“We’re not going to Manaus to defend a 1-1 or a nil-nil. We go there and want to win this game.” – Jurgen Klinsmann, USMNT Coach
- Kickoff: 6:00 PM EST – ESPN
- Location: Arena Amazonia, Manaus, Brazil
- RVA Outdoor Viewing Party: Only one spot to see this game and that the corner of W. Grace and Foushee for the outdoor viewing party.
If you take a look at the soccer pedigrees of the two nations, it’s natural to assume that Portugal would have crushed the US at every meeting. The facts tell a different story. The two teams have clashed five times, with two wins a piece and a draw. The most dramatic of those games was in the 2002 World Cup when the US stunned the world with a 3-2 victory. That game had two own goals one for each side and the winner was by US soccer legend Brian McBride.
Back to the current World Cup, the US beat Ghana, but they didn’t look pretty doing it and they lost striker Jozy Altidore to a hamstring injury. Unfortunately Jozy was one of the men that was to be counted on for scoring goals. The most likely scenario: you’ll see the same team take the field in roughly the same formation, but with Jozy being replaced with either Chris Wondolowski (who offers experience at 31-years-old) or Aron Johannsson (who at 23 has the speed, but who can disappear from the game at times).
Team captain and general bad ass Clint Dempsey suffered a broken nose and, despite not being able to breath through his nostrils, finished the game against Ghana. He’s supposedly fine and will need to have great game, as will Michael Bradley who was all but MIA against Ghana.
A win or a draw most likely puts the US through to the knock out rounds. In case you’re wondering how Coach Jurgen Klinsmann fells about the coming game, check out this quote from him: “We’re here, we’re here. We’re not going to Manaus to defend a 1-1 or a nil-nil,” Klinsmann said after the team’s light practice, a recovery session. “We go there and want to win this game.”
Portugal took a 4-0 beating by Germany in its opener and also lost a key player. Defender Pepe will be serving a one game suspension after a head butt to Thomas Muller during their opening match.
Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was a non-factor in the first match, and questions continue to arise on whether he’s healthy enough to compete. He has not been staying for all of the practice sections and there’s a rumor that the team doctor stated he’s risking permanent injury if he continues to play.
Portugal needs a win to solidify their chances of advancing. The attacks will most likely come from the wings and the US didn’t give them much to worry about defense wise on those wings. Expect Portugal to come out gunning for goals. But the big question remains is their star player Ronaldo going to be up to the task.
THE X FACTORS
The heat index is predicted to be in the 100 range at match time. The US are well known for being tough and gritty, but that image looked a little tarnished against Ghana as multiple players were cramping up and two hamstring injuries forced unplanned subs.