2014 FIFA World Cup: USA vs Portugal - As it happened...
Zee Media Bureau/Dattaraj Thaly
Germany and USA have 4 points each. The Germans are ahead on goal difference. Ghana and Portugal have 1 point each. Ronaldo's team are bottom due to an inferior goal difference. We go into the last phase of group matches with all four teams having a chance to make it to the round of 16.
FULL TIME: Portugal 2-2 USA
Portugal score in the last 30 seconds. Ronaldo's first contribution of the match has him put in a pin-point cross that is met with a bullet header by Varela. What drama!
90+4'- Veloso fires in a cross. Ronaldo does not even manage to make contact with that ball. Poor from the Ballon dÓr winner.
90+3'- Varela's cross is easily dealt with by the USA defense.
FIVE MINUTES ADDED ON!
90'- Zusi is taken off by USA for Gonzalez.
88'- Moutinho lobs a ball for Ronaldo to head. CR7 makes a weak connection. That sums up his night.
86' - Clint Dempsey comes off to a huge round of applause from the fans and his teammates. Chris Wondolowski comes on.
84' - Ronaldo was through on goal. But he is ruled off side. His shot was saved anyway.
81' - Dempsey chested in the cross from Zusi. There was a scramble in the Portugal box with the ball ricocheting off players.
80' - Nani gets the ball out wide. He attacks Beasley and lets a left footer fly. The ball goes just over the crossbar.
78' - Besler after a momentary stay with the medical staff comes back on. He wants to see this through for his team.
76' - Moutinho tries to split the USA defense and slide in Ronaldo. Besler makes an interception by making a full-stretch. He immediately holds his knee and stays down. He seems to be in pain.
75' - Johnson gives the ball way near the half-way line. Jones commits a foul in an attempt to win back possession immediately from Moutinho. Yellow card.
73' - Nani's dangerous cross was booted out by the defender before it was tapped in by Ronaldo. That was a dangerous ball by the winger. He has been Portugal's best player.
72' - Klinsmann makes a change. Alejandro Bedoya comes off for DeAndre Yedlin.
70' - Pressure on Portugal now. They have to score. 20 minutes to go.
68' - Meireles comes off for Portugal He is replaced by Silvestre Varela.
64' - Screamer from Jones. He curls a powerful shot from outside the box. The keeper was rooted to his place. Bento had no chance. 1-1. Portugal are headed out if it stays this way.
62' - Portugal on the break have Ronaldo with plenty of space on the right to run at. The defender back off and Ronaldo's shot from inside the box is way off target.
60' - It looks like USA have a goal in them. They are looking more dangerous by the minute.
57' - Nani and Eder involve in a lovely interchange of passes. But the Manchester United man's final ball is in no man's land and rolls in to the hands of the keeper.
55' - CLEARED OFF THE LINE! Johnson's cross had Bradley shot in an open goal as the keeper had come out to cut out the cross. Ricardo Costa clears the ball off the line. Superb defending.
53' - Nice little passage of play with Portuguese possession. But the ball is not in a dangerous area.
51' - Meireles slides the ball through to Eder who steps inside the box and fires in a shot that is deflected for a corner.
50' - Zusi makes a wonderful tackle to win possession and release Dempsey on the right. The forwards cross is straight to the keeper.
48' - Nani's cross bounces of a couple of defenders and falls for Eder who volleys who the crossbar.
47' - Ronaldo picks up the ball, turns and accelerates into an open are to find space for his shot. He fires a left footer that is blocked by the first player.
46' - Here we go. Bring it on...
Out come the players for the second half. Will the USA pull off a miracle in Manaus?
The match is very delicately poised. USA have been probing constantly for an equalizer. Portugal need a cushion of the second goal. Huge 45 minutes in the context of this group and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
HALF TIME: USA 0-1 Portugal
TWO MINUTES ADDED ON!
45' - SUPER SAVE! Nani hammers a shot from outside the box. The ball ricochets off the upright and falls to Eder who despite not making a clean connection directs the ball into the goal Howard was going to the other direction and makes a great reflex save by stretching is left arm.
43' - Nani is fouled outside the box. Perfect range for Ronaldo. He stands over the ball. He takes the shot in his inimitable style but the ball goes way over the cross bar. Disappointing.
42' - Ronaldo runs at his marker and finds Nani with an accurate pass on the right. Nani fires in a shot with his right foot that is saved by Howard.
