The U.S. lost 1-0 to Germany on the final day of Group G play, but both will go through thanks to Portugal's 2-1 win over Ghana. Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't do enough to help his own team advance, but his 80th-minute goal was enough to ensure the U.S. would finish second in the group. The fact that he is named after former U.S. president Ronald Reagan has never been more fitting.
Germany — Two wins and a draw for Germany was enough to finish top of the group, as expected, but there are doubts. Germany's backline looks suspect, but managed to keep a cleansheet against a tired U.S. team. Thomas Muller keeps scoring goals to hide any shortcomings, though. He now has four of the team's seven at this tournament. Germany will now face the runners-up of Group H, likely Algeria or Russia.
The United States — Few people, if any, gave them a chance to make it out of what looked like a group of death back in December when it was first drawn. And despite manager Jurgen Klinsmann making headlines and taking criticism for saying the U.S. couldn't win the 2014 World Cup, they've now reached the knockout stage in consecutive World Cups for the first time ever. The U.S. will face the winners of Group H, likely Belgium — a very talented, but very inexperienced team. But after losing just 1-0 to Germany on short rest, after a taxing 2-2 draw against Portugal in sweltering conditions, the U.S. will probably like their chances to go even further under more favorable conditions.
Man of the Group: Thomas Muller, Germany. He now has nine goals in as many World Cup matches in his career and he's only 24 years old. He needed stitches above his eye because of a collision at the end of Germany's match against Ghana, but it didn't stop him from scoring against the U.S. The man finds goals like most people find coins in their pockets.
Best goal: JERMAINE JONES YOU'RE AN AMERICAN HERO LOOK AT THAT STRIKE I NEED A COFFEE
Best Match: United States 2 - Portugal 2. Let's be honest. It's days later, and we're still recovering from Portugal's late comback against the United States thanks to a Varela goal in the 95th minute. A tense match from the start, both teams played well, with the U.S. exhibiting one of their best performances in years, and Cristiano Ronaldo exemplifying why he's considered one of the most respected players in the world.
Deserved Better: The aforementioned Cristiano Ronaldo. Sure, the Portuguese star was hampered by injuries for much of the tournament, but for all of his struggles, he still showed up when he was needed. Ronaldo provided the cross to Varela that earned Portugal a cross against the U.S., and was the only offensive outlet Portugal had against Ghana. He's the reigning Balon d'Or winner; it's a surprise to see him exit the tournament so early.
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