World Cup Soccer for Dummies: USA vs. Germany and What Can Happen Next

The FIFA World Cup Soccer games are being played out in Brazil and zillions of fans all over the planet are watching. It is especially nail-biting for those watching from the 32 countries that still remain in the running for the prized Cup. And, as we know the United States is one of them. YEA! Today we are playing Germany.

Now, I am not a huge soccer fan (OK pretty fair-weather), but I am learning the game under the excellent tutelage of My Sports Guy. He is a life-long soccer fan and former player (college level). He is also very patient with his only student.

How many times has he stood in front of the TV, and pointed like a classroom professor to the tiny players on the large screen and said, “Do you see the triangle? This is the play…the triangle…the triangle.” My eyeballs would attempt to follow the geometric pattern that, as he swears, is the key to goal scoring. I tried to be attentive.

OK – today I have to get on the bandwagon – USA vs. Germany – apparently a crucial game. How crucial? Truthfully, I didn’t know. But I was about to find out.

Let me backtrack to early this morning. I saw something on the internet that caught my eye: Apparently, the USA team coach, Jurgen Klinsman (ironically a German) had posted a “fill in your name” form letter from him to be given to your employer. In it he pleads the case for (NAME) to be given the day off (today) to cheer on the USA team in this critical game. As he said, "we need the full support of the nation."

Wow – will employers comply? In the letter, the Coach implored employers to consider a day off for all, even though "it may reduce the productivity of your workplace." Will the stores be closed, no buses or trains, will the power go out!?! Well if no one is working and everyone is watching – I want to go to the party.

As I am reading this, My Sports Guy sits down at the table with his coffee. “Honey, how crucial is the soccer game today?" I ask.

His astute explanation starts out with a simple, “If we WIN or TIE with Germany – we will advance.”

OK – I get it – sounds good. “However,” he continued…and then it got complicated. He drew the diagram of the actual 3 scenarios of the multiple possibilities of other combinations of how we could also advance.

a diagram of how the USA Team can advance
This involved not only Germany, but Ghana and Portugal if we lost today. Then the levels of tie breakers and what he referred to as goal “differentials” and on and on – who scored more goals – how many against them – who had the most attractive uniforms (kidding) – you get the picture. He even thought – although it would be very remote – that it could even get down to a coin toss.

OMG – déjà vu ….”Just like football (American football),” I remembered. My Guy had given me a similar lesson, complete with diagram a while back.

a previous diagram on how the Bears could have advanced in the  Super Bowl playoffs

a previous diagram on how the Bears could have advanced in the
Super Bowl playoffs

He was explaining how the Bears could advance in the playoffs leading to the Super Bowl, which also as a remote possibility could end up in a coin toss. Do they do a coin toss to determine who gets to “call it” heads or tails? Complicated.

OK – Have to watch the game while the diagram strategy is still in my head. June 26th, 2014 – a national holiday? Thank you Coach. GO USA!

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