The United States and Germany both have four points at the World Cup and are atop Group G over Ghana and Portugal, who have one point each. In group play, victories are worth three points and draws are worth one. All four teams have one game left.
Germany and the U.S. play at 11 a.m. Thursday in Recife, and Ghana and Portugal will kick off at the same time in Brasilia.
Here are the scenarios for the Americans to advance:
If the United States wins: The Americans would advance as the winners of Group G and play the second-place team from Group H. Germany would finish second unless Ghana or Portugal won and passed Germany on goal differential. Germany is plus-4, Ghana minus-1 and Portugal minus-4. The second-place finisher plays the winner of Group H.
If Germany wins: Germany wins the group. The U.S. would finish second unless Ghana or Portugal won and passed the U.S. (plus-1) on goal differential. So if the Americans lose, they will be rooting for Portugal.
If Germany and the U.S. draw: Germany wins the group; the U.S. finishes second. The result of the other game is meaningless.
If Ghana and Portugal draw: The U.S. and Germany advance. Germany wins the group unless the U.S. wins Thursday.