It wasn’t a performance worthy of its last two, but the United States is into the World Cup’s round of 16. This despite losing to Germany Thursday, 1-0.
A comfortable goal-differential almost slipped away early in the second half against Germany, resulting in a tense 20-minute stretch that threatened certain elimination until Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the 80th minute to send Team USA through.
With Ghana losing 1-0 to Portugal, the United States held a three-goal advantage at halftime:
United States: 4 goals scored – 3 allowed = +1 goal-differential
Ghana: 2 goals scored – 5 allowed = -2 goal-differential
But in a two-minute stretch, Thomas Muller scored for Germany in the 55th and Asamoah Gyan drew Ghana even with Portugal in the 57th. Suddenly, the rainy afternoon turned desperate:
United States: 4 goals scored – 4 allowed = 0 goal-differential
Ghana: 4 goals scored – 5 allowed = -1 goal-differential
With another goal and a 2-1 result, Ghana would not only draw even with the United States’ four group points, but held the third tiebreaker in total goals scored. These circumstances forced the most thrills of the afternoon. Every competing nation played frantic musical chairs.
Ronaldo put Portugal ahead in the 80th minute and buried Ghana with a quick, clean finish in the box—the kind the living legend had yet to find in this tournament. Portugal hung on to win 2-1.
With Ghana needing two goals in 10 minutes to advance, the United States’ game with Germany turned soggy scrimmage, and it survived to face the Group H winner—likely Belgium.
Screengrab via ESPN