Never underestimate just how much things can change in one day. Before Monday it looked like the United States had absolutely no chance of getting out of the group stage and it would be Portugal that were dead certs to take the second spot in Group G behind the powerhouse nation of Germany.
Now things have been completely turned on their heads following the first round of games. The Stars and Stripes, however laborious, picked up a crucial three points against Ghana in Natal thanks to Clint Dempsey’s early strike and John Anthony Brooks’ towering header. Portugal on the other hand imploded in their loss to Germany and look like a team completely lacking cohesion.
Naive and Amateurish
And now Landon Donovan has come out and attacked the Portuguese, slamming them as “naive and amateurish” in an interview earlier today.
"After seeing [Portugal] self-destruct, not just soccer-wise against Germany, but how they self-destructed mentally and how naïve and amateurish they were and the way they played, I think they're not looking forward to Sunday's game,” Donovan said on the Dan Patrick Show.
“Nobody likes playing the US because of what you saw [vs. Ghana]. We get punched in the mouth in the 82nd minute, and the guys respond and score a goal three minutes later against all the odds."
The Portuguese side looked like they were doing there best to get on the quickest flight out of Brazil in their game against the Germans. Pepe got himself red carded for a ridiculous headbutt that somehow we have come to expect from the mentally unhinged Real Madrid defender.
And the woes do not end there. Left back Fabio Coentrao has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a nasty looking thigh problem that saw him subbed off against Germany. Striker Hugo Almeida and goalkeeper Rui Patricio are both suffering from muscle problems as well and whilst not being ruled out like Coentrao, are major doubts for the USA.
And then there is the curious case of Cristiano Ronaldo. According to reports that emerged earlier today, Ronaldo may well be out of the World Cup due to the patellar tendinitis that was plaguing him before the tournament began. The star man had to leave training early for the second time in a week with a giant bag of ice on his knee and rumoured quotes from the team doctor say the Real Madrid man needs to miss games to rest it and avoid more permanent damage.
Donovan at home
The United States all time leading scorer is working as an analyst for ESPN based in Los Angeles after being left out of Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23 man squad. The LA Galaxy star will only be covering the USA’s games and it looks like he is taking the dropping with good grace. He has come out with multiple viral videos making fun of him being at home, including this one with EA Sports...