40' - USA already have more shots on goal already than they had in the entire match against Ghana.
38' - USA playing the ball around here. Switching flanks with every midfield player getting a touch of the ball. Portugal can't seem to nick the ball of them. Luckily, the play is stopped as Jones seems to struggling with a minor niggle.
36' - Ronaldo lets one fly from way out. One bounce and safely into Howard's hands.
35' - Jones attempts a left footed shot from just outside the box. Beto makes a comfortable save.
33' - Portugal are getting better as the game goes on. Their getting more time on the ball.
31' - Dempsey skips past his marker and play the ball wide out to Johnson who cuts inside on his left foot and fires in a shot. The ball goes just wide of the side netting.
28' - Dempsey lays up the ball for Bradely whose shot has Beto scrambling but it goes wide of the upright.
27' - Beckerman finds Dempsey inside the box who goes past one defender and fires a shot which is blocked by Alves.
26' - Moutinho fires a long searching diagonal ball to Nani on the right flank. Control of the winger lets him down.
24' - Lovely move by USA sees the ball at the feet of Bradley who fires a left footer from outside the box. Just over the cross bar.
22' - Moutinho tries his luck from way out. The ball lacked power and direction as it goes beyond the left post.
19' - Ronaldo falls back deep to pick up the ball suggesting he isn't getting the service he requires up front.
17' - Besler's ball has Dempsey through on goal. He fires in a shot that is saved by the keeper. Corner give.
16' - Portugal are forced to make an early change. Postiga has picked up an injury. He is replaced by Eder.
14' - Beckerman makes a cruching tackle on Meireles. That seems to have hurt the Portuguese as his feet were uprooted from the ground.
13' - Dempsey's free-kick almost shaves the crossbar. The keeper had it covered though.
12' - Alves fouls oncoming Johnson who seemed to have got passed the Portuguese after a lovely flick on by Jones. Free-kick to USA. Dempsey to take it.
10' - Johnson got in behind the Portugal defense. He cut inside and fired in a shot that was deflected for a corner.
8' - Portugal have controlled the game so far. They have had all the early possession.
Veloso ball in from the left found Nani in space inside the box who took a touch and smashed the ball in inside the net.
6' - GOAL! NANI
4' - Outrageous bit of skill from Ronaldo. His dazzling feet had three USA players scrambling for the ball.
2' - Ronaldo has the ball and immediately there is a cheer in the crowd. His first pass to Pereira on the right flank is sloppy as it goes out of play.
1' - USA will get this match started. Here we go..
Time for the national anthem of both countries. USA's "The Star-Spangled Banner" followed by the Portuguese national anthem.
Cristiano Ronaldo starts for Portugal. Who is surprised?
Team line-ups for the match:
Portugal: Beto, Bruno Alves, Veloso, Ronaldo, Moutinho, Costa, Meireles, Nani, A. Almeida, Pereira, Postiga
USA: Howard; Johnson, Cameron, Besler, Beasley; Beckerman, Jones; Bedoya, Bradley, Zusi; Dempsey
Welcome to our coverage of this Group G encounter between USA and Portugal at Arena Amazonia in Manaus.
Following yesterday`s enthralling encounter between Germany and Ghana, the USA-Portugal match-up will be yet another high-intensity one. That`s for sure. And in fact, for the purists, Group G is the real Group of Death.
Portugal are at the bottom of the group after conceding four goals to Germany in the opener. And a defeat today will end their 2014 World Cup campaign. But with a certain Cristiano Roanldo in their ranks, they can still hope for a revival.
United States have won their opening match thanks to a late goal against Ghana. And giving impetus to Cup dream is the goal scoring form of Clint Dempsey, arguably their best player. His form will be crucial to USA`s fate.
In fact, the North Amrerican team has scored in seven successive World Cup games. Win or loss, that`s some record. In contrast, Portugal have registered only one win in their last eight games at the World Cup, drawing three and losing four.
Head-to-head, both the teams are in a perfect balance. From the five meetings, Portugal won two, USA won two and one match ending in a draw.
Players to watch out will be, of course, besides Ronaldo and Clint Dempsey William Carvalho, John Brooks, Tim Howard, Nani, Michael Bradley.
The inputs from the managers Jurgen Klinsmann for USA and Paulo Bento for Portugal may well become decisive in this clash.
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