RECIFE, Brazil (June 26, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 1-0 to Germany to conclude Group G play at the 2014 FIFA World Cup but combined with a 2-1 Portugal victory against Ghana in the other group match, it was enough to send the Americans to the Round of 16 for the second consecutive World Cup.
The USA will now face the winner of Group H – likely Belgium or Algeria – on July 1 at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision and Univision Deportes. The USA finished the group tied for second place on points with Portugal at four each, but the U.S. goes through to the knockout round and Portugal is eliminated based on a superior goal differential. The U.S. finished Group G play with four goals scored and four allowed while Portugal scored four, but allowed seven.
The lone goal of the game came in the 55th minute from German forward Thomas Muller and soon after at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Asamoah Gyan scored for Ghana to equalize at 1-1 against Portugal in a match that was being played concurrently.
Thus started a span of 23 nerve-wracking minutes in which another Ghana goal would have put the United States out of the tournament on goal differential and put Ghana through in second place. Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo gave the USA some breathing room with a goal in the 80th minute to put his country ahead 2-1.
The match was played steady rain on a soggy field which stood up well despite rain that had been falling for hours before the match, causing serious flooding in Recife.
The USA had two chances to equalize in stoppage time of the second half (and a tie would have also put the USA in the Round of 16 regardless of the Portugal-Ghana result), but Germany defender Phillip Lahm’s sliding block of Alejandro Bedoya’s shot deep in the penalty box kept the U.S. off the board. Shortly after that, Clint Dempsey put a short-range header just over the bar. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard played a clean match making several safe grabs on low crosses.
For full standings and results, visit ussoccer.com’s 2014 FIFA World Cup homepage.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
GER – Thomas Muller, 55th minute: The goal came off a corner kick taken short from the right side. A cross was sent into the penalty area and towering center-back Per Mertesacker sent a powerful header on frame. It was well-saved by Tim Howard with a dive to his right but the rebound bounced out to Thomas Muller at the top of the box on the left side. Muller hit a perfect first-time shot with the inside of his right foot from 18 yards out that flew just inside the right post. GER 1, USA 0
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Omar Gonzalez, 14th minute: The Germans found some early space down the right side and Jerome Boateng crossed hard on the ground. Omar Gonzalez beat the German attacker to the ball and cleared away the dangerous cross that was skidding on the wet ground across the face of the goal.
USA – Omar Gonzalez, 14th minute: Gonzalez had another crucial clearance second later as Thomas Muller got through on a quick pass into the box and would have had a clear shot on goal from close range had Gonzalez not slide from the side to knock the ball out of danger, avoiding a foul that would have resulted in a penalty kick.
USA – Tim Howard, 35th minute: Mesut Ozil worked his way loose in the penalty box and had a good look at goal, shooting between the legs of the closing Matt Besler, but Howard stood his ground and knocked away the low, hard shot to keep the game scoreless. Omar Gonzalez swept away the rebound.
USA – Omar Gonzalez, 47th minute – On a dangerous curving cross from the right, Gonzalez was able to retreat quickly and jostle Mesut Ozil just enough to make him head the ball over the crossbar.
USA – Matt Besler, 83rd minute – Mesut Ozil popped free deep inside the U.S. penalty area, but took a touch that was a bit hard and Besler was able to sweep the ball away on a tackle.
GER -- Phillip Lahm, 90+3rd minute – A nice U.S. attack down the right side saw the Americans work the ball across the penalty area to the left side to Alejandro Bedoya. The U.S. midfielder momentarily had a look at goal, but a last-ditch slide by Lahm knocked the ball away.
- It is the first time in the history of the U.S. Men’s National Team that the team has advanced out of the group phase in consecutive FIFA World Cup tournaments.
- Clint Dempsey’s was held scoreless, but his next World Cup tally would be the fifth of his career and match the record set by Landon Donovan
- DaMarcus Beasley played in his 10th FIFA World Cup game, tying him for fourth all-time with Brian McBride and Claudio Reyna. Beasley is now one cap behind second-place Cobi Jones and Earnie Stewart (11 caps each in the FIFA World Cup).
