USA vs. Portugal Experts Pick, Injury Update, Predicted Lineup & Tactics – World Cup 2014
By Lou Ramon Aguila | June 22, 2014 5:48 PM EST
The United States will gun for a spot in the knockout stages, but a very determined Portuguese side is expected to give all their best as they look to stay alive in the 2014 World Cup.
Clint Dempsey of the U.S. celebrates after scoring their first goal during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match against Ghana at the Dunas arena in Natal June 16, 2014.
What's at Stake?
*The United States, who sneaked past Ghana 2-1 in the opener, needs three more points to advance into the next round of the World Cup. A loss to Portugal could put them into a do-or-die affair with the Germans.
*Portugal must consider this upcoming showdown with USA a must win, after Ghana forced a 2-2 draw with Germany on Saturday. A weary Crisitiano Ronaldo (knee injury) will have to perform at his peak for Portugal to stay alive in a tournament.
"United States coach Jürgen Klinsmann was in charge of his native Germany when they beat Portugal 3-1 in the 2006 World Cup's third-place play-off. Under the former Tottenham striker Clint Dempsey, the United States are a hard team to beat with huge experience throughout the side," the Telegraph football expert John Ley stated in his preview.
United States: The Yankees will be playing without one of the team's most prolific goal scorers in Jozy Altidore (hamstring injury).
Portugal: Ronaldo's knee remain a big concern heading into Sunday's game, but the absences of defenders Pepe (suspended with red card) and Fabio Coentrao could give the United States an opening to capitalize.
"Portugal defender Pepe's red card against Germany means he is suspended fo this game. In addition, fellow defender Fabio Coentrao will miss the remainder of the World Cup due to a groin injury," Ley said of Portugal's depleted backline.
Predicted Lineup and Formation
USA (Possible, 4-4-1-1): Howard; Johnson, Brooks, Cameron, Beasley; Beckerman, Bradley, Jones, Bedoya; Dempsey; Johansson.
Out: Altidore (hamstring).
Portugal (Possible, 4-3-3): Patricio; Pereira, Costa, Alves, Almeida; Veloso, Moutinho, Meireles; Ronaldo, Postiga, Nani.
Out: Pepe (suspended), Coentrao (groin).
Ley is expected an evenly matched affair between the Americans and the Portuguese, as backed up by the results of their last five meetings (2 wins, 2 losses and one draw for each team). However, Ley believes Portugal has that extra talent to succeed in this all-important game.
Meanwhile, BBC's Mark Lawrenson predicted the other way around, as he foresees a shocker by USA, which would end Ronaldo and Portugal's campaign in Brazil.
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