By Ameenu Shardow
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Ghana remain alive in the 2014 World Cup despite the massive setback of Portugal in their 2-2 draw with the United States on Sunday.
The Black Stars now have to be convincing winners over Portugal and hope Germany do same against the United States in the final round of matches in Group G.
Silvestre Varela scored in virtually the final piece of action to earn Portugal a vital point against USA who had scored through Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey.
The result gives a glimmer of hope for the Black Stars even though a win for Portugal - who took the lead through Nani - was the preferred result.
Ghana's hopes of progression is enforced by Article 41 of the regulations governing the 2014 World Cup.
The vital portion of the regulation states: "The league format shall be used: each team playing one match against each of the other teams in the same group, with three points for a win, one point for a draw and none for a defeat.Â
The ranking of each team in each group shall be determined as follows:
Â a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
Â b) goal difference in all group matches;
Â c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.Â
If two or more teams are equal on the basis of the above three criteria, their rankings shall be determined as follows:
Â d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the
Â e) goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams
Â f) greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams
Â g) drawing of lots by the FIFA Organizing Committee.Â
The teams that qualify from the group stage will play the round of sixteen."
This means Ghana must avoid point 'd' of the regulation by beating Portugal comprehensively and hope Germany do same against USA to progress on the superior goal difference rule.
The Black Stars will be tied on points with the USA if they manage a win over Portugal in the final Group G game, which will send the tie breaker first through clauses 'a', 'b' and 'c' of the regulation before the dreaded 'd' comes into play.