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Ronaldo's last minute assist saves Portugal, for now

English.news.cn   2014-06-23 08:44:01

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo controls the ball during a Group G match between U.S. and Portugal of 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Arena Amazonia Stadium in Manaus, Brazil, June 22, 2014.(Xinhua/Liu Dawei)

MANAUS, Brazil, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Cristiano Ronaldo's last minute assist found a charging Silvestre Varela and the latter stormed home a thundering header to secure Portugal a 2-2 draw with the United States in a World Cup Group G match on Sunday.

In the last seconds of the stoppage time, Ronaldo proved himself the savior of his team as he sent a long range cross into the area and found second half substitute Varela. Varela's powerful header left a desperate American goalkeeper Tim Howard helpless.

The draw gave Portugal the first point from two games, levelling with Ghana but three points behind Germany and the United States, both with four points.

"We would have been very happy with four points from the opening two games," United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "But conceding a late goal was a bummer that we have to swallow. We felt very confident after we turned it around."

Despite needing only a draw against Germany to make it to the knockout round for the fourth time in the last seven tournaments, Klinsmann said the team would aim for a victory.

"The United States are known to give everything in every single game," Klinsmann said. "We have that fighting spirit and determination to try to win every game and therefore we will go for a win against Germany."

He said he did not expect a call from his friend and Germany manager Joachim Loew, who was assistant coach when Klinsmann led his country to third place as hosts at the 2006 World Cup.

"There will be no such call. We are good friends but we are both here to do our jobs. There is no time right now to have friendship calls."

The Portuguese team still has the chance of qualifying for the knockout stage. Their last game will be against Ghana while Germany and the United States will clash for the top place of the group.

If Germany and the United States play to a draw then both Portugal and Ghana will be eliminated from the World Cup finals.

"Now whether we can enter the knock-out stage depending on other match's result, but this is our only hope. We have to fight until the last minute," said Portugal coach Paulo Bento.

It was a tightly fought game with both teams having plenty of scoring chances. The Portuguese team enjoyed a good start as Nani opened the scoring only 5 minutes into the play. The winger capitalised on a defensive error by Geoff Cameron and fired it past American goalkeeper Howard in the box.

The Americans fought back hard and created several scoring chances but failed to convert any of them in the first half.

After the restart, the American kept on attacking, trying to get an equalizer. In the 64th minute, Jermaine Jones stormed a long range shot just out of the area to beat the defence line and goalkeeper of the Portuguese team to level the score at 1-1.

The Americans were apparently not satisfied with a draw. They pushed forward and threatened the Portuguese goal time and again. At the 81st minute, Dempsey put the Americans 2-1 ahead as he chested the ball into an empty Portuguese goal.

It seemed the Portuguese would follow the steps of Spain and England to bow out of the World Cup before came the prefect cross from Ronaldo, in the 95th minute, the last one of the five added minutes.

The last round of Group G match will be played on June 26.  


Editor: Luan
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