I truly don’t see how the USA is going to be able to hold off Germany. It would have been better if Germany had not tied Ghana, because there would have been less incentive for Germany to win the game outright. We should know very early on if Germany decides to bring the noise or not; if Germany is sitting back and playing the possession game then the USA might have a shot at a draw with some judicious counterattacking.
The France v Ecuador game demonstrated how a team that doesn’t need to win often doesn’t concern itself with doing so. If the Germans decide to push forward, and I suspect they will, I just don’t think the US defense, which has been shaky at times, is going to be capable of withstanding the pressure. The USA has already acquitted itself very well, and with four points, has done better than expected. I thought three points was reasonable, although there were many who expected only one point from a draw with Ghana.
And even with a loss, a draw between Ghana and Portugal is far from impossible. Regardless, I hope Klinsman elects to come out with guns blazing, as clearly sitting back and defending is not a style with which the US team is comfortable.
FIRST HALF: Good start by the USA. Jones is being a bit of a drama queen and Bradley is still losing the ball more than he should, but the Germans have pressed several times and the defense has been up to the task. Only one particularly dangerous chance, and Howard stopped Otzil’s shot. Jones barely missed a beautiful shot from outside the box; other than that the USA doesn’t look like scoring but they don’t look particularly vulnerable either. And with Portugal up 1-0, this would be exactly the result they’re looking for.
FINAL: 1-0 Germany. A great result for the USA. One seldom sees a losing coach look happier than Jurgen Klinsman. No one expected the USA to make it to the Knockout Stage, but now they’re in, and against one of the weaker group winners too.