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What U.S victory means for Sunday's rumble in the jungle
by Paul Kennedy, June 17th, 2014 2:24AM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014


[BRAZIL 2014] The USA's victory over Ghana, coupled with the stunning result in the Portugal-Germany game, opens the door to what few thought possible beforehand. The Americans control their own destiny and could be moving on to the round of 16 as soon as Sunday. For what Monday's results in Natal and Salvador mean and updates on the U.S. (and Portuguese) injuries.

SA Confidentials: USA-Ghana:
Mike Woitalla:
U.S. Player Ratings
Ridge Mahoney:
Three Subplots

The USA moves on to Manaus for its rumble in the jungle with Portugal, coming off a 4-0 loss to Germany. By then, it will know the result of Germany-Ghana, which will be played in Fortaleza on Saturday.

Germany will be heavily favored against Ghana, which will need to regroup amid reports late Monday night in the Ghanaian press that there was unhappiness among the Black Star veterans -- notably Kevin-Price Boateng -- about Coach Kwesi Appiah's lineup choices.

Assuming a Germany win on Saturday, the USA will clinch a berth in the round of 16 with a win. It will also eliminate the Black Stars with a tie and put themselves in very good position to advance. That's where Portugal's 4-0 loss to Germany looms so large.

A tie in Manaus means Portugal would have to overcome a five-goal differential on the final day of Group G on June 26 when the USA plays Germany in Recife and Portugal meets Ghana in Recife. Impossible? No. Unlikely? Yes.

And a U.S. loss to Portugal? Depending on the margin of victory -- less than three goals -- the USA would still go into the final day with an edge over Portugal on goal difference but both teams would likely need a result to advance.

(In 2002, the USA and Portugal were in the same group. They both lost on the final of group play yet the USA still advanced.)

Group G Standings:
3 Germany 1-0-0 4/0
3 USA 1-0-0 2/1
0 Ghana 0-0-1 1/2
0 Portugal 0-0-1 0/4

Group G Schedule:
June 21 in Fortaleza
Group G: Germany vs. Ghana
ESPN, Univision/UDN 3 p.m. ET
June 22 in Manaus
Group G: USA vs. Portugal
ESPN, Univision/UDN 6 p.m. ET
June 26 in Recife
Group G: USA vs. Germany
ESPN, Univision/UDN noon ET
June 26 in Brasilia
Group G: Portugal vs. Ghana
ESPN2, UniMas/Galavision noon ET

Injury Updates ...

USA. During Monday night's game, U.S. Soccer stated that Jozy Altidore had strained his left hamstring and would have a scan on Tuesday to determine the extent of the injury. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann was optimistic that Altidore will return, but he could not put a timetable on it.

"It was really tough for me,” Altidore said of the injury after the game. “I was crushed. I knew right away I couldn’t continue.”

Matt Besler was taken off to start the second half after his hamstring tightened and it did not loosen up despite the work of the U.S. staff at the break. He'll also undergo tests after the USA gets back to Sao Paulo, but Klinsmann was not concerned. “With Matt, it’s no problem,” he said after the game.

There was no discussion about whether Clint Dempsey had broken his nose on John Boye's wild kick in the first half. “I just had trouble breathing,” Dempsey said. “I was coughing up blood out there. I did get a little bit tired."

And was no question of whether he'll be available on Sunday against Portugal. “Clint has to shake it off with his nose,” Klinsmann said. “I broke mine three or four times, it’s all right. Give him three or four days.”

PORTUGAL. The news out of Portuguese camp was definitive. Team doctor Henrique Jones reported that Fabio Coentrao, who went off with a groin injury, and striker Hugo Almeida, who left the Germany in the 28th minute with a leg injury, will both be sidelined at least 10 days.

And that's on top of Pepe, who will sit out Sunday's game (if not more) after being red-carded for head-butting Thomas Mueller. That means three Portuguese starters will be out on Sunday.

Trivia ...

Clint Dempsey's goal officially clocked at 29 seconds, making it the fifth fastest goal in World Cup history.

