By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
The USA wraps up the group stage of the Women’s World Cup tonight against Nigeria at 8pm on Fox. After two games in the group stages, the US has 4 points via a 3-1 win over Australia and a 0-0 draw against Sweden the last time out. The US was expected coming into the World Cup to win their group and advance to the knockout round. This match will determine if they are able to do so. The US is ranked significantly higher in the world rankings than their foes this evening (2nd as compared to 33rd). So, the women should be able to do it. What are all the scenarios for the US to be able to advance? They go as follows according to ussoccer.com:
USA Finishes 1st in the Group:
-With a win over Nigeria tonight
-With a draw against Nigeria and a draw between Australia and Sweden.
-With a draw against Nigeria and if Sweden beats Australia by a single goal. (Based on goal differential the US would be ahead of the Swedes)
-With a loss to Nigeria and Sweden tying Australia
USA Finishes 2nd in Group:
–With a draw against Nigeria and Australia beating Sweden.
-With a draw against Nigeria and Sweden winning by two or more goals against Australia.
-With a loss to Nigeria and Australia vs. Sweden ending in anything but a tie.
-With a loss to Nigeria and a draw between Sweden and Australia as long as the US has more “goals for” than Australia
USA Finishes 3rd in Group:
-With a loss to Nigeria by two or more goals.
Keep in mind that if the USA finishes in 3rd (highly unlikely but possible) they would be in danger of not advancing into the knockout rounds. The top 2 teams in each group automatically advance with the next 4 best 3rd place teams advancing based on multiple tiebreakers. The most likely possibility is that the USA will advance, and more than likely as the number 1 team in their group which would give them an “easier” route to the finals. Still, there’s been an uncharacteristic lack of scoring from this team so far in this tournament and if that continues, they will see an early exit.