So the US soccer team survived the so-called "Group of Death" and will advance to the next round, even though they lost the last game against Germany.
According to my coworkers and assorted Facebook friends, that is just wrong. After all, a truly American sport never rewards losers. Real Americans win or go home. See my response below the squiggle
"How can the USA advance by losing?"
Not "by" but "in spite of." In the group stage of the WC, each team gets 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw, and none for a loss. The team with the most points advances to the knock-out stage. If two teams have the same number of points (USA and Portugal), the team that won by a higher margin or lost by a lower margin (USA) advances. That's called goal differential.
Right. The officials planned to send superstar Cristiano Ronaldo home early. That makes as much sense as purposely eliminating LeBron James in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
"No American sports would allow a losing team to advance."
Didn't y'all just watch the NBA playoffs? Did the Spurs win every single game? Was winning in spite of not sweeping un-American? (rhetorical questions)
The WC has a group stage for the same reason as the NBA has best-of-seven series: more games and more revenue. Nothing communist about it.
"Why would anybody want to see a tournament where there can be a tie?"
Well, due to the goal differential rule, in the group stage, it is important to make as many goals and concede as few goals as possible. Unlike in the NBA, for instance, where a W is a W, a blowout is not only fun to watch for the supporters of the winner, but it can also decide whether a team advances or not.
A team could win 1:0 and still "lose" because another team in the group wins by a higher margin.
From the next round on, each game will have a winner and a loser, and the number of goals won't matter. This means that sometimes it is strategically expedient to defend after making the first goal instead of pushing for more. It also means that instead of draws and split points, there will be overtime and sometimes penalty kicks. Some people find that exciting, others heartbreaking and frustrating.
So how many more games do they need to lose before they are champions?
Seriously, somebody asked that. If they lose the next game against Belgium, they are going home. That's why that round of the tournament is called knock-out stage.
"I'll stick with football."
That's your prerogative, dude.