World Cup Update: Portugal Equalizes With U.S. on 'Late Goal'
By Vincent Paul Hidalgo | June 23, 2014 3:51 PM EST
Manaus has witnessed one of the best games ever of the 2014 World Cup. Portugal Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo overcame a disappointing start to redeem himself and put Portugal a puncher's chance to qualify for the next round of the tournament.
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match against the U.S. at the Amazonia arena in Manaus June 22, 2014.
Trailing 1-2 in near time stoppage, Ronaldo made a cross kick and set up Varela for a perfect equalizer in Sunday's Portugal-U.S.A. matchup ending 2-2 in 2014 World Cup.
ESPn.com reported the Real Madrid star who has been the subject of much health speculations was mediocre at best during much of the game but became the brightest star when the team needed him the most. He curled the ball to a running Varela, who went past American Tim Howard, who scored the equalizer and denied the Americans of outright qualification into the next round.
With a draw, the U.S. could only come up with a total of four points in Group G, the same total of its next opponent, Germany. While Portugal has the same solitary point as Ghana, the team it will face Thursday. The much improved Americans and Germans square off in the anticipated match-up on the same day and time.
"Obviously we're disappointed, but at the end of the day you've got to look at the positives, we got a point," U.S. Captain Clint Dempsey said, who scored to give the Americans a 2-1 lead in the 81st.
"It's going down to the last game and hopefully we get the job done."
Portugal went ahead early putting the ball in the net past Howard in the fifth minute of the game but the U.S. team came roaring back in the second half, capitalizing on a suspect Portugal defense.
Jermaine Jones tied the game at the 64th minute with a curling shot while Dempsey, who nurses a broken nose, put him team ahead by using his body to put the ball directly into the goal from a cross by Graham Zusi.
"Now we have to go out and beat Germany, that's what we have to do," U.S. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.
"We have to play Germany, we have one less day to recover, we played in the Amazon, they played on a place with less travel. We have to do it the tough way."
Klinsmann earlier downplayed the hopes of his squad to win it all, but he is singing a different tune. He praised his boys for the resilience and effort it displayed after being down early.
For Portugal, the humidity may have taken its toll as the match went on. It was the first time in World Cup history that a match was stopped for a cooling break which was called by referee Nestor Pitana at the 39th minute.
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