U.S.A. 2 Portugal 2: Another Crazy Day in the Group of Death

The U.S. drew Portugal 2-2 in Manaus, Brazil this evening, with Portugal getting a (beautiful, it must be said) goal in the 95th minute to keep the U.S. from advancing to the second round with one match to play in the group stage. It was yet another thrilling, high-scoring match in an incredibly exciting World Cup. While it was a difficult result to accept because the U.S. were the better team over the 90 minutes and would have been in pole position to win the group with a win, the draw is not a bad result. If you had asked me before the match whether I would have accepted a draw I would have said yes in a heartbeat. Likewise, after the World Cup draw in December, if you had said the U.S. would get four points in the Group of Death I would have taken it immediately.

The U.S. are still likely to advance to the knockout stages even if they lose by one goal (and especially if they lose by one goal in a match in which they score), and they are playing well enough that getting at least a draw against Germany is a reasonable possibility, especially since Germany would win the group with a draw. (If the match ends in a draw, there will be match-fixing allegations from some cynical quarters no matter how organic the game looks [and, presumably, is] considering that the U.S. is managed by a German who is very good friends with the current German manager). The U.S. will be rooting for a draw in the Portugal-Ghana match (if this occurs, the U.S. will go through no matter what), and, failing that, a Portugal victory. The fact that Portugal scored so late against the U.S. will hopefully give the Portuguese a momentum boost, which would benefit the Americans.

Although the U.S. did not clinch a berth in the second round against Portugal, by clinching at least an even record in a very difficult group I think they did ensure that Jurgen Klinsmann will keep his job. His tactical decisions and substitutions have all been spot-on thus far in the tournament. I can’t wait for Thursday! I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN. ONE NATION. ONE TEAM.

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