Aug. 7, 2008
CLOSER THAN YOU THINK
Quarterfinals are a win away for U.S. men
Tianjin, China -- It's incredible what a win will do for a team.
Two victories in the Olympic soccer tournament would lift the United States into the quarterfinals.
First of all, two important things happened Thursday night. The U.S. defeated Japan, 1-0, and group favorite Netherlands played a 0-0 tie with Nigeria.
Here's the scenario:
If the U.S. defeats the highly favored Netherlands, the Americans (three points) are in because the Dutch (one point) wouldn't be able to catch them and only the Nigerians (one) or the Japanese (none) would be able to surpass them.
If the U.S. loses, the Americans still would be in the running for a spot, although next Wednesday's Beijing encounter with Nigeria would be a must-win situation.
And if the Americans tie the Dutch, they obviously still would be alive with the Nigeria confrontation still being the deciding match.
So, the U.S. will be alive until their third and final first-round match.