The Washington Post

Team USA should root for Algeria as opponent


The United States needed some help from Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal, but the Americans have made it through to the ‘knockout stage’ of the 2014 World Cup despite losing to Germany, 1-0, on Thursday. That means they will face off against the winner of of Group H, which will be either Belgium or Algeria.

According to Squwaka’s Performance Score, which measures a team’s ability to positively influence a game of football, the best outcome for Team USA is for Belgium to lose to South Korea by one goal or more and have Algeria beat Russia by one goal or more, which would see Algeria win Group H and become USA’s opponent.

Source: Squawka

Despite Algeria being the softer opponent, Team USA will still have their hands full with defender Rafik Halliche. Halliche has completed 77 percent of his passes in the World Cup and has gotten better defensively in each match he has played.

Rafik Halliche Defensive Actions, 2014 World Cup (Source: Squawka)
Rafik Halliche Defensive Actions, 2014 World Cup (Source: Squawka)

He also scored this goal in minute 28 off a header against South Korea.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.



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Neil Greenberg · June 26, 2014