Friday, June 18, 2010

Then again...

It ain't over until the fat lady sings.

The U.S. came back to tie Slovenia 2-2. That gives them 2 points and Slovenia 4. England still has its 2nd game to play against Algeria.

The U.S. has to beat Algeria in its final game in order to have much chance of advancing.

Assuming England beats Algeria, they would also have 4 points and Algeria 0. The U.S. would then have to beat Algeria and the England v. Slovenia game would have to have a winner and loser. In that case the U.S. and the winner of the England v. Slovenia game would advance. If the U.S. defeats Algeria, and England and Slovenia tie, then all three teams would have 5 points and it would go to the tie breakers.

In the three way tie scenario, it’s quite possible the two teams to advance would end up being chosen by lot. We'll know a lot more based upon the score of the England v. Algeria game.

If England loses to Algeria or ties Algeria, then the U.S. has to beat Algeria and it doesn’t matter what happens in the England v. Slovenia game. The U.S,, with 5 points, would advance with, most likely, whomever wins the England v. Slovenia game.

It is possible that Slovenia would still advance after a loss to England if England loses to Algeria by more goals than it beats Slovenia or if England loses to Algeria 1-0 and defeats Slovenia 1-0. In the first case Slovenia would advance based upon goal differential and in the second based upon total goals.

How could Slovenia lose to England yet still advance over England? Simple, the FIFA tie breaker rules don’t give much weight to head to head competition. If two teams tie in points the first tie breaker is goal differential and then goals scored. Only if those were also even would the head to head result matter.

There is a slight possibility the U.S. could advance with a tie with Algeria. That would require England to tie Algeria and lose to Slovenia. The game between England and Algeria this afternoon will determine if this scenario stays in the cards.

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