let the chips fall where they may against Germany. Lead by a bounce back game from Michael Bradley, the U.S. wins 2-1 today. Probably.
Cheers and happy viewing.