U.S. tops knockout round GKs

Yanks are underdogs with best chance to win outright in round of 16

Updated: June 28, 2014, 11:43 AM ET
By Peter Keating | ESPN Insider

Laurence Griffiths/Getty ImagesClint Dempsey and the U.S. have the best shot to win of any underdogs in the knockout stage.

When we went prospecting for Giant Killers before the start of the World Cup, we relied on a few basic principles. First, we asked whether a team might be underrated or overrated if there was a large gap between its FIFA rating and more objective measures of strength, such as ESPN's Soccer Power Index or Elo Ratings. Then we discussed the statistical importance of preventing the first goal, and doubled down on underdogs that would make every effort to shut out their opponents.

Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.