Sports fans are all about conspiracy theories:  the frozen envelope that let the Knicks draft Patrick Ewing…Richard Petty winning race #200 the week President Reagan decides to visit a NASCAR race…Fred Swearingen ruling Steelers touchdown for the Immaculate Reception six years before calling pass interference on Bennie Barnes…Steve Sanders winning the Beverly Hills Beach Club volleyball tournament.  Sometimes something just doesn’t seem exactly right.  If the United States and Germany tie their match Thursday, both nations get through the Group Stage (which would be an achievement for the US and the bare minimum for Deutchland).  Will we buy a draw thinking what we know and knowing what we think?


Group Gor in honor of the shoes…the Franz Beckenbauer Group:

US faces Germany— a draw as we all know full well sends both teams to the Knockout Stage with Germany winning the group.  If there’s a tie in the other match both teams move on.  If the US loses they need to maintain their goal differential advantage (+1 to Ghana’s -1 and Portugal’s -4) to advance…likewise for Germany (who’s in better shape with a +4 goals advantage).

Ghana plays Portugal-– both nations need a win plus a blowout result in the other match for a shot at advancing.  Ghana at -1 would have a better chance than Portugal (-4)…further underscoring how much Sunday’s draw was worse for them than the US.


Group H– Lev Yashin Group:  not a lot of great World Cup history to choose from, so we wemt with a wiley Soviet goalkeeper in the 1960’s and 70’s.

Belgium takes on South Korea— Belgium already assured of advancing, takes the group with a win or a tie…or a loss by Algeria.  South Korea makes the Knockout Stage with a victory if Russia wins and they surpass Russia’s goal differential advantage (they’re currently -2 to Russia’s -1), or Russia and Algeria tie and South Korea outscores Belgium by 4 (3 if they surpass Algeria’s advantage of +2 in total goals).

Algeria meets Russia— Algeria’s in with a win or a tie (as long as South Korea doesn’t beat Belgium by 4 or 3 while surpassing their total goals advantage)…while Russia’s in with a victory if South Korea loses, ties or doesn’t outscore Belgium by more than Russia’s margin of victory over Algeria.