Despite losing to Germany 1-0, the U.S. advanced to the round of 16, having beaten Portugal on goal differential.
Unleash the Twitter hashtag flags. The U.S. lost but made it through.
On Twitter, Chris Velardi summed up the strange feeling of advancing by a loss: Only in soccer: A loss that feels like a win... follows a tie that feels like a loss. But, whatever... #USMNT plays another day.
Ryan Teague Beckwith, news editor at the Washington Examiner, interpreted the emotions in American political terms: Basically, the US soccer team lost the popular vote while winning the Electoral College.
Portugal defeated Ghana 2-1 to earn their fourth point and tie the U.S. in the group standings. But the U.S. held the advantage in goal differential at 0 compared to Portugal’s minus-three.
Maybe the U.S. didn’t quite laugh in the face of their opponents with dominating victories (Remember, their goal differential was a neutral 0), but they did make it out of the Group of Death.
Many Twitter users ignored the loss and celebrated survival.
Some Twitter users credited the U.S. advancement to Cristiano Ronaldo’s game-winning goal for Portugal, but the U.S. would have advanced even if Portugal-Ghana had ended in a tie.
Some fans were more comfortable once they knew they didn’t have to praise their polarizing recent foe. Mike Loyko, for instance, tweeted: Ronaldo's goal was irrelevant in the end. We can go back to disliking him now.
Many fans expressed pride in team and country.
Matt Jackson wrote: Survive and advance. Great job by US team getting out of group of death. Proud American here!
The hashtag “IBelieve” has been trending during the World Cup, as fans insist the U.S. can continue exceeding expectations. The U.S.’s advancement drew more lingering doubters into the fold.