- Tim Howard made the seventh start and appearance of his World Cup career, which ties the U.S. MNT record among goalkeepers with Tony Meola.
- Howard earned the 103rd appearance of his international career, breaking the goalkeeping record of 102 held by Kasey Keller. Howard ranks 11th on the all-time U.S. MNT appearances list.
Next on the Schedule:The U.S. MNT faces the winner of Group H in the Round of 16 at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 1, at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil.
Broadcast information: ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision, Univision Deportes and ESPN Radio
- The USA is now 8-18-6 all-time in the FIFA World Cup while Germany moves to 62-20-20 all-time.
- The USA is 3-7-0 all-time against Germany.
- The 13th-ranked USA faced a top-10 FIFA-ranked opponent for the 59th time in its history. The USA is now 16-34-9 all-time against top-10 teams in FIFA’s ranking system and 9-23-3 against top-5 teams.
- The U.S. MNT moves to 5-2-2 in 2014.
- The USA is now 2-5-1 all-time in games played in Brazil.
- U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s starting lineup featured Tim Howard in goal and one change to the back line from the Ghana match as Omar Gonzalez got his first start of the World Cup, lining up at center back next to Matt Besler along with left back DaMarcus Beasley and right back Fabian Johnson
- The USA’s 4-5-1 formation included holding midfielders Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman, along with Graham Zusi on the left, Brad Davis (who made his first start and saw his first minutes of the World Cup) on the right and Michael Bradley in the center.
- As he did against Portugal, Clint Dempsey played up front, and of course wore the captain’s armband.
- The USA is 9-4-3 in games with Dempsey as the team captain.
- The USA is now 32-12-9 all-time under Klinsmann.
- Thursday’s game against No. 2 Germany marked the sixth occasion in which the U.S. MNT played top-5 FIFA-ranked teams in back-to-back games.
- U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann made two subs in the match, sending on Alejandro Bedoya for Brad Davis in the 59th minute and DeAndre Yedlin for Graham Zusi in the 84th minute. It was the second game in a row in which Yedlin has come on as a sub.
- The USA played without forward Jozy Altidore (hamstring).
USA Disciplinary Notes:
- All U.S. players are eligible for the Round of 16 match.
- Jermaine Jones (caution on June 22), Omar Gonzalez and Kyle Beckerman (who both picked up cautions against Germany) carry yellow cards into next match. Another caution during in any game through quarterfinals for the trio would result in one-game suspension.
- Yellow cards clear heading into the semifinals.
- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Germany
Date: June 26, 2014
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup – Group G
Venue: Arena Pernambuco; Recife, Brazil
Kickoff: 12 p.m. ET
Weather: 73 degrees, rainy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
GER 0 1 1
GER – Thomas Muller 55th minute
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 23-Fabian Johnson, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 15-Kyle Beckerman, 13-Jermaine Jones; 14-Brad Davis (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 59), 4- Michael Bradley, 19- Graham Zusi (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 84) 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.)
Subs Not Used: 6-John Brooks, 10-Mix Diskerud, 12-Brad Guzan, 16-Julian Green, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 20-Geoff Cameron, 21-Timmy Chandler, 22-Nick Rimando, 23-Aron Johannsson
Not Available: 17-Jozy Altidore
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
GER: 1-Manuel Neuer; 4-Benedikt Howedes, 5-Mats Hummels, 17-Per Mertesacker, 20-Jerome Boateng; 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger (19-Mario Gotze,76), 16-Phillip Lahm, 18-Toni Kroos; 8-Mesut Ozil (9-Andre Schurrle, 89), 10-Lukas Podolski (11-Miroslav Klose, 46), 13-Thomas Muller
Subs not used: 2-Kevin Grosskreutz, 3-Matthias Ginter, 6-Sami Khedira, 12-Ron-Robert Zieler, 14-Julian Draxler, 15-Erik Durm, 21-Shkodran Mustafi, 22-Roman Weidenfeller, 23-Christoph Kramer
Head coach: Joachim Low
Stats Summary: USA / GER
Shots: 4 / 13
Shots on Goal: 1 / 6
Saves: 5 / 0
Corner Kicks: 2 / 3
Fouls: 15 / 9
Offside: 2 / 7
GER - Benedikt Howedes (caution) 11th minute
USA - Omar Gonzalez (caution) 37
USA - Kyle Beckerman (caution) 62
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Abduxamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Bakhadyr Kochkarov (KGZ)
Fourth Official: Alioum (CMR)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Kyle Beckerman
The U.S. Men’s National Team rode a shock opening win against fourth-ranked Portugal, a draw against the host Korea Republic and a little help from the goalposts to advance to the Round of 16 at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Finishing second in the group meant that the MNT would have less than three full days rest to turn around and face regional rivals Mexico in the highest stakes match the two nations had ever played. With little time to prepare, in some respects the U.S. was lucky to have drawn the team with which it was most familiar.
