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A Late Goal Keeps Portugal Alive in Yesterday’s 2-2 Draw Against the USA

The United States were seconds away from a win, but Cristiano Ronaldo and Silvestre Varela combined to steal a draw on virtually the last kick of the ball in Sunday’s pool play match.  Portugal would take an early lead Sunday as Nani knocked in the first goal of the match.

The U.S. finally broke through in the 64th minute after a cleared corner kick fell right to Jones 20 yards from goal. Jones took a touch to get around Nani and then unleashed a missile that left Beto (Portugal’s goal keeper) frozen as it tucked inside the far post, pulling the U.S. even at 1-1.  They would not take long to take the lead as Clint Dempsey chested down ball from short range.  Graham Zusi found himself in space to the left of goal and spotted Dempsey alone in the front of Beto and put the ball in front of the striker, who used either his chest or belly to direct the ball into the net to make it 2-1.

Christopher Lee, Getty Images

At that point the United States seemed to have the win all but knotted up as Portugal’s best player in Cristiano Ronaldo had been a complete non factor up to that point.  He would change that though in the final minute of extra time to crush America’s chances of earning the win and also punching their ticket to the knock stage of the World Cup.  With less than 30 seconds left on the clock, Cristiano Ronaldo got free on the right and fired a perfect cross to Silvestre Varela, who blasted the ball past Howard with a diving header to even the match at 2-2.  The game would end in a draw.

The Americans will now need to earn a win or draw against Germany on Thursday if they want to guarantee themselves a spot in the knock out round.  Follow this link to see and the scenarios in which the USA can still advance to the next round despite a loss to Germany. 

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