Silvestre Varela of Portugal scores his team's second goal as goalkeeper Tim Howard of the United States looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between the United States and Portugal at Arena Amazonia on June 22, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
The U.S. team will advance if ...
01:16 - Source: CNN

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

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

CNN  — 

Colombia becomes the third team guaranteed to go through.

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.

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.

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:







Costa Rica



Brazil: 1958 and 1962





Got that?


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Host Brazil held by Mexico

World Cup schedule of matches

CNN’s Patrick Sung contributed to this report.