KICK-OFF: 6 pm ET on ESPN, Watch ESPN, Univision and ESPN Radio.
This evening on what will be a warm and humid night in the resort city of Manaus, Brazil the United States will battle Portugal in a must win game for both teams.
Yesterday’s Germany 2-2 draw with Ghana has really opened the door for the boys of the United States.
For team USA a win this evening would assure them of advancing to the “Knock-out round.” Something thought to be impossible by many experts before World Cup 2014 began in Brazil.
Considering they were part of Group G, called by many soccer experts ‘The Group of Death,’ because of the depth and the quality of the teams that make up the gang.
Germany, Portugal and Ghana have all been regulars in past World Cup quarterfinal rounds. So for the United States to come out of this group would be nothing short of amazing.
But after beating Ghana in their opener 2-1 last Monday it seems that the USA might just be facing the Portuguese side at the best possible time. They are coming off a crushing 4-0 loss to Germany in their Group G opener. There are concerns about the health of superstar and team captain Cristiano Ronaldo.
It seems that the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star forward has been dealing with a knee injury for quite a few weeks. Multiple media reports have him at about 70 percent of his playing ability. .
While even a slowed down Ronald is dangerous there are other problems facing the Portugal team as they enter tonight’s big game. They will be missing the services of left-back Fabio Coentrao who was ruled out of the World Cup after sustaining a thigh injury in the group opener against Germany. Furthermore, Real Madrid centre-back Pepe is suspended after being sent off over a head-butt on Thomas Muller in that same game.
The United States is still flying high after their opening match win over Ghana and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad is playing with confidence. They will be without Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore who suffered a hamstring strain last week. But that seems to be their only key injury.
The USA leads Portugal 2-1
USA 3 (O’Brien, Costa og, McBride) Portugal 2 (Beto, Agoos og), World Cup, June 2002
USA 1 (Wegerle) Portugal 0, International Friendly, June 1992
Portugal 1 (Domingos) USA 0, International Friendly, December 1990
USA striker Clint Dempsey has scored in three straight World Cups.
The Americans have scored more than one goal in three out of their last 12 matches.
The Stars and Stripes have only picked up two clean sheets in their past 24 World Cup matches.
Last week Portugal conceded four goals at a World Cup match for the first time ever
Monaco midfielder Joao Moutinho produced 10 assists at the European qualifiers – which is more than anyone else.
USA to win: 4.1
Portugal to win: 3.4
World Cup: USA can advance with a win over Portugal by James Williams