US ad­vances to World Cup’s 2nd round de­spite loss

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

RE­CIFE, Brazil (AP) — The United States reached the knockout stage of con­sec­u­tive World Cups for the first time, just not the way the Amer­i­cans wanted.

Ger­many beat the U.S. 1-0 Thurs­day in soggy Re­cife on Thomas Mueller’s 55th-minute goal to win Group G, but the Amer­i­cans held onto sec­ond place when Por­tu­gal de­feated Ghana 2-1 in a game played si­mul­ta­ne­ously in Brasilia.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s a huge achieve­ment by our team to come through that group and qual­ify for the knockout stage,” U.S. coach Jur­gen Klins­mann said.

The Ger­mans, three-time World Cup cham­pi­ons, fin­ished with seven points, while the U.S. had four af­ter al­low­ing a 95th-minute goal against Por­tu­gal on Sun­day in a 2-2 draw. Por­tu­gal also had four, but the Amer­i­cans ad­vanced from the so-called “Group of Death” be­cause their goal dif­fer­ence was even and the Por­tuguese were mi­nus three.

The Amer­i­cans will play the Group H win­ner, likely Bel­gium put pos­si­bly Al­ge­ria, Tues­day in Sal­vador.

“Once the group is done, an­other tour­na­ment starts,” Klins­mann said. “Who­ever it is, we’ll be pre­pared.”

The Amer­i­cans sprinted out onto the field at the fi­nal whis­tle, about 30 sec­onds be­fore the other game ended and made ad­vance­ment of­fi­cial. Brad Davis raised both hands and led the ap­plaud­ing U.S. team to the side of the sta­dium where the ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­can sup­port­ers sat.

Just reach­ing Arena Per­nam­buco was an ac­com­plish­ment. A trop­i­cal down­pour flooded roads in a beach city known as the Brazil­ian Venice, and the U.S. bus had to make its way through an­kle-to-thigh-high wa­ter that slowed traf­fic and left some cars stalled. Rain fell through­out much of the game, and there were scat­tered empty red seats.

The game marked meet­ings of sev­eral for­mer in­ter­na­tional team­mates fac­ing each other, an un­usual oc­cur­rence. Amer­i­can right back Fabian John­son started for Ger­many in the 2009 Euro­pean Un­der-21 Cham­pi­onship along­side three of Ger­many’s starters Thurs­day: Mats Hum­mels, Jerome Boateng and goal­keeper Manuel Neuer.

Klins­mann starred for West Ger­many when it won the 1990 World Cup and coached his home­land to the 2006 World Cup semi­fi­nals.

AP Photo/ri­cardo Maza­lan

United States’ goal­keeper Tim Howard (1) and his team­mates cel­e­brate af­ter qual­i­fy­ing for the next World Cup round fol­low­ing their 1-0 loss to Ger­many dur­ing the group G World Cup soc­cer match be­tween the USA and Ger­many at the Arena Per­nam­buco in Re­cife, Brazil, Thurs­day, June 26, 2014.

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