Portugal with a late equaliser to keep their dream alive
by Nick D
Jun 22, 2014 8:01 PM EDT
The USA thought they had sent Portugal packing as goals from Jones and Dempsey in the second half would have seen the North Americans qualify for the next stage of the competition. But Portugal would have the final say as Varela scored in the final minute of the match to keep Portugal's World Cup dreams alive.
Portugal keep their World Cup hopes alive as they drew against the USA
Nani got the Portuguese off to the best start as he would give them the lead after only 5 minutes of play. The USA got off to a nervous start as Portugal looked to take over the game early on. The Portuguese would take advantage of the nerves and open the scoring after a terrible defensive error by Cameron. Veloso wold whip in a low curling cross from the left side towards the centre of the box. Cameron would attempt to clear the ball on the volley but would slice the ball and it fell at the feet of Nani near the far post. Howard wasn't given a chance, as Nani powered the ball into the roof of the net. 1-0 and Portugal in the drivers seat early in the match.
Nani powered Portugal into the lead after only 5 minutes of play
The USA bounced back after going down a goal and settled into the game. They pressed forward well and enjoyed some good spells with the ball too. Johnson was playing well and getting into some good positions down the right side. He even made a good run that saw him venture into the box, but the defender would get in the way and block the attempt. Dempsey was next to step up for the US and found himself avoiding the defenders but his shot would go wide of the mark. Portugal in the lead but the US were still in this game. The half started to draw to an end and the US had Tim Howard to thank that the scoreline remained at 1-0. Just moments before the halftime whistle Nani would fire in a powerful low shot from about 20 yards out. Howard dove to his left and managed to get a fingertip on the ball and push it into the post. The ball rebounded back and fell at the feet of Eder. The striker tried to cleverly chip the ball into the net, but once again Howard would be there to push the ball over the crossbar and deny Portugal their second of the game.
Howard keeps the US in the match with a brilliant save moments before halftime
The second half and the game was evenly matched. It was end to end action by both sides as the teams played very openly and attackingly. The US should have made it 1-1 as Bradley had a tremendous opportunity to level the score. A beautiful run by Johnson saw him break behind the defenders and drag Howard out wide right. He squared the ball back across the goal face and Bradley had an empty net to tap in to. Though Costa would scramble back and get a vital goal line clearance to keep his team in the lead. Though the stadium would be roaring soon after as Jermaine Jones would cannon in a wonderful strike from outside the box to bring his team back into the match. 1-1 and Portugal in trouble of having their World Cup campaign come to an end.
Jones got the USA back on level ground with wonderful strike from the top of the box.
The game got even hotter after that as once again Howard was called into action and the veteran keeper didn't disappoint as once again he denied Portugal in attack. Meireles this time would see his attempt from the inside the box well covered by Howard as the Portuguese midfielder was left unmarked. The match ticked over and Portugal in desperate need of a goal to keep their World Cup dreams alive. They pressed on but Klinsmann had well organised his team as they defended well and kept Portugal out. Then the captain of the USA Dempsey would think he had sealed the deal as he chested the USA into the lead from close range in the 82nd minute. Though there would be high drama in the final minute of injury time as Portugal were given a lifeline with Ronaldo's cross which found Varela at the far post and he got the crucial goal to keep Portugal's World Cup alive.
In the other match played saw Algeria walk away with a 4-2 victory over South Korea and give themselves a chance when they face Germany in their final group game.