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If you would have told the United States soccer team before the World Cup that it would simply need a win over Algeria for a first-class ticket into the Round of 16, the Yanks would have been delighted.
Yet, that is exactly where the U.S. stands going into Wednesday's contest against the Green Dragons. After a gift-of-a-tie against England and a two-goal comeback to tie Slovenia, the Americans sit tied for second in Group C with two points and control their own destiny with a win over group underdog Algeria.
Just as they were against Slovenia, the Yanks are the clear favorite. However, if the U.S. comes in like it did against Slovenia - giving up a goal in the first 15 minutes while playing with the pace of an ox - it will send the Americans packing.
Remember, this is an Algeria squad which is one goalie gaffe away from being level with the U.S at two points. Before holding a clean sheet to force a tie against England, it was the Algerian goalkeeper who gifted a score to Slovenia to give Slovenia three points and control of the group.
If the Americans tie, they can still advance with an England loss or tie against Slovenia - as long as the Three Lions do not outscore the U.S. by more than two goals. The Yanks have a legitimate concern against the Green Dragons as Algeria, too, can advance with a win and a little help from the English.
All scenarios aside, the situation is clear. The Americans, coming in as favorites and expected to advance from the forefront, must win.
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