In a move that nobody saw coming, The Group of Death could well be tamed within the first two rounds of the group stage of the World Cup. And whilst the USA have a tough task against Portugal on the cards, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is confident in his sides ability to take three points from their European opposition and guarantee passage to the knockout stages.
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.
Klinsmann knows it will be hard against the Iberians but that the game is what World Cup is made of. “We believe we can go to Manaus and beat [Portugal],” the ever optimistic Klinsmann said.
“It’s a difficult situation for them now after that 4-0 defeat. They are now with their backs against the wall,” Klinsmann told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “It makes it even more difficult to get a result, but that’s what you want. That’s what a World Cup is about. We also have the chance with a win to hopefully qualify already. It can’t get any better.”
The Stars and Stripes had their backs to the wall for much of the Ghana game after Clint Dempsey's strike after 30 seconds. Playing the same way against Portugal would be disastrous, no other side in this tournament will be as wasteful as The Black Stars were. But things look on the up for the US and hopefully they can continue riding the crest John Brooks created in Fortaleza.