Consider this scenario:
The United States qualifies for the Round of 16 as the second-place team in Group C. The Americans face surprising Serbia in the Round of 16. Tim Howard delivers a stunning performance in a 1-0 victory, setting up a quarterfinal match-up against none other than Mexico (which will have upset Argentina in a rematch of its 2006 Round of 16 loss).
The Americans, who haven't lost to Mexico outside of Mexico with their first team in more than a decade, will dispose of 'El Tri' yet again as head coach Javier Aguirre has flashbacks of 2002, when he coached Mexico's last World Cup loss to 'Los Gringos.'
Where would that put the United States in the semifinals? Pitted against none other than Spain, the same team the United States upset a year earlier in the Confederations Cup semis. Asking the Americans to upset Spain twice in a year is a bit too much to ask, though, so look for the Spaniards to exact revenge, leaving the United States to play in the third-place match against -- who else? -- England.
Beating England in a third-place match wouldn't matter, but it would be a sweet cap to a dream tournament run!!!
USA - USA - USA ... okay... okay time to wake up.
This might all sound implausible, but so did a World Cup quarterfinal run in 2002, and so did a Confederations Cup final run last summer. The U.S. men's national team proved plenty of people wrong then, and stand poised to prove even more people wrong this summer.