USA vs Portugal, World Cup results 2-2 draw: Late goal steals win from USMNT


When Ghana held Germany, one of the favorites to win the World Cup, to a draw on Saturday, it put the United States in an unprecedented and unexpected position. In what was labeled as the “group of death,” it looked like it would take a remarkable performance and possibly some miracles to advance out of the group.

More from World Cup

With that Ghana-Germany draw, the Americans have the opportunity to move to the top of the Group G table and punch their ticket to the knockout round with a win over Portugal on Sunday. It isn’t an easy task, Portugal is led by star Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or trophy given to the best player in the world.

But the stars seemed to be aligning for the U.S., Portuguese defender Pepe was suspended for the match because of a red card in his last game and defender Fábio Coentrão’s World Cup was ended because of a thigh injury.

The Americans carried their own injuries into the game, with center forward Jozy Altidore out after straining his hamstring in their opening game and captain Clint Dempsey suffered a broken nose in the game as well. It created questions about who would take Altidore’s spot in the line up. Ultimately the Americans went with Clint Dempsey as the lone striker loading up at midfield in an effort to play defensively.

It didn’t appear to be working early on. The United States found themselves exactly where they didn’t want to be, playing from behind early. A pass came into the box and it was an awful attempt at a through ball that went straight towards a bunch of American defenders. Geoff Cameron got a foot on it in an effort to clear it, but did little more than put it up on a silver platter for Nani. He took advantage of the opportunity to give Portugal a lead over the United States.

More coverage: World Cup News | World Cup table, standings and schedule | World Cup GIFs

The United States seemed to weather storm well and they created chances down the stretch of the first half. The referee called a water break in the 40th minute, which was the first in World Cup history and allowed in the rules in special conditions of extreme heat after the first 30 minutes of a half.

The Americans nearly gave up a second goal in the minutes before the end of the half to Nani. American goal keeper Tim Howard couldn’t get to the ball which hit the post and bounced out to Portugal’s Eder. He took a shot at goal and Howard made a miraculous save to keep the Americans in the game.

In the second half the Americans kept up the pressure on Portugal and nearly had a scoring opportunity. A great play by Graham Zusi created a scoring opportunity for Michael Bradley. The goalkeeper was out of the box and he had a lot of open goal to put the ball in the goal. The ball was close to Portuguese defender Ricardo Costa, who was able to get a knee on it to prevent the Americans from scoring.

Less than 10 minutes later the Americans finally were able to break through. A corner kick for the Americans was defended and the ball was headed out to American midfielder Jermaine Jones. Jones gained possession let the defender come to him and took a step to his right with the ball before rifling a shot into the back of the net. It was very similar to the goal that Lionel Messi scored to give Argentina the win over Iran.

The Americans weathered some attacks from Portugal, but continued to counter. In the 81st minute the Americans were on the attack and pass from the end line found Michael Bradley in the center of the box. His shot bounced off a Portugal defender and found Graham Zusi just left of the goal.

Zusi sent the pass across the box to the back post where a charging Clint Dempsey tapped it in for the easy goal to take the lead.

It looked like the Americans were set to walk away with a win and a big shift in the Group G table. In the 95th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo sent a cross into the box and found Silvestre Varela, who headed it past Howard for the game-tying goal. The whistle blew shortly after and the Portuguese team stole two points from the Americans.

The United States and Germany are tied with four points each heading into their group stage finale. The loser in that game is at risk of being eliminated if Portugal gets a win over Ghana by a large margin.

Portugal and Ghana, as well as the United States and Germany play on Thursday June 26th.

Thursday, June 26
United States vs. Germany, 11:30 a.m. ET (ESPN)
Portugal vs. Ghana, 11:30 a.m. ET (ESPN2)