2014 Brazil World Cup: Portugal vs. USA

Clint Dempsey of the United States celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Ghana and the United States at Estadio das Dunas on June 16, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. (credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)
  • COACHING
    Jurgen Klinsman, who won the opener with the US, is a World Cup Champion and 2-time European Champion as a player with Germany. As a coach, he lead Germany to a 3rd place finish in 2010. Team USA brought him in for his experience and his high IQ of the game. US has never had a coach with so many credentials.
    Paulo Bento, who took over the head coaching job in 2010, is entering his first World Cup with Portugal with 21 wins. As a player, Bento played in 31 games with Portugal as a central defender. In 2012, he lead Portugal to the semifinals in the European Championships where they lost to eventual champs Spain. He lost his opener, 4-0, to Germany in the 2014 World Cup.
  • INJURIES
    Team USA will be playing without their striker Jozy Altidore after injuring his hamstring against Ghana in the opener. No one on the team could replace his size or strength. Big blow for USA. Clint Dempsey, with broken nose, will play with or without a mask.
    One of the biggest news of the World Cup is how healthy is Cristiano Ronaldo's knee? According to some reports, the team Dr told him if he plays, he is in danger of ending his career. However, Ronaldo says he will play no matter what. No one on the planet could replace Ronaldo. His skill on the field is unbelievable, especially 1 on 1.
  • X-Factor
    Michael Bradley was no where to be seen in the first match of the tournament. He is capable of creating opportunities for himself and others. Klinsman must involve him more for the US to be successful.
    Nani has experience like no other player in the US. The Manchester United winger, who plays on the opposite side of Ronaldo, could have more opportunities as the US will be favoring the side of Ronaldo.
  • EXPERIENCE
    US has a hand-full of players who play in Europe, but most of them still play for MLS, which doesn't compare to European leagues. US failed to reach the the knock-out stages in 2006, but in 2010 they reached past the group stages, where they were knocked out by Ghana in extra time.
    Most of the Portuguese players plays in Europe, so they know how to play on the big stage. In 2006, they reached the semifinals, where they lost to France 1-0 and in 2010 they lost to the World Cup Champions Spain 1-0 in the round of 16.
  • Star Power
    Clint Dempsey, who played for Fulham from 2007-2012, is the all-time leading goal scorer with 50 for the EPL club based out of London and has 106 appearances with 38 goals with the Yanks.
    Widely regarded as one of the best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo has played for Real Madrid for the last 7 years, scoring more goals(177) than appearances(165). Before Madrid, he played for Manchester United from 2003-2009, scoring 84 goals. In 2013, he was awarded as FIFA's Ballon d'Or Gala(FIFA's MVP).
RESULTS
Cristiano Ronaldo is too athletic and too fast for USA to handle. Having Ronaldo play on one leg is still better than any other player on his team with two. Knowing the Portuguese are in desperation mode, unlike the US, they will attack, attack and attack. After the game against Ghana, the US team looked gassed and out of shape. Portugal noticed their fatigue and will play for possession and use the counter attack with Ronaldo. It is expected to rain Sunday with humidity at a nasty 85%. Historically, the US does not play well in high heat. Portugal should win 2-1 or 3-1.

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