What Needs To Happen For The US Team To Advance

Group C is up for grabs, but who's got the inside track? Here's a quick run through the scenarios by which the Yanks can advance to the knockout stages.

Slovenia is in the driver's seat in group C, with 4 points. The US and England each have 2, and Algeria 1. This puts the USA in control of their own destiny, because

If the US wins, they're through to the round of 16. A win would give us 5 points in the group. With England and Slovenia playing each other, there's no way both could finish with more points.

If the US loses, they're out. Ceding three points to Algeria lets them leapfrog us, and we're unable to catch Slovenia, no matter what they do in their final game.

The US could also draw their final game (they've shown themselves quite proficient at that). That's where things get complicated.

If the US draws, and England beats Slovenia, they're out. England would finish with 5, Slovenia with 4, and the USMNT with 3.

If the US draws, and Slovenia beats England, they're through to the round of 16. Slovenia would win the group with 7, the US with 3, and England and Algeria with 2 apiece.

If the US draws, and Slovenia and England draw, it comes down to tiebreakers. Slovenia would win the group with 5, and England and America would be tied with 3. Here are the variables:

•The first tiebreaker is goal differential. The US and England would have tied all three matches, so we move on.

•The second tiebreaker is goals scored. After two games, the US has scored 3, while England has scored 1. That looks good for the US, as long as the England/Slovenia match isn't high-scoring. It's possible for England and Slovenia to finish 3-3, and the US/Algeria to finish 0-0. In that case England would move on. If England/Slovenia finished, say, 2-2 and the US plays a scoreless draw, we move on to the next tiebreaker.

•The third tiebreaker is points obtained in head-to-head matches. The US and England tied, so we move on.

•The fourth tiebreaker is goal differential in head-to-head matches. Again, a tie.

•The fifth tiebreaker is goals scored head-to-head. That's one apiece, so we move on.

If the US and England are still tied after all the tiebreakers, FIFA draws lots to determine who moves on. Yes, at the most important sporting event in the world, a coin will be flipped to decide the winner.