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World Cup 2014: Ronaldo keeps Portugal alive in pulsating draw against USA

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This World Cup continues to be one of the greatest ones in recent memory, as Portugal equalized with the last kick of the game to draw 2-2 against USA. Jurgen Klinsmann will be hugely disappointed as the United States were on the verge of qualification to the round of 16 before Cristiano Ronaldo broke their hearts with a peach of a cross, keeping Portugal alive in this Group of Death.

Nani opened the scoring with his first goal for club and country in 2014 early on as Geoff Cameron’s scuffed clearance put him in a one-on-one position with Tim Howard. He duly obliged, but it wouldn’t be erroneous to state that the response from United States was nothing short of stirring.

There were concerns over whether Clint Dempsey could lead the line on his own following Jozy Altidore’s injury, but the Texas-born talisman was excellent with his runs. United States tried their luck from long distance in the first half, but they couldn’t trouble Beto much in goal despite being dominant for most of the half. It looked like it wouldn’t be their day after Ricardo Costa made a brilliant goal line clearance to deny Michael Bradley.

However, Jermaine Jones equalized in the second half with a beautiful drive from outside the box. Things went from bad to worse for Paulo Bento’s side as Clint Dempsey came through again for the United States, bundling in a goal to make Jurgen Klinsmann’s side take the lead. There was no doubt that it was thoroughly deserved considering their dominance in possession over the Portuguese.

Cristiano Ronaldo was on the periphery of much of the game, clearly not fully fit yet. However, he did what the best player in the world should do in literally the last attack of the game. He looped a spectacular cross to substitute Silvestre Varela, and the Porto man headed in the equalizer to give Portugal a lifeline in this World Cup. The so-called Group of Death has truly lived up to its billing.

Teams:

Portugal: Beto, Joao Pereira, Ricardo Costa, Bruno Alves, Andre Almeida (46’ for William Carvalho), Miguel Veloso, Raul Meireles (69’ for Silvestre Varela), Joao Moutinho, Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Helder Postiga (16’ for Eder)

United States: Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya (72’ for DeAndre Yedlin), Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi (90+1’ for Omar Gonzalez), Clint Dempsey (87’ for Chris Wondolowski)

Final Score: Portugal 2-2 USA (Nani 5’, Jones 64’, Dempsey 81’, Varela 90+5’)