Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

U.S. ties Portugal 2-2 in World Cup

MANAUS, Brazil — The ball was barely past U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, and already he had thrown his hands to his head. On the sideline, Jurgen Klinsmann spun away as if he had seen a ghost. Up the field, Michael Bradley could only stare.

The United States had won, hadn't it? Hadn't it?

The celebration had been epic after Clint Dempsey, the team's captain, the man with the black eye and the broken nose and the swollen cheek, scored in the 82nd minute to put the Americans ahead and surely — surely — into the knockout round of the World Cup.

It was bedlam. It was overwhelming. It was historic.

But then, suddenly, the lead was gone.

Silvestre Varela's goal on a diving header off Cristiano Ronaldo's cross on the game's last play gave Portugal a 2-2 tie Sunday in the fifth minute of extra time, the latest goal in a group-stage game in World Cup history according to ESPN Stats & Info.

The U.S. team did not advance to the Round of 16. It will not get to skate into its final Group G game, against Germany.

Instead, it will live on the precipice between success and failure for another day. That was the cost of two lapses — one at the beginning of the game and one, brutally, at the end.

"We had one foot in the door," Howard said.

A victory would have guaranteed advancement for the Americans; now, the math is murkier.

Germany and the Americans both have four points, but the Germans have a better goal difference. Ghana and Portugal, who meet Thursday at the same time as the U.S.-Germany match, have one point apiece. A win over Germany on Thursday in Recife would be ideal. A tie would also let the U.S. advance. A loss plus a Portugal-Ghana tie would do the job, albeit in a less satisfying way.

This much is sure: A win Sunday would have made it all moot.

Klinsmann called it "a little bit of a bummer."

"Obviously we're disappointed, but at the end of the day you've got to look at the positives: We got a point," Dempsey said. "We put in a good performance. I thought we played better than the last game. I thought we moved the ball better. I thought we created more chances. Just unlucky."

After the team allowed a horrible early goal by forward Nani to fall behind, Jermaine Jones leveled the score in the 64th minute with a whistling shot from nearly 30 yards that left Beto, the Portuguese goalkeeper, flat-footed.

Then came Dempsey's finish with his stomach off a cross that seemed destined to go down in the annals of U.S. soccer history.

But Ronaldo, the FIFA world player of the year who had largely been neutralized, swung in a perfect cross from the right wing that Varela sent into the net with a powerful header.

Just as the Yanks were seconds from beating the odds and advancing from the "Group of Death" after just two games, Portugal, fourth in the world according to FIFA's ranking, rescued itself seconds from elimination.

"It's a respectable result," Portugal coach Paulo Bento said, perhaps understating how much his team needed to avoid a loss. "We know our position is quite difficult now."

Despite the last second gut punch there were positives for the American team:

• Jones' goal, a perfect strike from 28 yards according to official measurements, was his first for the national team since May 2012.

• The Yanks trailed at halftime for the 16th time in their World Cup history; this was the first time they earned even a draw.

• The scored twice without injured striker Jozy Altidore.

"It's tough, but it's just the way it goes," Dempsey said. "We're Americans. I think we like to do things the hard way."

U.S. scenarios

The possibilities for the U.S. team heading into Thursday's game at noon against Germany.

If Americans win: They win Group G and face the Group H runnerup in the Round of 16.

If it's a tie: Germany and the U.S. both would have five points; Germany would be group winner on goal differential and the Americans advance to face the Group H winner.

If Americans lose: They still advance if Portugal and Ghana tie. Otherwise the Portugal-Ghana winner and the U.S. would each have four points and the following tiebreakers would be used: 1. Goal differential; 2. Goals scored; 3. Head-to-head. If all else fails, FIFA would draw lots.

Today's games

Netherlands vs. Chile, noon, ESPN

Spain vs. Australia, noon, ESPN2

Mexico vs. Croatia, 4 p.m., ESPN

Brazil vs. Cameroon, 4 p.m., ESPN2

U.S. ties Portugal 2-2 in World Cup 06/22/14 [Last modified: Sunday, June 22, 2014 11:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)