Portugal strikes late to tie USA
The Associated Press
MANAUS, Brazil -- With Cristiano Ronaldo on the field, a one-goal lead is never safe.
The world player of the year rarely sparkled on a hot and humid night in the jungle, but his inch-perfect stoppage-time cross set up Varela for the equalizing goal Sunday in Portugal’s 2-2 draw against the United States at the World Cup.
The Real Madrid winger, who has been playing despite a left knee injury, showed flashes of his best, but his impact was minimal until the final seconds of the match. He curled the ball in to a diving Varela, who headed past Tim Howard to give the Portuguese team a slim hope of advancing to the second round and deny the Americans instant advancement.
"He made a great cross," said Howard, Ronaldo’s former teammate from their days at Manchester United. "Football’s cruel sometimes."
The United States now has four points in Group G, the same as Germany. Both Portugal and Ghana have one point. The Americans will face Germany on Thursday in Recife, while Portugal takes on Ghana at the same time in Brasilia.
"Obviously we’re disappointed, but at the end of the day you’ve got to look at the positives, we got a point," said United States captain Clint Dempsey, who scored to give the Americans a 2-1 lead in the 81st. "It’s going down to the last game and hopefully we get the job done."
Nani scored first for Portugal, shooting past a sprawling Howard in the fifth minute. But the Americans responded in the second half as Portugal seemed to wilt in the stifling heat.
Jermaine Jones made it 1-1 with a curling shot in the 64th after a cross from Graham Zusi made its way through the Portugal defense. And Dempsey, playing with a broken nose, then put the Americans ahead, using his stomach to direct the ball into the net from a cross by Zusi.
"Now we have to go out and beat Germany, that’s what we have to do," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "We have to play Germany, we have one less day to recover, we played in the Amazon, they played on a place with less travel. We have to do it the tough way."
Dempsey’s goal was his fourth at a World Cup and second at this year’s tournament. Jones scored his third goal for the United States national team and first in almost two years.
It was all Portugal for much of the first half, with Ronaldo in the starting lineup but getting less involved as the match progressed. The Americans, however, started to get more and more chances and even had a shot from Michael Bradley cleared off the line by Ricardo Costa in the 55th.
"There didn’t seem to be any problem with Cristiano Ronaldo," Portugal coach Paulo Bento said. "What happened during the game has something to do with our other players."
The heat in the Amazon rainforest, however, seemed to slow the Portuguese as the match wore on.
In the 39th minute, referee Nestor Pitana of Argentina called for a cooling break, the first such decision to be taken at this World Cup.
At the start of the match, FIFA listed the temperature at 30 degrees C (86 degrees F) with 66 percent humidity. FIFA uses the "Wet Bulb Globe Temperature" to determine when official cooling breaks should be added, and says the WGBT must be above 32 degrees C (90 degrees F) for them to be considered.
The breaks are supposed to occur in the 30th and 75th minutes. There was no break in the second half, but that didn’t stop Ronaldo from creating the final goal.
"It was a thriller," Klinsmann said. "Everybody who had a chance to be today in Manaus will talk about this game for a long time."
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Mexico 3, Croatia 1
RECIFE, Brazil -- Mexico surged into the World Cup’s knockout stage for a sixth-straight time Monday with a 3-1 win over Croatia.
Rafael Marquez, Andres Guardado and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez scored in a 10-minute span in the second half, dooming a talented Croatia side to elimination from the group stage.
The Croats had to win to advance and held the bulk of possession, but had trouble seriously threatening goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who kept out all efforts until an 87th-minute consolation goal from Ivan Perisic.
Mexico entered the game needing only a draw, and looked dangerous in attack, but was kept out until the three-goal burst.
Brazil 4, Cameroon 1
BRASILIA, Brazil -- Neymar scored twice in the first half to lead Brazil to a 4-1 win over Cameroon on Monday, helping the hosts secure a spot in the second round of the World Cup.
Fred and Fernandinho added second-half goals for Brazil, which advanced from Group A.
Neymar opened the scoring off a low cross by midfielder Luiz Gustavo in the 17th minute, deftly side-footing the ball home from close range, then restored the lead with a low right-foot strike from the top of the penalty area in the 35th after a pass by left back Marcelo.
Midfielder Joel Matip had equalized for already eliminated Cameroon with a tap-in from inside the area in the 26th.
Fred found the net in the 49th and the substitute Fernandinho struck in the 84th.
Netherlands 2, Chile 0
SAO PAULO -- Leroy Fer scored a minute after coming on as a substitute to help give the Netherlands a 2-0 victory over Chile on Monday and top Group B at the World Cup with three consecutive wins.
Fer had only just replaced Wesley Sneijder when he rose almost unmarked in the Chile penalty area to put the Dutch ahead with a powerful 77th-minute header. Another substitute, Memphis Depay, then finished off a counterattack in injury time to double the lead.
Both teams had already advanced to the second round, but Chile’s first loss of the tournament consigned it to second place in Group B.
The Dutch now travel to Fortaleza to play the Group A runner-up in the round of 16. Chile faces the Group A winner.
Spain 3, Australia 0
CURITIBA, Brazil -- Defending champion Spain salvaged some World Cup pride on Monday with a convincing 3-0 victory over Australia in its last match at the tournament.
After losing their previous matches in Group B to the Netherlands and Chile, both teams took to Arena da Baixada knowing they could not advance to the second round.
David Villa, on his 97th and final appearance put Spain ahead in the 36th minute with his record 59th goal, guiding Juanfran Torres’ pass into the net with the inside of his right foot.
Fernando Torres doubled the lead in the 69th as he steered the ball home following an incisive pass from Andres Iniesta.
Juan Mata added the third from close range in the 82nd after a pass from Cesc Fabregas.
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