Both the United States and Portugal will be fielding a full lineup of 11 players when they take the field in a crucial group-stage match at the 2014 World Cup. But that won't stop the Group G clash from feeling like a game of 11 on CR7. With a chance to a secure a spot in the Round of 16 in Brazil, the U.S. men's national team will have to try to contain Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo at Arena Amazonia in Manaus on Sunday.
"We have a lot of respect for Cristiano. He's a great player. But I think you have to respect for the whole team of Portugal," U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones said on Friday. "When we stick together like a team and fight like we did it against Ghana, then I think we have chances to win this game."
Coming off a thrilling 2-1 win over Ghana in its opening game in Brazil, the United States has a chance to seal a spot a in the knockout stage with a win over Portugal. Having been thumped by Germany, 4-0, in its opener, Portugal arrived in Manaus in dire need of a positive result. A loss to the U.S. would eliminate Portugal from contention before it even played its final game in the "Group of Death."
Injuries and a suspension will force both teams to field a different starting 11 than in their openers. The United States will be without striker Jozy Altidore, who suffered a hamstring injury against Ghana. Portugal will be without Pepe, who was sent off against Germany, as well as injured defender Fabio Coentrao and injured forward Hugo Almeida. Ronaldo, the reigning Ballon d'or winner, has been dealing with lingering leg injuries but is in the starting lineup.
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Here's the Varela goal from Cristiano in the final seconds that saved Portugal's World Cup hopes: http://t.co/fglWiyBDrl
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 23, 2014
In a stunning conclusion, Portugal and the U.S. tie 2-2 thanks to stoppage time goal from Silvestre Varela.
With time running out, Portugal scores! Ronaldo sets it up with brilliant cross.
It is going to feel like 50 for U.S. fans.
Portugal is pushing everything toward the U.S. goal looking for an equalizer. Jurgen Klinsmann sends in Omar Gonzalez as another defender to try to hold 2-1 lead.
(GIF via @CorkGaines)
Howard punches clear on a high cross. Nani to take corner. It's headed out of danger by U.S.
Ronaldo stands over it. Surprisingly, he doesn't shoot. He plays it short and Portugal attempts an attack on goal. It culminates with an offside call as Portugal pushed numbers toward Howard's goal.
THAT BOY CLINT DEMPSEY
— American Outlaws (@Ryan_Alfieri) June 22, 2014
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 22, 2014
CLINT DEMPSEY Y'ALLLLLLL pic.twitter.com/8o41n918z3
— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 22, 2014
— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) June 22, 2014
Damn, Clint Dempsey is about to own this summer
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 22, 2014
Yedlin set it up with a cross that made it's way across the goal mouth to Zusi. He passed to the front of the net for Dempsey who pushed the ball into the net with his body.
With numbers in the Portugal box, Dempsey knocks in a point-blank shot. The U.S. leads!
Cutting inside from the right wing, Nani finds space for a shot. The effort, from about 20 yards, sails high as the game reaches the 81st minute.
John Brooks was up warming up but Besler will stay in the match.
U.S. defender Matt Besler in pain after sliding to intercept a Portugal through ball. He goes down immediately. He had hamstring pain in the first game and could have hurt it again here.
Jones slows a Portugal attack with a hard tackle that earns him a yellow. The free kick is cleared away as Cameron gets a head to it in the penalty area.
— Jozy Altidore (@JozyAltidore) June 22, 2014
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) June 22, 2014
Portugal make their final sub with 22 minutes remaining as Meireles is replaced by Varela. That could prove costly #USAvsPOR
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 22, 2014
No player criticized more than Jermaine Jones. Derided as a "Klinsmann favorite." He just scored one of best US WC goals I have ever seen
— roger bennett (@rogbennett) June 22, 2014
Didn't know Jermaine Jones had that in him. Remarkable. 1-1.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 22, 2014
JERMAINE JONES AMERICAAAAAAAAA
— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 22, 2014
A two-footed, studs up, hard as nails bullet from Jermaine Jones. DM me for more Jermaine Jones analogies.
— Mike Foss (@themikefoss) June 22, 2014
Jermaine Jones: The pride of Chicago, Illinois. And as of one minute ago, American hero.
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) June 22, 2014
After a corner the ball trickled out to Jermaine Jones and he scored with a stunning strike. What a goal from outside the penalty. A blazing shot with his right foot and Beto had no chance as it went far post.
It looked bad for the U.S. after Ronaldo was released up the right after a turnover. He was blazing on goal but his shot was well wide.
The U.S. continue to pressure up the right through Fabian Johnson to no avail. Portugal breaks on the counter but Matt Besler puts in a strong tackle on Eder to win the ball back.
The knee of God.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) June 22, 2014
Fabian Johnson got deep to the Portugal end line and pulled the goalkeeper away from center of the net. The cross found Bradley directly in front of goal. His shot was true but it was cleared off the line by defender Ricardo Costa.
Michael Bradley takes a shot that seemed sure to hit the net but it was cleared off the line by a defender. What a chance!
U.S. getting the ball wide right into deep positions but can't find a breakthrough.