2014 World Cup – Group G
United States vs Portugal
Arena Amazônia – Manaus, Brazil
Sunday, June 22, 2014, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV, ESPN, Univision
Money Line: Portugal -125 / United States +345 / Draw +280
Point Line: Portugal -0.5 -125 / United States +0.5 +105
Total: over 2.5 -122 / under 2.5 +102
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
With Germany tying Ghana 2-2 yesterday in Group G of the World Cup, the USA now controls their own destiny in the so called “Group of Death”. It won’t be easy though as the Americans have tough games against Portugal and Germany remaining. The United States beat Ghana last Monday night 2-1 while Portugal was crushed 4-0 by Germany. The United plays Portugal Sunday night in Manaus in the heart of the Amazon Rain Forest. A United States win would clinch a berth in the knockout round regardless about what happens against Germany on Thursday and it would eliminate Portugal. A draw would still put them in decent shape, but they would probably need at least a point against Germany. A loss isn’t the end of the world but they would need help to advance.
The series between the United States and Portugal is tied 2-2-1. The United States won the last meeting 3-2 in the Group Stage of the 2002 World Cup. The US took a 3-0 lead at halftime and held on for the win. The game was the only game in World Cup history to feature two own goals, one by each team.
Both sides are battling key injuries. Talented American striker Jozy Altidore strained his hamstring in the 21st minute against Ghana Monday. He is out against Portugal but there is an outside shot he could return either against Germany or in the knockout round. Aron Johannsson replaced Altidore against Ghana, and could start agaisnt Portugal. Chris Wondolowski and Graham Zusi are other options to replace Altidore.
Portugal has even more injury concerns. Star striker Cristiano Ronaldo has battled a knee injury for months and has left training numerous times in recent weeks. There were unconfirmed reports this week that Portugal team doctors told Ronaldo that continuing to play on the knee could threaten his career. Ronaldo says he is “100% fit” and will start. He played the whole match against Germany but wasn’t very effective. Silvestre Varela could come in if Ronaldo can’t go. Portugal will definitely be without three starters though. Defender Pepe will miss after getting a red card in the first half against Germany. Defender Fabio Coentrao and forward Hugo Almeida are both out for the rest of the tournament. Ricardo Costa, Andre Almeida and Eder will start for the injured trio respectively.
The United States got off to a great start against Ghana as Clint Dempsey scored 30 seconds into the game for the fifth fasted goal in World Cup history. It ended an unfortunate streak for the US of getting down early in World Cup games. The Altidore injury kind of deflated the United States, as did the oppressive humidity in Natal. The US had another scary moment at 32 minutes when Dempsey suffered a broken nose when Ghana’s John Boye struck hom with his calf while both were going for the ball. Dempsey would miss a couple of minutes while doctor’s stopped the bleeding. He would play the rest of the game. Defender Matt Besler also suffered a hamstring injury but not as serious as one Altidore suffered. He will start against Portugal. The Americans would take the 1-0 lead into the locker room.
In the 46th minute, US coach Jurgen Klinsmann took out Besler for John Brooks, Jr. The United States looked exhausted in the second half and Ghana controlled most of the action. US keeper Tim Howard made some great saves to keep the 1 goal lead. However, it was just a matter of time before Ghana would score as much as they were shooting. Ghana striker Andre Ayew scored the equalizer at the 82nd minute. In the 86th minutes, just as it looked like the US would have to settle for a disappointing draw, the Americans received a corner. Brooks would score off the corner on a header to give the US the improbable 2-1 win. Ghana had eliminated the US from the World Cup in 2006 and 2010.
Ghana had 21 shots and 8 on goal. The US only had 8 shots but 7 of them were on target. The US had 12 fouls to 10 for Ghana. Ghana had possession for 60% of the time. Ghana had 7 corners to 3 for the Americans. Ghana had 5 offisides to 1 for the United States.
Germany dominated Portugal from start to finish last Monday in Salvador. Forward Thomas Muller started the scoring 12 minutes in for Germany. Mats Hummels made it 2-0 Germany at 32 minutes. Pepe was sent off for Portugal in the 37th minute. Muller added his second goal in stoppage time of the first half to make it 3-0. Muller would complete the hat trick with his third goal at 78 minutes. That would be the final, and it was the worst loss for Portugal ever in the World Cup.
Germany had 13 shots including 9 on goal. Portugal had 14 shots and 9 on goal. Portugal had 11 fouls to 8 for Germany. Germany had possession for 54% of the time. Portugal had 6 corners to 4 for Germany. Germany had 2 offsides to 1 for Portugal.
Klinsmann had used a 4-4-1-1 formation against Ghana with a diamond midfield. However, without Altidore, Klinsmann will use a 4-5-1 formation with Dempsey the only forward. Michael Bradley highlights the five man midfield.
Portugal is coached by Paulo Bento. He will use a 4-3-3 formation. Nani could be counted on to pick of the scoring slack if Ronaldo can’t go. Keeper Rui Patricio will have to play much better than he did against Germany.
Portugal is racked by injury none more key than Ronaldo. Still Portugal is still a deep and talented team that will be fighting for survival after being humiliated by Germany. The steamy conditions here will make it brutal for both teams. I think the United States finds a way to pull off the upset 2-1 over Portugal.
Our expert handicappers will help you crush the books. Don’t miss out on anymore winners.