Portugal have exited the World Cup at the group stage despite a Cristiano Ronaldo goal securing a 2-1 win over Ghana.
Paulo Bento's team paid the price for their disastrous 4-0 defeat to Germany in their opening game as they were beaten to second place in Group G on goal difference by the USA.
The odds were stacked against Portugal as they needed to beat Ghana and hope the USA were beaten by Germany with a five-goal swing between the two games.
Just 30 minutes in things looked to be going to plan for Ronaldo and co when Ghana defender John Boye sliced a cross past his own keeper, and things got even better when Germany went ahead through Thomas Muller just after half time.
However, their hopes were dashed minutes later when Asamoah Gyan equalised for the Black Stars.
The goal was Gyan's sixth at World Cup finals, making him the leading African scorer in the history of the tournament, and made him the first African to score in three different World Cups having previously netted in 2006 and 2010.
As the two games continued Ronaldo seemed to take matters into his own hand, continuously firing efforts at the Ghana goal.
For once his shooting was wayward and it took until the 80th minute for him to get his first goal of the tournament, sweeping home from close range after a poor clearance to clinch a 2-1 win.
Ultimately it wasn't enough for the team ranked fourth in the world, and with the Germany game finishing 1-0, Portugal joined Spain and England in exiting the tournament at the first hurdle.
Speaking after the game Ronaldo said: "We created many opportunities but we could not finish them all. We knew we had to score three goals and we were depending on the result of the Germany game.
"We knew it was complicated but what's left at the end shows that it was possible considering the number of opportunities we created during the game."
Portugal's chances of qualifying had taken a turn for the worse as early as the first half of their opening fixture when Pepe was sent off with his side trailing Germany 2-0.
The 4-0 drubbing in that fixture essentially cost them, but manager Bento refused to blame his experienced defender.
Bento said: "It's not fair to blame individuals. We made mistakes as a team in thethree matches - and I will never hold any individual responsible. We win and lose as a team.
"It's a tough time for us and we feel down as we all wanted to qualify for the Round of 16. We must now grow and advance so that we don't feel the same in 2016."
Despite a tough group, Portugal were expected to make it the Round of 16 and much will be made of Ronaldo's fitness struggles prior to the tournament.
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