Anticipation is building for the U.S. men’s national team’s showdown with Germany Thursday. The Americans need a win or a tie to decide their own fate; a loss would mean they need help to advance to the round of 16.
The game will start at noon, ET, Thursday — when the other Group G match, between Portugal and Ghana, also starts. You can follow the game or just comment on the action here at The Two-Way tomorrow. For now, we’ve rounded up analysis and predictions.
- From Time: “The Americans have to be aware of the fearsome German counterattacks, with Mesut Özil at the fulcrum and Thomas Mueller providing the finishing. Germany has torn teams like England to shreds employing it. And don’t forget what former U.S. keeper Kasey Keller calls ‘monsters in the box.’ Germany has always relied on scoring goals by winning free kicks or corner kicks and sending a bunch of giants into the penalty box for headers.”
- Noting that both Germany and the U.S. have four points in their group, Business Insider reports, “There’s an argument based on game theory that both the United States and Germany should pretty much just stand around the ball during their match on Thursday.” The reasons are related to the “stag hunt” dilemma, which tests ideas of cooperation and competition.
- Reuters recalls when that scenario played out in infamous fashion — back in 1982, when the West German team was part of the “Disgrace of Gijon,” a 1982 World Cup match in which both that team and Austria played to an uncompetitive draw to advance.
- “How will the German-Americans play?” is the question asked by USA Today’s For The Win blog, noting that there are five German-Americans on the U.S. squad, along with German coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “We are going to play this game to win it,” Klinsmann said Tuesday. “We are not made for going into a game to end with a tie, that’s just not in our DNA and it’s not even in the DNA of the German side so they are both teams that want to get the results, both teams want to win the group.”
- Others are wondering about U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley, who was criticized for his play in the hot and humid conditions of the Portugal game Sunday. Recalling that Bradley “missed a clear scoring chance and gave the ball away too many times” Sunday, Tre’ Atkinson writes for Bleacher Report, “The Germans are known for having a very strong and physical midfield, and Bradley is just the person America needs to hold up play and cause problems for their European rivals. The 26-year-old is needed more than ever, and now is the time to remind fans just how important he is to this team.”
- If you plan to watch the match at an outdoor viewing party, “There will be a risk of showers and thunderstorms affecting outdoor venues in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Miami and Orlando,” reports Accuweather. The site adds, “For fans watching the game outdoors in Chicago, any thunderstorms should hold off until after the game is over. Spotty showers across the Northwest may add to the cool outdoor conditions in Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
- If you want to watch the game but can’t get to a TV, that’s a problem — particularly if you don’t have a cable subscription that can let you get past ESPN’s gateway to watching online. Quartz has some tips about how to catch the game — such as watching the free feed from Univision, which has the Spanish-language rights in the U.S.