US denied safe passage at the death

, 23 June, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent
USA 2-2 Portugal

Tim Howard and the United States were 30 seconds from booking their place in the knockout phase of the World Cup but were denied when Silvestre Varela headed home Cristiano Ronaldo's cross to make it 2-2 deep into injury time.

It was a heart-breaker for Jurgen Klinsmann's men who had recovered superbly after going a goal down in awful fashion after just four minutes to lead 2-1 going into five minutes of injury time.

Geoff Cameron's awkward sliced clearance fell to Nani and the Manchester United winger couldn't miss with the entire goal to aim at.

The US regained their composure, though, and grew into the game until Howard lost sight of a long-range effort by Nani that cannoned back off the post and into the path of Eder who was denied by the Everton goalkeeper's stunning one-handed save.

The US would surely have drawn level early in the second half had Ricardo Costa not got a knee to Michael Bradley's goal-bound shot but Jermaine Jones's brilliant shot from outside the box after 63 minutes was reward for Klinsmann's side as he made it 1-1.

A superb turnaround by the Americans was completed by Dempsey with 10 minutes of the regulation 90 remaining. Another raid down the right flank caused chaos in the Portuguese area where Graham Zusi had the awareness to clip the ball back across to Clint Dempsey who chested into the empty net to put the USA ahead.

They were on the verge of dumping Portugal out but were undone with the last action of the match. They had successfully kept Ronaldo quiet for almost the entirety of the contest but the Real Madrid man carved out space for a pin-point cross from the right and Varela powered home an unstoppable header.

The draw leaves the USA needing a draw from their final group game against Germany to progress and keeps Portugal clinging to life in Group G. They have to beat Ghana to go through.


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