For failing to secure the victory with just seconds to go in their match against Portugal, the United States of America are still not safe in advancing to the next round. A win over Germany on June 26 will settle the deal although a draw could be enough for the Americans to make the knockout stage.
The latter scenario invokes the theory that both Germany and USA will take each other lightly come Saturday and there are talks that the match is already fixed.
This has also provoked soccer fans—most likely from Portugal and Ghana—to point to a previous match-fixing incident in the World Cup with similar scenario: West Germany vs. Austria way back in 1982.
For West Germany and Austria to advance from the group stages then, the former had to win by 2 goals or less. A draw or a West Germany win by 3 or more goals would have meant Austria getting the boot and Algeria replacing them as the qualifiers for the group.
“It was not to be... the West German team quickly scored a goal and then, as football fans at the stadium and in their homes howled their displeasure, both teams seemed to sit back and kick the ball around for the remainder of the game, with nobody making a serious effort to score! The game ended with a 1-0 West German win, and both West Germany and Austria moved on while the proud Desert Foxes of Algeria were relegated to the also-rans,” recounted Algeria.com in an aptly-titled article, “The Game that Changed the World Cup”
“The outcry that ensued was heard at the upper reaches of the FIFA hierarchy, which pledged that never again would matches be so grossly manipulated. At the 1986 World Cup, a new qualification system was unveiled that ensured that the final pair of games in each group were played on the same day, with the same starting times.”
32 years later, Germany and USA (and this year’s Algeria: Ghana and/or Portugal) find themselves in a similar scenario. A draw will mean both will advance to the next round but a loss for either team could mean elimination depending on the result of the Portugal-Ghana match.
"There's no such call," US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said to Yahoo Sports about match-fixing allegations. “Jogi is doing his job and I'm doing my job. I'm going to do everything to get to the round of 16. That's what I'm going to do. There's no time to have friendship calls. It's about business now."
Klinsmann, a former German national team player and coach is referring to his former ward Joachim Low, who took over the German helm when Klinsmann left in 2006.
Fighting words for a huge match-up but all soccer fans are hoping that both squads won’t channel their inner West Germany-Austria at the expense of the integrity of the sport.