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'Portugal will need to hope that Ronaldo discovers the form that made him king of European football' - CCFC World Cup Review

23 June 2014

We take a look at more World Cup action from Brazil as Portugal tried to keep their hopes alive against the USA

It was another evening of late drama in Manaus last night as Portugal looked to repair their opening damage with a clash against the USA. Head of Communications and matchday programme contributor Nick Connoll watched the game...

Portugal's heavy defeat in their opening fixture against Germany left them with a bit of a mountain to climb and the USA's gritty win over Ghana sent out all the signs that last night's clash in Manaus would give no quarter.

And so it proved. Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo came to Brazil with a nation's hopes on his shoulders and did not produce the goods when Portugal were comprehensively beaten by the Germans 4-0 in Salvador.

He showed flashes of a return to form last night though and produced a simply stunning cross that Silvestre Varela got on the end of to head home a last gasp equaliser against the United States that enabled Portugal to stave off elimination with a 2-2 draw.

The USA again showed a level of grit and determination that could well see them into the last 16 and continue the trend in this World Cup of nations from the Americas booking their place in the knockout stages at the expense of their European counterparts.

They twice went ahead against Ghana and came from behind against Portugal, two sides renowned for their attacking flair but two sides they have gotten the better of.

They will head into their last game against Germany confident they can get a result after Joachim Lowe's side nearly slipped up against the Black Stars.

Jermaine Jones highlighted the USA's threat from any distance with a superb long-range effort to make it 1-1 against Portugal after Nani's early opener.

Ever-dependable Clint Dempsey then popped up with his second in as many games with what looked likely to be the winner until Varela's late leveller.

Portugal, though, will need to hope that Ronaldo discovers the kind of form that made him the king of European football if his nation have any hope of extending their stay in Brazil because only a hatful of goals against Ghana in three days time will give them any hope of qualification.

The USA on the other hand have momentum on their side and qualification in their own hands, albeit with a last game against a German side that always seem to come up with the goods.

It is going to be a nervy afternoon on three seperate continents on the 26th but based on last night's clash, for Portugal it may too little too late.

Man of the Match: Jermaine Jones - not only did he provide a superb strike to put the USA back on level terms but he also provided another solid performance in midfield, breaking up the play which prevented Portugal from building up any kind of real rhythm.

Performance rating: USA 8 Portugal 7

Prospects: Although the USA have done enough to warrant a place in the last 16, the feeling is that Portugal may have to do them a favour against Ghana if Dempsey and co are to progress.
I think they will get that favour. Portugal have a point to prove and if they prove it against Ghana and the USA can be competitive against their boss Jurgen Klinsmann's home nation it should be enough to see them through.

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