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US qualify for World Cup last 16 despite defeat to Germany

Jun 26, 2014, 1:55 PM EDT

Brazil Soccer WCup US Germany AP

The U.S. national team qualified for the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup despite losing 1-0 to Germany in Recife on Thursday.

I repeat. The USA made it out of the dreaded “Group of Death.”

Jurgen Klinsmann’s men completed a remarkable group stage campaign, as they finished runners up in Group G to Germany and qualified for the knockout rounds for the fourth-time in their history. The game-winning moment arrived in the 55th minute as Thomas Muller finished off a loose ball clinically but all eyes were on the other game in Group G, where Portugal beat Ghana 2-1 but that meant the U.S. had pulled off a huge shock to make the knockout round.

The USA will now play Belgium on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET in Salvador, as Klinmann’s men produced one of the best group stage displays in their World Cup history.

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It was a nerve jangling game in a rain-soaked Recife. Germany got on the front foot early on and a cross from the right wing found Muller in the box but the Bayern Munich star acrobatically missed the ball, then Podolski fired well over on the rebound.

Jerome Boateng was getting plenty of joy down the right-flank, as the USA sat back and tried to soak up early pressure from the German attack. Then on the left flank Mesut Ozil played in Podolski who flashed a cross into the six-yard box but Tim Howard collected the ball as Muller slid in to try and convert. Another dangerous ball into the box saw Benedikt Howedes and Per Mertesacker get in each other’s way and the ball was eventually cleared by the U.S. defense.

The USA were under intense pressure early on but managed to weather the storm in rainy Recife.


It was an intense battle in the rain in Recife.

As the first half wore on some timely clearances from Omar Gonzalez kept things level and brief forays forward resulted in a confidence boost for the U.S. side. In the 22nd minute Graham Zusi was found out wide by Michael Bradley and the Sporting KC winger cut inside superbly but curled his effort just over the bar.

After a frantic start to the game the pace dropped slightly but as half time approached Germany began to press again, with Ozil jinxing into the box and getting a shot in on goal that Howard saved down low. However with the scored locked at 0-0, both teams returned to their locker rooms knowing they were 45 minutes away from reaching the last 16.

Moments into the second half U.S. fans were fearing the worst as the ball broke to Boateng on the right and his cross was arcing towards Ozil but out of nowhere Gonzalez (yet again) arrived to put him off and quell the danger.

In the 51st minute half time substitute Klose went close as the prolific forward peeled off to the back post but he couldn’t get a good connection on his header. A wake up call for the USA.

Disaster then struck for the U.S. as a short corner from Ozil found Mertesacker who forced Howard to make a superb stop, however the loose ball found Muller 20-yards out who powerfully side-footed the ball home. The German machine was clicking into place.

After the opener, the U.S. looked shaky as Germany sprayed the ball around and probed for a second. With Ghana equalizing vs. Portugal, the USA’s chances of advancing now hung on a thread. With the second half closing out, the “Manaus effect” began to take hold on the U.S. as there were plenty of tired legs for the Stars and Stripe and a tense second half played out.

Late on Germany continued to push as Gotze almost got in from close range but Besler made a heroic clearance to keep the score at 1-0. The U.S. almost scored late on as Bedoya was teed up but a superb block from Lahm stopped him, then Dempsey headed over the bar from close range.

Despite not getting the result they would needed before the g ame, Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal beat Ghana to send the USA through to the last 16.


USA: Howard, Gonzalez, Bradley, Besler, Beasley, Dempsey, Jones, Davis (Bedoya, 59′), Beckerman, Zusi (Yedlin, 83′), Johnson

Germany: Neuer, Howedes, Hummels, Schweinsteiger (Gotze, 75′), Ozil (Schurrle, 89′), Podolski (Klose, 45′), Muller, Lahm, Mertesacker, Kroos, Boateng

Goal: Muller (55′)

  1. southbeachtalent - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    What an accomplishment!