Despite the U.S. having won four of the previous five meetings, according to U.S. captain Claudio Reyna, when the team arrived at Jeonju World Cup Stadium that June afternoon, there wasn’t much respect shown from the opposition side.
“Before the game we walked out and we were walking around the field. We had this focus and concentration as a team as you do preparing for any game,” the former team captain told ussoccer.com. “I was with Eddie Lewis, Frankie Hejduk, Gregg Berhalter and Earnie Stewart and we were ready to go – we were foaming at the mouth for this game. We looked over and the Mexicans were laughing, joking and looking at us…That was it.”
Reyna called the team over to quickly finish their pre-game pitch inspection and head back into the locker room.
“We sort of wanted the game to start, we were so ready to go,” he continued. “Back in the locker room, I remember saying, ‘These guys are laughing at us. They think they’re going to beat us easily.’”
Mexico had done efficient work to get to that point. Having finished with seven points atop a group that featured Italy, Croatia and Ecuador, El Tri’s run to the Round of 16 had the side brimming with self-assurance ahead of the match.
“They were feeling confident, but the lack of respect they showed was clear – you never do that,” said Reyna. “I would never do that in my career, even if I felt really comfortable about beating an opponent. That you’d be giggling, laughing and joking at the opponent. It was pretty clear that it was directed at us and at some of our players, and obviously we play them all the time so there’s that rivalry.”
“I remember saying, ‘We’re not losing this game guys.’ Everyone went around and you could feel it all the way through that we couldn’t wait to get out there.”
Reyna gets past Ramon Morales in the most famous "Dos a Cero" in Men's National Team history.
Injuries and suspensions limited the U.S. options, and Bruce Arena used the uncertainty to confound the Mexicans by deploying a 3-5-2 formation for the match. The switch saw Reyna move from his regular central midfield position to the right flank, with the move paying off almost immediately. Following an eighth minute foul in the Mexico half, Brian McBride quickly restarted as he saw Reyna pushing up the flank. The U.S. captain beat two defenders to the end line before centering for Josh Wolff, whose deft touch teed up McBride for a clinical finish and an equally gratifying goal celebration.
The goal set an early tone and played perfectly into Arena’s game plan, allowing the U.S. to sit in and pick its moments to counter against an increasingly frustrated Mexican side. Landon Donovan’s second- half header off an Eddie Lewis cross helped ice the game, giving the MNT its first ever World Cup knockout round win and a quarterfinal date with Germany.
“It was just a great team performance. To beat them 2-0, eliminate them and afterwards realize this was a big deal back in the States,” Reyna said.
The win raised the profile of the Men’s National Team more than any other since the 1994 FIFA World Cup, but in an age before social media, Reyna admitted the players didn’t realize how big an impact the victory had made.
“We didn’t know how huge it was at home,” he said. “We were in Korea and we knew it was sort of growing in momentum. I remember seeing some of the news clips from Mexico City where there were people in plazas and squares crying over the result – that felt good.”
U.S. supporters celebrate during the MNT's 2-0 win against Mexico at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Though the momentum was already building towards U.S. domination of the rivalry, the World Cup win tipped the scales. Since 2000, the MNT has held a 13-6-5 advantage against El Tri.
“From that moment on, it continued to be a real domination of Mexico,” Reyna said. “We went on and beat them all the time. That was the point where we felt we were no longer playing behind them, that we were better than them.”
“It was one big coming out party on the biggest stage.”Read more