Just tie, baby.
I know, I know, the way we just managed to snatch a tie from the jaws of victory against Portugal is crushing — you think you’re upset, I already had the perfect Tweet written on my phone, “The US just Arya Stark’d the Group of Death!” — but let’s already put this result away and move on to the bigger issue — advancing beyond group play to the knockout round of sixteen teams is the real goal here. And we’re still in very good shape to pull that off. Both the United States and Germany have four points in Group G at present. Germany leads the group by virtue of its four goal win over Portugal. The US is three goals behind and solidly in second place with four points as well. And here’s the mathematical certainty both teams advance from the group of death with a tie.
So why risk anything with the final game of Group G on Thursday? The work’s done, let’s have a nice scrimmage, get a little run in, pass the ball back and forth and work on some set plays. Hell, instead of water breaks we could roll out a keg on the sideline and have a few beers in the Brazilian sunshine.
Most importantly, no one scores. Or if someone does score, we equalize. Let’s have a little socialism on the pitch.
The two teams would then tie atop Group G with five points each. Germany would win the group based on a better goal differential and the United States would come in second. The result of Ghana and Portugal’s game wouldn’t matter at all since the most either of those teams could manage would be four points. See, everybody wins (except for Ghana and Portugal).
So let’s go ahead and reach a gentleman’s agreement, put World Wars I and II behind us, forget about that whole recent spying on your chancellor controversy and establish our own modern day Marshall Plan — let’s have a nice game with no goals to be scored by anyone. Even steven, just like you Europeans like it. After all, our coach is a German icon. Sure, there’s been a little bad blood of late between Jurgen and his homeland, but we can hash out those differences. Jurgen can broker this deal, no appeasement jokes necessary. (If needed, I’m sure Dirk Nowitzki and David Hasselhoff can sit down for a beer and finalize all the details. Hell, if that’s what it takes, we’ll even give you David Hasselhoff to seal this deal.). We both love brats and beer too. We’re good guys, allies, really. While a tie is generally like kissing your sister, given the rewards of a tie in this circumstance a tie is more like making out with Gisele Bundchen.
So why not game the system and take advantage of the opportunities our first two games have provided both of us? Germany would probably play Algeria, presently set to come in second in Group H. You guys can wax Algeria in your sleep. Meanwhile, we’d play Belgium. Given the way we’ve performed thus far, even though the Belgians would be favored, do we really fear them? I think we’d stand a good shot at taking down the Belgians. We’d be on opposite sides of the bracket. The odds of us playing again would be negligible. But if we did play again? So be it, it would mean we’d both advanced to the semifinals or the title game.
Sure, you Germans may think you’re going to beat us, but what if you don’t? What if we come out and treat you like we did on D Day seventy years ago? What if we ransack your defense and win 2-1 or 3-1. Then what if those awful, turncoat Portuguese, realizing they have virtually no chance of advancing, don’t show up and get throttled by Ghana 3-0 or 4-0? Then my good German friends, your goal differential lead would vanish and your World Cup would be over. Sure, the odds of advancing are in your favor right now, but things can change in a hurry. Particularly when teams like Portugal realize their hopes are slim and none.
Why say no to a guarantee to win the group when there’s a chance your World Cup could otherwise end on Thursday? As if that wasn’t enough, the team that wins Group G must play on Monday the 30th. That’s a quick turnaround after a long, physical slog through Brazil. Do you really want to exhaust your legs on Thursday when you can get a nice scrimmage in and be fresh to take on the Algerians next week? Meanwhile, we’d like to stay healthy and be ready for Belgium on Tuesday of next week.
When you really analyze all the circumstance — you Germans are quite logical, right? — there’s reallly no other decision to make.
Don’t fight it, Germany, just tie, baby.