In caseÂ the U.S. national footballÂ team somehow doesn’t advance to the knockout round of this year’s tournament, they are going toÂ spend four years recallingÂ how they were just seconds away from it.
In a breathtaking andÂ heartbreaking 2-2 tie, Portugal’s Silvestre Varela scored in the fifth and final minute of stoppage time to bring his teamÂ back from the verge of elimination and pull the Americans back from surviving this tournament’s list of outsiders.
‘The goal, off a picture-perfect cross fromÂ Cristiano Ronaldo, wrecked a gutty comeback for the U.S. The Americans fell behind early, then took the lead with two second-half goals, only to see it slip away when Varela outran defender Geoff Cameron and headed the ball home,” describes the match The Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. national soccer teamÂ now move towardsÂ their final group match with Germany which is scheduled for ThursdayÂ needing a draw to guarantee a spot in the round of 16. A draw would also win the group for Germany, whom U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann used to coach.
“Anyone who had a chance to be in Manaus will talk about this game for a long time,” Klinsmann said. “It’s a bummer you have to swallow.”
“Football is cruel sometimes,” said goalkeeper Tim Howard. “But tomorrow will be a new day.”
However, the Portugal team weren’t thrilled. Despite the late goal, theirÂ coach admitted thatÂ Paulo Bento said the draw was quite difficult to take. “Our players are a bit sad now,” Bento said.
Clint Dempsey lauched the match with a broken nose and a black eye. Nevertheless,Â for a little while it looked like itÂ would put an endÂ with the most clutch of goals that would send the U.S. teamÂ to the knockout round.
“A deflection off Dempsey’s chest in the 81st minute gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead. Stunningly, it put the Americans on the brink of surviving a group that also includes Ghana and Germany. Few gave the Americans a chance of moving on when this tournament began,” The Wall Street Journal writes.
“It wasn’t pretty. It was never going to be on this brutally hot night in the Amazon. Nani’s goal in the sixth minute off a miserable defensive play by Cameron made it look like this wasn’t going to be the Americans’ night.”
Shortly after the beginning of the match, the American team were every bit the equal of their opponents, pounding their depleted defense down the right side, forcingÂ defenders to join the attack and battling for loose balls with their elbows up.
There was a golden chance for the U.S. in the 55th minute as Dempsey carried the ball almost to the near post on the right side, then sent it perfectly across the goal toÂ Michael Bradley, whoâ€”4 yards from an almost wide-open goalâ€”deflected it into the shin of defender Ricardo Costa.
First the Americans wereÂ down, but later Â Then the game was tied up. Then the U.S. was up! Life was great, crowds were cheering, Cristiano Ronaldo was already deciding what flavor of Ben & Jerry’s to cuddle up with while crying later.
“Then at the absolute last second, Portugal scored, tying the match up. No winners, no losers. Just lots of emotions,” Mashable concludes.