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World Cup: Is Team USA finished?

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2249 GMT (0649 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sunday's tie with Portugal makes it more difficult for USA to achieve its World Cup dreams
  • The Americans secure a place if they beat or draw with Germany
  • Netherlands tops Group B with victory over Chile
  • NEW: Brazil, Mexico advance to the Round of 16 with convincing victories

How are you celebrating the World Cup? Join the global conversation on CNN's Facebook Pulse

(CNN) -- For about 13 minutes, Team USA sat at the top of its World Cup soccer group, ahead of the mighty Germany and star-powered Portugal.

Then Portugal struck back. With seconds left to play, Cristiano Ronaldo set up a header for his teammate Silvestre Varela, leaving the final score tied at 2-2.

It was a harsh blow for the Americans, but it does not end their World Cup dreams -- it just makes them harder to achieve.

Did tie end America's soccer dream?

With every team in Brazil now having played two matches, most groups now have clear winners and losers.

But not Group G. In theory, any of the four teams in the group of Germany, the United States, Ghana and Portugal could still qualify for the knockout round.

Here's how it could work for the United States.

It plays Germany, the group leader, on Thursday. Third-ranked Ghana plays Portugal at the same time.

If the United States beats Germany:

The Americans qualify for the knockout stage. Team USA would get three points for the victory, giving it seven. No other team in the group can match that, so the Americans go through to the next stage.

Is that likely?

It's possible, but it's not likely. Germany is the No. 2-ranked team in the world, and it hasn't lost a game yet this World Cup. The Americans haven't lost a game either, though.

If the United States ties with Germany:

Both teams go through to the knockout stage. Each would get a point for the draw, giving them five points each. No matter who wins the Ghana-Portugal match, neither team can end up with more than four points.

Is that likely?

The odds aren't bad. Ghana held Germany to a draw Friday, proving that it can be done.

Germany and the United States have each won one and drawn one.

Cameroon's Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, right tackles Croatia's Darijo Srna during a World Cup match in Manaus, Brazil, on Wednesday, June 18. Croatia won 4-0. Cameroon's Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, right tackles Croatia's Darijo Srna during a World Cup match in Manaus, Brazil, on Wednesday, June 18. Croatia won 4-0.
World Cup: The best photos from June 18
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World Cup: The best photos from June 18 World Cup: The best photos from June 18
Germany's Mario Gotze scores the goal that would decide the World Cup final Sunday, July 13, in Rio de Janeiro. Gotze, a late substitute, scored the goal in extra time as Germany won 1-0. Click through the gallery to see all the goals scored in the World Cup. Germany's Mario Gotze scores the goal that would decide the World Cup final Sunday, July 13, in Rio de Janeiro. Gotze, a late substitute, scored the goal in extra time as Germany won 1-0. Click through the gallery to see all the goals scored in the World Cup.
Goooal! Keeping score at the World Cup
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Photos: Every goal from the World Cup Photos: Every goal from the World Cup

If the United States loses to Germany:

It's bad, but even that's not necessarily game over. Germany would definitely finish at the top of the group, and second place would depend both on how badly the Americans lose and what the margin of victory is in the Ghana-Portugal game.

If the two teams draw, then the Americans come in second place.

If Portugal wins by a narrow margin, USA still comes second in the group and goes through.

But if Ghana wins by two or more, it'll be the Africans and not the Americans who advance -- making this the third World Cup in a row where Ghana eliminates Team USA.

Monday's matches

Brazil and Mexico advanced to the Round of 16 with victories Monday while the Netherlands' win over Chile gave it the top spot in its group and the South Americans second place.

Brazil continued its undefeated streak at home, cruising past hapless Cameroon 4-1 and earning the top spot in Group A. The Seleção will face Chile on Saturday in the Round of 16.

The Netherlands, which downed Chile 2-0 in Group B, will face Mexico, 3-1 winners over Croatia, on Sunday.

Already-eliminated Spain avoided total embarrassment Monday by cruising past Australia 3-0.

Here's a quick catch-up on which teams have already qualified for the knockout stage and which ones cannot:

Through:

Brazil

Mexico

Netherlands

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Argentina

Belgium

Out:

Croatia

Spain

Australia

Cameroon

England

Honduras

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Read: Late goal keeps Portugal's hopes alive

World Cup schedule of matches

CNN's Patrick Sung contributed to this report.

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