USMNT emerges from World Cup's 'Group of Death'
US draws 'Group of Death'
Last year, the 32 World Cup teams were drawn into eight groups and pundits predicted an early exit for the United States after they landed in Group G, dubbed the "Group of Death." Germany, Portugal, and Ghana awaited the USMNT in the only group with two teams in FIFA's Top 5 rankings -- Germany and Portugal. It was an interesting draw considering the United States was eliminated from the last three World Cups by either Ghana or Germany. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his squad accepted the challenge...
Game 1 -- Ghana
In Team USA's opening match against Ghana, which took place on Monday, June 16, captain Clint Dempsey put the USMNT on top 1-0 with a goal at the 30-second mark.
In the 82nd minute, Ghana's Andre Ayew tied the game, 1-1, by elevating a ball passed USA goalkeeper Tim Howard at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil.
Defender John Brooks became an unlikely hero for the USMNT, as he scored the game-winning header off a corner kick in the 86th minute to give the United States a 2-1 victory and a critical three points to open the tournament.
Game 2 -- Portugal
In the United States' second group game, midfielder Nani gave Portugal an early 1-0 lead thanks to a miscue by the US defense at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, on Sunday, June 22, 2014.
Man of the match
Midfielder Jermaine Jones' blast in the 64th minute found the netting to even the contest at 1-1.
Clint Dempsey scored with his chest to give Team USA a 2-1 advantage in the 81st minute of Sunday's match. A win would have clinched a berth in the knockout stage for the United States...
...But in the final seconds of the 95th minute, Ronaldo made a world-class cross to substitute Silvestre Varela, who headed the ball into the back of the net to force a 2-2 draw. With the tie, the US was not guaranteed to advance out of the group stage.
Game 3 -- Germany
The USMNT played Germany at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil on June 26, 2014 in their final group game. With both teams holding four points, a tie would put both teams into the knockout stage. Germany's Thomas Muller scored in the 55th minute to put Germany ahead. With rain pouring down, no other goals were scored and the US took its first loss of the tournament. But Portugal's 2-1 defeat over Ghana created a two-way tie for second place, which the United States won on goal differential to advance, earning the right to play Belgium on Tuesday, July 1.