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Germany, US Face Off as World Cup Closes Pool Play

FILE - The United States' Clint Dempsey works out during a training session in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 20, 2014.
FILE - The United States' Clint Dempsey works out during a training session in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 20, 2014.
VOA News
Eight teams are playing Thursday in the World Cup's last day of pool play, and each has a chance -- some of them small -- to move on to the final round of 16 in Brazil.
 
The marquee matchup is the United States facing Germany in a battle of the two teams leading Group G. Both move on with a draw, but either team could still qualify with a loss if the other game in the group, Ghana against Portugal, ends in a draw.
 
Ghana and Portugal need Germany to win to have their best chance of advancing, but even then Portugal would need to rout Ghana in order to have enough goals to leap over the U.S. in a tiebreaker.
 
In Group H, Belgium has already earned enough points to move on and needs only a draw to clinch first place. It takes on a South Korea squad that like Portugal needs a blowout win, and some more help, to have any chance to advance.
 
Algeria is second in the group and goes to the so-called knockout round with a win over Russia, but a draw or a loss would open the door to South Korea.
 
The round of 16 begins Saturday.
 
Switzerland, France and Nigeria claimed their spots on Wednesday.
 
France played Ecuador to a scoreless draw in Rio de Janeiro to finish first in Group E with seven points. 
 
Switzerland earned its place in a 3-0 win over Honduras thanks to Xherdan Shaqiri, who scored all three goals for the Swiss.
 
Despite losing to Argentina in Group F play, Nigeria advanced to the knockout round after Iran fell to Bosnia-Herzegovina in Salvador, 3-1.
 
Argentina, which came into the day having already clinched its place, finished first in Group F with nine points followed by Nigeria with four.

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