    Hopefully Altidore will be back for Belgium.

    • handsofsweed - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      Cmon, Mr. Miyagi. Slap them hands together and start rubbing!!!

  2. jucam1 - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Poor Bob Ley is struggling to explain how the US lost and some how snuck in to the next round. Congrats USMT. No matter how bad you might have looked in some games, or the breaks you get, all that matters is you git in, that is a big accomplishment.

    • term3186 - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      So jucam. How was that -10 GD bet in Vegas? Take that all the way to the bank did you? Don’t see the US even earning a point? Not quite “beyond done”. We’re moving on.

  3. SergeantKabukiMan - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Happiest I’ve ever been after a loss. Congrats to the US. Well deserved. Tuesday should be fun.
    Oh yeah. Thank you Ronaldo!

  4. eddie0710 - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    Not convinced with how they played today but it’s still a huge accomplishment to get out of this group! Go USA!!!

    • tridecagon - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      Did you watch the Germany-Portugal game? The German team has the ability to make even world-class opponents look silly. After the first 10 minutes or so, we hung in really well.

    • southbeachtalent - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      No Altidore, a great game against Portugal. Can’t be too disappointed.

  5. christophershearin - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    i don’t care who we play in the next round, if we keep up this form, were on to the quarter finals!

  6. mlsconvert88888 - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Oh how sweet it is!
    Thanks Germany for smoking Portugal 4-0 in the opener and thanks to Portugal for beating Ghana, but most of all Thanks to the boys for the previous win and tie to put us in position to get through.

  7. txbearmeat - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    Just to be clear. If Ghana had tied, would we be going home?

    • southbeachtalent - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      No, but it couldn’t have been a 3-3 draw.

      • steves4 - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        It could have been 8-8 and the US still would have gone through. Would’ve left Portugal and Ghana on 2 points each and US with 4 points.

    • term3186 - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      No. Not sure what southbeach is talking about, but ANY draw would’ve been fine. Germany would finish on top with 7 pts, we’d be in second with 4 pts, and Ghana and Portugal would have 2 each.

      However, if Ghana had won (by any scoreline other than 1-0), we would be going home. They would have an equal (or better) GD (first tiebreaker), and certainly have a better GF (the second tiebreaker).

      • southbeachtalent - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        woops, my bad. I though goal count had something to do with it.

    • mikeevergreen - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:24 PM

      No, Ghana would still only have two points. We had 4 going in.

  8. jucam1 - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Term I don’t think I was the -10 goal guy bet guy? I totally didn’t think the US would make through so please celebrate, call me dumb, and I admit I was def wrong. Like I said whether you sneak in through the back door and barely make it like the US or own your group like Holland, Colombia, or Brazil, all that matters is that you made it. That is a big accomplishment. From this point on they are playing with house money. I think Belgium is a much better team but that doesn’t necessarily mean much in this Cup. While Costa Rica and Mexico are playing way better than the US right now, this Cup has been a good sign for Concacaf that has long been a bit of a joke to other power conferences. Been a great cup full of underdogs, can’t wait to see the next round

    • handsofsweed - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      We don’t start playing with house money until the quarterfinals. The USA’s talent, coaching and expectations are much better than you understand. I respect you owning your $hit though, that’s for sure.

  9. grm35741 - Jun 27, 2014 at 3:50 AM

    Those wishing for Altidore to be ready should be careful what they wish for. He is in such a drought ad now falling out of fitness don’t know if we just don’t go with what we have. may use him for a desperate second half sub.

    My choice would be to go for broke. We are somewhat fortunate to be here. Bradley has not looked his best. We are creating few chances. The big positive is we have been hard to break down defensively.

    Play two strikers and Yedlin in the back (his pace has created opportunities)and lets try to win not just hold on. Watching Mexico and costa Rica attack makes me jealous. We can do as well or better after all we have beaten these teams many times.

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