We are all still reeling from that last-second goal by Silvestre Varela in the 95th minute.
After Clint Dempsey scored in the 81st minute, I—and many of my fellow patriots in the Tap 24 bar—believed that the United States would seal the deal against the mighty Portugal, led by Real Madrid superstar and 2013 Ballon d’Or in the World recipient, Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese side were heavily favored by many to win the game. But against the odds, the Americans—led by their Captain, the unstoppable 31-year-old Clint Dempsey, who has truly aged like a fine Malbec—clawed their way back into the game after being down 1-0 at the half.
The Americans leveled the game in the 68th minute with a goal from Jermaine Jones, and then went ahead in the 81st thanks to our fearless skipper.
We looked poised to win the game! Until that infamous header by Varela in the 5th minute of stoppage time broke the hearts of millions of Americans around the World. That header that single-handedly took the Americans out of a clinched spot in the knockout stages, and simultaneously gave hope to Cristiano Ronaldo and company.
Tomorrow at 11:00 AM (Central Time) on ESPN, at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, we go to war against powerhouse side Germany—who are coming off a 4-0 mauling of Portugal, followed by a 2-2 draw versus Ghana (whom the U.S. managed to defeat 2-1).
Here are the standings as of right now: There are three distinct ways the United States can advance from this group. We only need one of them to happen tomorrow for us to move into the Round of 16:
- The easy way. We could beat or draw Germany. This would be by far the best way to go about doing things, because it would put our fate in our own hands. But this isn’t nearly as easy as it may seem. Germany is the current 3rd best team in the World. Nate Silver, of fivethirtyeight, has given the U.S. a 14% chance of a win, a 22% chance of a draw, and a whopping 64% chance of a loss.
- The plausible toss-up. If the United States loses to Germany, but Ghana and Portugal draw in their match, the United States would advance. This could happen, but it very well might not.
- The toss-up. If the United States loses to Germany, and manages to edge out Ghana or Portugal–whoever wins their match–by goal differential, we would advance. Bear in mind, the U.S. has a goal differential of +1 and Ghana has a GD of -1. If Ghana manages to defeat Portugal 2-0 and we lose 1-0, we are toast.
But do you want to know WHY WE WON’T BE TOAST?! Because we are America. And America doesn’t quit in the face of adversity.
We also have about a 75% chance of advancing, according to statistician wizard Nate Silver–who predicted all of the Senate elections and the Presidency. So there is a very real chance that we will have something to celebrate tomorrow afternoon!
So get your buddies together, put on your red,white, and blue, and go out and support the American National Team against Germany tomorrow.
This is make or break!