Good evening, grapple fans. If you’re a fan of the United States of America national team, you could be forgiven a pang of deja vu about this evening’s match. The USA opened their 2002 World Cup campaign against Portugal, and their performance in a 3-2 win in that match reinvented many perceptions of America’s place in the football world. Moreover, there were parallels between the Portugal of 2012 and the Portugal of 2014, as well – a team with many desirable pieces that never quite seemed to be assembled in quite the way that they might have been, a team which never quite fulfilled as much as it promised.
Fast forward to 2014, and these two nations are now into their second match of the competition, with castly differing results so far. The USA finally got their revenge over Ghana for elimination in 2006 and 2010 thanks to a late goal in their opening match, but Portugal have a lot of work to do after having lost by four goals to nil against Germany in their opening match. Can the USA get the win that will guarantee them a place in the Second Round of the competition? Will Cristiano Ronaldo end this evening pulling his happy face or his sad face? Find out from eleven o’clock this evening (BST) with Ian King and Rob Freeman. Until then, here’s the teams:
USA: Howard, Bradley, Besler, Beasley, Dempsey (c), Bedoya, Jones, Beckerman, Zusi, Cameron, Johnson.
Portugal: Beto, Bruno Alves, Veloso, Ronaldo (c), Moutinho, Costa, Meireles, Nani, A. Almeida, Pereira, Postiga.
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Although if Germany and the USA now draw, as Mark said earlier, both qualify with five points.
But the only way Ghana could qualify here is for Germany to lose, Ghana to win, and there be a five goal swing in the process.
And Clint Dempsey tilts the game in favour of the US of A. Bradley’s shot is deflected into the path of Zusi, whose shot is deflected into the net by Dempsey’s stomach.
Not *all* the analysis of the USA’s tactics has been crap, Mark. I myself highlighted their “shoot from outside the box” tactic in the first half.
And Jermaine Jones equalises for the United States. An absolute beauty from around 20 yards out, bending round the keeper.
As Cristiano Ronaldo shoots high and wide again, Mark Lawrenson says how unRonaldo it is,
Geoff Cameron showing the world what he’s learned at the Britannia Stadium, there.
Michael Bradley now has a chance cleared off the line.
CR7’s right side is definitely his best side, as he looks like Dean Gaffney from his left side.
Eder is probably still wondering how his shot didn’t go in. So am I.
Oh, what a save by Tim Howard.
Who the hell has a knee tattoo?
They’ve got into some great positions and wasted the lot.
The USA gameplan is clearly get it to Dempsey, so he can find someone in space, pass it to them, and watch them shoot off-target from distance.
Asamoah Gyan had 3 shaved and bleached into the side of his head last night.
Was it just me, or did Ronaldo not join in with the goal celebration, despite being three feet away. He raised his arm half-heartedly in a “oh, someone else scored” way, then turned and wandered off in a different direction.