How the U.S. can advance
Friday's howling U.S. comeback against Slovenia, however dampened by the maddening loss of an apparent winning goal in the 86th minute, ultimately ensured that the Americans will advance to the World Cup's knockout phase if they win - and possibly if they tie - against Algeria on Wednesday.
A victory over Algeria would give the Americans a 1-0-2 record for five points in group play, from which the top two teams advance. If Slovenia should beat England on Wednesday, Slovenia would finish 2-0-1 for seven points and leave England (0-1-2) with two points. An opposite result would give England (1-0-2) five points and Slovenia (1-1-1) four.
Should Team USA tie Algeria, the Americans would need a Slovenia-England tie. That would give Slovenia five points to lead Group C, and both the Americans and England would have three. The tie for second place then would be broken based on total goals scored.
Going into Wednesday's games, the United States has a plus-two advantage in that department over England. If Team USA draws with Algeria and England draws with Slovenia, but England scores two more goals than the United States does in its last game, the United States and England will be even on all tiebreakers. At that point, a random draw would determine which team advances. Such a scenario has never occurred in World Cup play.
A U.S. loss against Algeria will knock the Americans out of the tournament, no matter the Slovenia-England result.