Germanys Thomas Mueller challenges goalkeeper Tim Howard of the U.S. (REUTERS/Ruben Sprich)

Germanys Thomas Mueller challenges goalkeeper Tim Howard of the U.S. (REUTERS/Ruben Sprich)

They called Group G the “Group of Death”, mostly because it contained Germany, Portugal and Ghana, along with the United States.  Logic can be deceiving, as Portugal and Ghana are going home and the USA joins Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup’s knockout round of 16.

The U.S., which traveled over 9,000 miles for three group games, completed group play with a narrow 1-0 loss to Germany, but finished second in the group after Portugal edged Ghana 2-1 in a battle of the previously winless.  The Americans advance with four points, after beating Ghana and drawing with Portugal.  The U.S. advanced over Portugal on a better goal differential.

The U.S. was 30 seconds away from advancing with a win in its second game against Portugal, when a goal in the fifth minute of extra time snatched victory away when the U.S. was poised to celebrate a victory.

As It turns out the two best teams in the group are going on.  For the U.S. it marks the first time the USA has advanced to the second round in two consecutive World Cups.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann made two lineup changes against Germany.  Brad Davis got his first start at left midfield, while Omar Gonzalez replaced Geoff Cameron at center back.  Gonzalez went the distance and played well, while Davis was not much of a factor and was replaced in the second half by Alejandro Bedoya, who had started the first two games at midfield.

Thomas Mueller blasted a rebound from the edge of the box for the only goal of the game.  It came in the 55th minute after U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard made a spectacular diving save that fell to Mueller’s foot for a first-time shot.

While Germany had much of the possession in the game, and far more shots, the U.S. has its chances.  A wicked shot by Graham Zusi just went over the crossbar early in the second half, and the Americans had two good chances in the closing minutes of extra time to tie the score.  Clint Dempsey headed one of those just over the goal on a ball that had bounced inside the six-yard box.

After the World Cup draw last December, many gave the U.S. little chance of advancing out of the group.  Germany, ranked #2, and Portugal ranked #4, are among the five top teams in the world rankings.  Ghana (#37) is the team that has eliminated the U.S. in the last two World Cups.

The U.S. will likely meet Belgium, favored to finish second in Group H, in the next round.  Germany would play Algeria if Belgium wins the group. The next U.S. game will be Tuesday, July 1.

Milestone Watch:

  • It is the first time in the history of the U.S. Men’s National Team that the team has advanced out of the group phase in consecutive FIFA World Cup tournaments.
  • Clint Dempsey’s was held scoreless, but his next World Cup tally would be the fifth of his career and match the record set by Landon Donovan
  • DaMarcus Beasley played in his 10th FIFA World Cup game, tying him for fourth all-time with Brian McBride and Claudio Reyna. Beasley is now one cap behind second-place Cobi Jones and Earnie Stewart (11 caps each in the FIFA World Cup).
  • Tim Howard made the seventh start and appearance of his World Cup career, which ties the U.S. MNT record among goalkeepers with Tony Meola.
  • Howard earned the 103rd appearance of his international career, breaking the goalkeeping record of 102 held by Kasey Keller. Howard ranks 11th on the all-time U.S. MNT appearances list.

Additional Notes:

  • The USA is now 8-18-6 all-time in the FIFA World Cup while Germany moves to 62-20-20 all-time.
  • The USA is 3-7-0 all-time against Germany.
  • The 13th-ranked USA faced a top-10 FIFA-ranked opponent for the 59th time in its history. The USA is now 16-34-9 all-time against top-10 teams in FIFA’s ranking system and 9-23-3 against top-5 teams.
  • The U.S. MNT moves to 5-2-2 in 2014.
  • The USA is now 2-5-1 all-time in games played in Brazil.
  • U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s starting lineup featured Tim Howard in goal and one change to the back line from the Ghana match as Omar Gonzalez got his first start of the World Cup, lining up at center back next to Matt Besler along with left back DaMarcus Beasley and right back Fabian Johnson
  • The USA’s 4-5-1 formation included holding midfielders Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman, along with Graham Zusi on the left, Brad Davis (who made his first start and saw his first minutes of the World Cup) on the right and Michael Bradley in the center.
  • As he did against Portugal, Clint Dempsey played up front, and of course wore the captain’s armband.
  • The USA is 9-4-3 in games with Dempsey as the team captain.
  • The USA is now 32-12-9 all-time under Klinsmann.
  • Thursday’s game against No. 2 Germany marked the sixth occasion in which the U.S. MNT played top-5 FIFA-ranked teams in back-to-back games.
  • U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann made two subs in the match, sending on Alejandro Bedoya for Brad Davis in the 59thminute and DeAndre Yedlin for Graham Zusi in the 84th minute. It was the second game in a row in which Yedlin has come on as a sub.
  • The USA played without forward Jozy Altidore (hamstring).

USA Disciplinary Notes:

  • All U.S. players are eligible for the Round of 16 match.
  • Jermaine Jones (caution on June 22), Omar Gonzalez and Kyle Beckerman (who both picked up cautions against Germany) carry yellow cards into the next match. Another caution during any game through the quarterfinals for the trio would result in one-game suspension.
  • Yellow cards clear heading into the semifinals.

– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Germany
Date: June 26, 2014
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup – Group G
Venue: Arena Pernambuco; Recife, Brazil
Kickoff: 12 p.m. ET
Attendance: 41,876
Weather: 73 degrees, rainy

Scoring Summary:       1 2 F 
USA                             0 0 0
GER                             0 1 1

GER – Thomas Muller                         55th minute

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 23-Fabian Johnson, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 15-Kyle Beckerman, 13-Jermaine Jones; 14-Brad Davis (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 59), 4- Michael Bradley, 19- Graham Zusi (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 84) 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.)
Subs Not Used: 6-John Brooks, 10-Mix Diskerud, 12-Brad Guzan, 16-Julian Green, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 20-Geoff Cameron, 21-Timmy Chandler, 22-Nick Rimando, 23-Aron Johannsson 
Not Available: 17-Jozy Altidore 
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

GER : 1-Manuel Neuer; 4-Benedikt Howedes, 5-Mats Hummels, 17-Per Mertesacker, 20-Jerome Boateng; 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger (19-Mario Gotze,76), 16-Phillip Lahm, 18-Toni Kroos; 8-Mesut Ozil (9-Andre Schurrle, 89), 10-Lukas Podolski (11-Miroslav Klose, 46), 13-Thomas Muller
Subs not used: 2-Kevin Grosskreutz, 3-Matthias Ginter, 6-Sami Khedira, 12-Ron-Robert Zieler, 14-Julian Draxler, 15-Erik Durm, 21-Shkodran Mustafi, 22-Roman Weidenfeller, 23-Christoph Kramer 
Head coach: Joachim Low

Stats Summary: USA / GER 
Shots: 4 / 13
Shots on Goal: 1 / 6
Saves: 5 / 0
Corner Kicks: 2 / 3
Fouls: 15 / 9
Offside: 2 / 7

Misconduct Summary: 
GER – Benedikt Howedes (caution)    11th minute
USA – Omar Gonzalez (caution)         37
USA – Kyle Beckerman (caution)        62

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