Fastest World Cup Goals:
11 Hakan Sukur, Turkey (2002)
15 Vaclav Masek, Czechoslovakia (1962)
25 Ernst Lehner, Germany (1934)
28 Bryan Robson, England (1982)
29 Clint Dempsey, USA (2014)

June 16 in Natal
USA 2 Ghana 1. Goal: Dempsey 1, Brooks 86; A.Ayew 82.
USA --
Howard, Johnson, Cameron, Besler (Brooks 46), Beasley, Beckerman, Jones, Bedoya (Zusi 77), Bradley, Dempsey, Altidore (Johannsson 23).
Ghana -- Kwarasey, Opare, Boye, Mensah, Asamoah, Rabiu (Essien 71), Muntari, A.Ayew, J.Ayew (Boateng 59), Atsu (Adomah 78), Gyan.
Yellow Card: Ghana -- Rabiu 30, Muntari 90+2.
Att.: 39,760.

  1. charles davenport
    commented on: June 17, 2014 at 7:34 a.m.
    I'll be very happy to see Brad Davis or Zusi on the field at all times for free kick delivery

  1. John Richardson
    commented on: June 17, 2014 at 10:44 a.m.
    Indeed we need to capitalize on set plays to advance !

  1. Stuart d. Warner
    commented on: June 17, 2014 at 2:50 p.m.
    It would not surprise me if on Sunday we come out with a 4-2-3-1: Howard, Johnson, Cameron, Besler/Brooks, Beasley, Jones, Beckerman, Zusi, Bradley, Bedoya, Dempsey

  1. Paul Estrada
    commented on: June 17, 2014 at 5:05 p.m.
    Ah, but apparently Brooks *did* dream about that goal.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: June 17, 2014 at 6:50 p.m.
    > Stuart - I agree that would be a very nice line-up. The Zusi - Bradley - Bedoya midfield is one we haven't seen but might be one that's able to threaten on both flanks. Also, I'd almost rather see Brooksie in the game than Besler given his more raw physical talent, allowing that Besler is a little more positionally sound.

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 17, 2014 at 7:19 p.m.
    Brooksie's reaction reminds me of how 95% of the people at the Outlaw bar felt after we finished celebrating the winner!! Combination of lightheaded disbelief, bordering passing-out from physical exhaustion! : ) Well done JAB!

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: June 17, 2014 at 9:01 p.m.
    Team needs to lift its performance in order to get a good result with Portugal; a wounded Portugal should never be underestimated. Key to victory is to frustrate the opponent which has a history of having a short fuse.

  1. peter mcginn
    commented on: June 17, 2014 at 11:43 p.m.
    I predict wondoloski will get into a game and if he does I also predict he will score...I don't know what it is about that guy but he knows how to score.

  1. Doug Wiggins
    commented on: June 18, 2014 at 2:26 a.m.
    Am I the only one seeing the elephant in the room here? After the 1st 25 minutes, the USMT looked tired, disconnected and .... with the exception of the (usually maligned 'Back Four')at least 1/2-step off on a majority of passes. What caused this? .... Soggy Turf? Hot, Humid Weather? Overtraining? .... Based upon Altidore's and Beslers' injuries, I blame Commandant Klinsman's grueling training schedule since arriving in Brazil.... Any one else come to this conclusion?

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 18, 2014 at 3:32 a.m.
    Could be some truth to that Doug, since after the Nigeria match in Jacksonville, I was amazed as the whole squad then took part in a training session immediately following that victory. It was about 86degrees and 70% humidity at the time, and all we wanted was more beer leaving the stadium :)after 90min of on our feet chanting. Can't imagine how training at that point really added to their fitness.

  1. gill agee
    commented on: June 18, 2014 at 2:18 p.m.
    Elephant in the room is the magnitude of US victory. All 3 goals were good goals in the sense the strike came as a result of good play. US conceded the wings to Ghana correctly believing their crosses were weak and that their real threat would come from the middle. Beckermann, Jones and Bradley clogged the middle shutting Ghana down. Possession by Ghana on the wings was pretty much harmless if no fun to watch.

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