This own goal by Ghana’s John Boye has the U.S. in great position to make it to the knockout round no matter what happens against Germany. Given Portugal’s horrific goal differential, the Americans are likely to win the tiebreaker for second place even if they lose against the Germans. As Nate Silver notes, the U.S. would have to lose 5–0 to fail to advance if the 1–0 scoreline holds in Portugal-Ghana. And if Ghana comes back to earn a draw, then the U.S. will advance as well. (My colleague Jeremy Stahl has all the scenarios here.)
Though the Americans will happily accept a free pass to the next round, you’d hope for better for the Ghanaians, who have been roiled by controversy over the team’s players not being paid. Ghana was also knocked out of the 2010 World Cup in heatbreaking fashion, with Uruguay’s Luis Suárez handling the ball off the line and the Black Stars’ Asamoah Gyan missing the subsequent penalty kick. Perhaps Gyan, who is on this Ghana squad as well, can offer some consoling words to his teammate.
For more on USA-Germany and Portugal-Ghana as the games happen, follow Jeremy Stahl’s live blog.