By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The USA have qualified for the last sixteen of the 2014 FIFA World Cup despite losing 1-0 to Germany this afternoon (June 26th) at the Arena Pernambuco. A second half goal from Thomas Muller, his fourth in the tournament, was enough to settle the contest but still saw both countries through.
With incessant rain drenching the turf the game had little in the way of technical quality. The Americans battled hard and gave Germany a run for their money; their spirited performances throughout the group stages surely merits their place in the knock-out phase.
For Thomas Muller’s part, the German midfielder now leads the World Cup scoring charts alongside Neymar and Lionel Messi. The three are shaping up to do battle over the next two weeks for the overall prize of Golden Boot.
Having finished as runner-up in Group G, the USA will face the winner of Group G in the second round, on Tuesday, July 1st, at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. At the time of writing Belgium occupy top spot in Group G but play later this afternoon, against South Korea at the Arena Corinthians in São Paulo.
Germany started the game the stronger side, dominating ball possession as the USA chased shadows, but despite winning the midfield battle the Germans rarely tested Tim Howard in the American goal. As the rain continued to pour down playing conditions became increasingly challenging.
Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones had near accidents on the pitch as the surface became slippy with water settling on top of the playing field. The only goal was scored on 55 minutes. Howard saved Per Merteacker’s header, but Muller curled in a delightful effort from the edge of the penalty area.
Chants of “USA!” rang around the terraces in the final minutes. Having amassed four points from their previous two games, the USA had confirmed their passage into the final sixteen.
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