United States-Guatemala: the precise qualifying scenarios

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KANSAS CITY – It’s really pretty simply for the United States: a win or draw is plenty. That will get Jurgen Klinsmann’s team into the final round.

But things don’t always go as expected, as we know. Besides, there are two other teams in this group who are certainly invested in diving into the scenario nitty-gritty.

So here, courtesy of U.S. Soccer, are the precise scenarios going into tonight 7 p.m. ET kickoff:

U.S. Win

  • U.S. wins Group A with 13 points and qualifies for Final Round
  • Guatemala finishes with 10 points and must await result of Jamaica-Antigua

U.S. Tie

  • U.S. finishes tied with Guatemala atop Group A with 11 points and both countries qualify for Final Round

U.S. Loss AND Jamaica Tie or Loss

  • Guatemala wins Group A with 13 points and qualifies for Final Round
  • U.S. finishes in second place in Group A with 10 points and qualifies for Final Round
  • Jamaica finishes in third place (with 7 or 8 points) and does not qualify for Final Round

U.S. Loss AND Jamaica Win

  • Guatemala wins Group A with 13 points and qualifies for Final Round
  • U.S. and Jamaica finish tied on points with 10 each and qualified team is determined with tiebreakers

Goal difference is the first tiebreaker if two teams are tied, followed by the greater number of goals scored. So, in the event of a U.S. loss and a (likely) Jamaican win over Antigua and Barbuda, the number to remember is three. That’s the current U.S. advantage in goal difference over Jamaica. So the Reggae Boyz’s margin of victory plus the U.S. losing margin would need to equal four. That’s the worst-case outcome from the U.S. side, one that would put the United States out.

Here are the current group standings:

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If three teams are tied, the same tiebreakers apply, but only in matches between the three teams involved.