The United States of America were on the brink of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup second round 16 when Portugal’s Silvestre Varela netted a goal in the dying minutes of the Group G match to earn his side a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Arena da Amazonia on Sunday. Cristiano Ronaldo sent in a cross in the fifth minute of stoppage time to enable Varela to net home with a diving header as the match drew to a conclusion. The United States are now tied with group log leaders Germany at the top of the standings, both sides with four points but separated by goal difference. Meanwhile Portugal and Ghana have one point each.
The Portuguese opened the scoring with Nani shooting past a rambling Tim Howard as early in the fifth minute of the match, with the Americans only responding in the second half. In the 64th minute Jermaine Jones made it 1-1 with a curling shot after he made contact with Graham Zusi’s cross that pierced the European defence. It was Clint Dempsey who seemed to have won it for the Stars and Stripes when he put the Americans ahead in the 81st minute.
Dempsey found the back of the net after yet another Zusi cross. The USA’s place in the Last 16 of the tournament was put on hold in the final minutes of the encounter when Varela’s ball made contact with the net, keeping Portugal’s hopes alive in the tournament. The States will face the Germans on Thursday, while Paulo Bento’s men will battle the Ghanaians at the same time in the last encounter of Group G.