06/22/2014 08:01 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

U.S. Stunned By Last-Minute Portugal Goal In World Cup Thriller (VIDEOS/PHOTOS)


The United States is still alive in the Group of Death but hasn't escaped yet.

In a thrilling group-stage clash that wasn't decided until the final seconds, the U.S. team was on the verge of sealing a spot in the Round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup when Cristiano Ronaldo set up a last-gasp goal for Portugal. The U.S. held a 2-1 lead into the final minute of stoppage time when Ronaldo blazed up the right wing and delivered a cross to Portugal's Silvestre Varela in front of goal. In the 95th minute of play, the reserve midfielder headed past U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard to earn Portugal a 2-2 tie at Arena Amazonia in Manaus on Sunday.

"Well, obviously, when you get it in the last second, it's unfortunate," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann told ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on the field after the draw. "But I think it was an amazing game, amazing performance by our guys. Nothing more you can ask for. We just go it the tougher way. We got to go and got to beat Germany, get a result against Germany. That's what we're going to do."

After an early defensive miscue gifted Portugal the only goal of the first half, the U.S. side surged into the lead with two goals in the second half. In the 64th minute, U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones scored an equalizer with a sensational strike from outside the Portugal penalty area. The right-footed shot, coming shortly after a U.S. corner kick, froze Portugal goalkeeper Beto and blazed into the net at the far post.

The U.S. comeback seemed complete in the 81st minute when captain Clint Dempsey scored his second goal in as many games in Brazil. The go-ahead goal was produced by yet another U.S. foray up the right. A cross from defender DeAndre Yedlin from the end line found its way through traffic in the Portugal penalty area to U.S. midfielder Graham Zusi. He passed to Dempsey directly in front of goal. The player who scored the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history in the U.S. opener against Ghana then knocked the ball into the net.

Had the U.S. held on for the win it would have sealed a place in the Round of 16 and eliminated Portugal from contention. Portugal arrived in Manaus in desperate need of points from the match after suffering a 4-0 defeat to Germany. The draw ensured that all four teams in the group will be in contention heading into the final two games. The U.S. will face Germany on June 26 while Portugal faces Ghana. Both Germany and the U.S. can secure a place in the knockout stage with a win or a tie.

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"Obviously, we're disappointed," Dempsey told Schaap on the field. "But at the end of the day, you got to look at the positives. We got a point. We're on four points now. It's going to go down to the last game and hopefully we'll get the job done."

A poor clearance by defender Geoff Cameron in the fifth minute made it seem like even a single point would be hard to come by for the United States. Cameron failed to handle a through pass from Portugal's Miguel Veloso and the ball glanced off his foot. It dropped to Portugal forward Nani in front of the goal and Howard was beaten by the point-blank shot that followed.



PHOTOS: U.S. vs. Portugal