Were you not one of the over 26 million people that tuned into the U.S.A.-Portugal game on Sunday? If you are, well, let's just keep that to yourself and pretend you did watch. At this point, you have no choice. In just a few hours, the United States Men's National Team (USMNT) will face off against a mighty German squad that's looking to cement their reputation as one of the tournament favorites.
Now there are a lot of crazy scenarios that could play out (all of which can be seen in this chart made by Yahoo! Sports) but the bottom line is that if the U.S. wins or draws, they will advance to the knockout stages. If the U.S. lose, their fate will rest with the result of the Portugal-Ghana game that will be played simultaneously.
Kickoff for both games is at 11 a.m. U.S. Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann even wrote you a note to get out of work (seen above).
Kickoff: 11 a.m. - What's that? You can't make it to a bar because you have to work? Oh, that's no problem, just QUIT YOUR JOB. Or, you know, don't be a true American. Whatever.
How to watch:
On TV: ESPN, Ch. 35/1035 on Cox, Ch. 206 on DirecTV and Univision, Ch. 50/1050 on Cox and Ch. 402 on DirecTV.
Deadspin put together a video that simultaneously plays English and Spanish commentary and — surprise, surprise — the Univision announcer completely overwhelms the ESPN commentary. If you want to add an extra bit of drama to the proceedings, Univision is the clear choice. (As always, if you're actually trying to learn about the game a bit and gain insight through real-time analysis, then yea, ESPN is the way to go).
With Other People: Pretty much any sports bar with a TV should have the game (WWNO has a helpful map of where to go, as does Eater NOLA). But if you really want to immerse yourself in World Cup excitement, there are two places that stand above the rest:
1) Rendezvous Tavern on Magazine Street: The New Orleans Chapter of the American Outlaws will be hosting another watch party beginning at 10:30 a.m. with drink specials ($10 buckets, $1 imports and $5 Big Bloody Marys) and La Cocinita will be serving food out front. Rendezvous is also going to be bringing in extra televisions to accommodate any overflow.
2) Finn McCool's: This could very well be your last chance to watch the USMNT play in New Orleans' most authentic Irish soccer pub for four years. That's a good enough excuse to leave work early if you ask me.
Last week I had this to say about the United States' unlikely win against Ghana:
Soccer, many will tell you, can be a horribly unjust game in which a team can absolutely dominate their opponent and still end up tying or losing. This is heartbreaking for losing teams on many levels but for the team that wins, it can lead to something worse: false hope.
For more than 90 minutes on Sunday, it appeared as if the hope fostered by that Ghana win was not unfounded. Then the Portugal scored and we were all (Warning, video has NSFW language):
The United States needs to get over the agonizing end to that game because, in all honesty, they're still in a good position. Clint Dempsey has scored in both games for the U.S. and Michael Bradley recovered from a disastrous first game to playing a half-way decent game against Portugal. If the U.S. can stay aggressive, maintain possession and even get a few scoring chances, there's a chance they could see their way into the knockout stages.
Germany is a much better team than the U.S. has faced thus far (evidenced by their 4-0 dismantling of Portugal) and, despite both teams needing only a tie to advance, they are looking for the win. While the uncertainty lends itself to a good bit of drama for neutral observers, it will do nothing to help any U.S. fans with high blood pressure.
Where Portugal basically relied on Ronaldo as their primary scorer, the Germans can attack from almost any point in the field. Also, in case you haven't heard, both German players and coaches have an extra incentive to beat former German head coach, and current USMNT skipper, Jurgen Klinsmann.
What to talk about to sound like you know about soccer:
For a handy guide on soccer lingo, check out this primer by the Washington Post.
A lot of the talk leading up to this game has been about whether Klinsmann is colluding with his countrymen and assure a scoreless draw so that both teams advance. Here's a long, well-researched article on why that won't happen.
Ugh, this is gonna be a long game.