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Team USA's Path To Gold: Explaining The Olympics Baseball Bracket

Team USA’s 7-6 loss to Japan on Monday makes its path to a gold medal a lot less smooth, but it doesn’t knock it out of contention.

Japan automatically advanced to the semifinals with the win. Team USA now has to play an extra game but can still advance to the semifinals—and ultimately the gold-medal game—too.

The path to the gold medal can be confusing due to the complicated Olympics bracket. Here is a quick Q and A to help explain the bracket, and what Team USA now has to do to win gold.

What’s next for Team USA?

Team USA will now face the winner of Israel-Dominican Republic on Tuesday at 11 pm ET. If Team USA wins that game, it advances to the semifinals. If it loses, it moves directly to the bronze-medal game.

Who would Team USA face in the semifinals?

The Olympics semifinals are different than traditional semifinals. Instead of two games featuring two separate teams, with the winner of each advancing to the final, the Olympics setup calls for three teams to participate in the semifinals, resulting in one team playing two semifinal games.

Japan and South Korea play in the first semifinal Wednesday, with the winner advancing to the gold-medal game. The loser will play a second semifinal matchup against the Team USA vs. Israel-Dominican Republic winner. The winner of that game advances to the gold-medal game, with the loser advancing to the bronze-medal game.

Can you simplify that please?

Sure. Basically, Team USA has to beat the winner of Dominican Republic-Israel and then beat the loser of Japan-South Korea. Then, it’s in the gold-medal game.

Can Team USA reach the gold medal game even with another loss?

No. Team USA’s only path to reaching the gold-medal game is to win its next two games.

What happens If Team USA loses its first game?

Then it goes to the bronze-medal game, where it would play an opponent to-be-determined.

What Happens If Team USA wins its first game but loses the second?

Then it goes to the bronze-medal game, where it would play an opponent to-be-determined.

Is Team USA guaranteed a medal?

Not quite. Team USA has already clinched a berth to at least the bronze-medal game, but it would still have to beat whoever it faces in that game to win the bronze medal.

Can any team aside from Japan, South Korea or the United States reach the gold medal game?

Yes, although it will require winning three straight games and be extremely difficult. Israel and the Dominican Republic play on Tuesday at 6 am ET. The loser of that game is eliminated from the Olympics. The winner advances to play Team USA and, if it wins that, would have to beat the loser of the Japan-South Korea semifinal.

Basically, the path for either Israel or the D.R. is to win tonight, beat Team USA and then beat the Japan-South Korea loser to get to the gold-medal game.

Team USA Roster 2021

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