Can USA win the World Cup? Here's the maths

This article is more than 12 months old

Team USA is having a dream of a run during the World Cup. 

Thanks to the bad luck of more than a few world class national teams, they have surprised everyone by advancing to the round of 16, and will play Belgium on July 2 (Singapore time). 

But what are the chances they could win the whole thing? 

Superstar statistician Nate Silver - aka the guy who accurately predicted 100 per cent of the state by state results in 2012's US presidential elections, according to Forbes - has the numbers on his website FiveThirtyEight.

Belgium's defender Daniel Van Buyten (right) and Belgium's midfielder Marouane Fellaini celebrate after a Group H football match between South Korea and Belgium in Sao Paulo during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 26, 2014. Belgium won 1 to 0.

Odds of beating Belgium


If they beat Belgium, they will meet either Argentina (likely) or Switzerland (not so likely).

Odds of beating Argentina

Not good - 20%

Odds of beating Switzerland

Almost 50%

Odds of advancing to the semi-finals for the first time since 1930


Odds of winning the World Cup


Silver based the odds on his Soccer Power Index, developed with ESPN in 2010, which measures things like a team's offensive and defensive prowess (based on goals scored and allowed), and also how a national team's players have fared in international club leagues, among other factors. 

By the way, Silver, like Goldman Sachs, has also picked Brazil to lift the World Cup trophy this year. 

Sources: FiveThirtyEight, Forbes

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