It's been a roller-coaster ride for the US Men's National Team in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Coming off a dramatic 2-1 win over arch-nemesis Ghana in their group stage opener, the Americans needed a win against Portugal to secure qualification into the last 16 before playing the vaunted German side in the 3rd and final game. The US held a 2-1 lead in the dying seconds before a Cristiano Ronaldo cross met Varela's head to keep Portugal in the tournament and deny the USA both 1st place in their group and a 2nd round berth.
Despite that gut-wrenching result, it was still a favorable position for the US, who could still go through to the knockout stages even with a loss to Germany in a rain-soaked stadium in Recife. The only way for the USA to be eliminated was with a loss coupled with a win from Portugal or Ghana, who needed either superior goal difference or goals scored to win one of the top 2 tiebreakers. To best explain the scenarios, I recommend giving this a read.
While the US were bombarded in the 1st half by the German's lethal attack, the defense stood firm for a 0-0 halftime scoreline. An own goal by Ghana gave Portugal a 1-0 lead at halftime in their game, but as it stood, the USA would've advanced via draw, and even if they had fallen behind, Portugal's inferior goal difference gave the Americans a safe enough cushion.
Germany broke through in the 55th minute through Thomas Muller's 4th goal of the tournament, and moments later Ghana had equalized. A 2-1 win for Ghana and a 1-0 USA loss would've meant elimination for the US via goals scored, which is ahead of head-to-head in the tiebreaker pecking order.
Ultimately, the USA would lose 1-0, but nerves were calmed as Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo gave his side a late winner to give them a 2-1 win over Ghana. Alas, Portugal's goal difference was -3 (severely affected by their 4-0 waxing at the hands of the Germans), while the USA's was at 0, and that means the Americans are indeed in the 2nd round of this World Cup.
This is a running timeline of MMA fighters and media panelists tweeting their reactions throughout this game, as they made history by making it to the knockout stages in consecutive World Cups for the first time ever:
Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunsonMMA) June 26, 2014
Lets goo !!— Sean Soriano (@ssorianoMMA) June 26, 2014
its good to see captain america at the america vs germany game supporting the players. what a guy— Andy Ogle (@thelittleaxe) June 26, 2014
Forrest Griffin (@ForrestGriffin) June 26, 2014
Here we go!! #USA— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) June 26, 2014
Let's go USA SOCCER! !!!!!— Melvin Guillard (@Young__Assassin) June 26, 2014
The ref needs to give himself a yellow card #USAvsGER— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) June 26, 2014
Catching the USA Futbol game and breakfast at the best restaurant in San Jose Del Cabo. French Rivera http://t.co/vFS1wJGEpO— TJ Dillashaw (@TJDillashaw) June 26, 2014
Josh Barnett (@JoshLBarnett) June 26, 2014
Ghana and Germany just scored... not Good #USAvsGERMANY— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunsonMMA) June 26, 2014
Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) June 26, 2014
Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) June 26, 2014
We're still alive— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) June 26, 2014
Not the best of a game but happy for USA looks like the yanks are true— Neil 2 Tap Seery (@NeilSeeryMMA) June 26, 2014
These refs though....— Stipe Miocic (@smiocic) June 26, 2014
Pascal Krauss (@pascalkrauss) June 26, 2014
Congrats #usmnt !!!!— Stipe Miocic (@smiocic) June 26, 2014
We will take it…..proud of our team #WorldCup2014— Brian Stann (@BrianStann) June 26, 2014
Coming out of the group of death !!! Lets go ! Congrats to the US players— Sean Soriano (@ssorianoMMA) June 26, 2014
The United States play either Belgium or Algeria in Salvador, Brazil on Tuesday. As it stands, it'll be Belgium next up, and if you're really ambitious, the path to the semifinals for the Americans could involve a quarterfinal meeting with Argentina, who are led by global sensation and arguably the world's best player Lionel Messi. Congratulations to the US for advancing out of their difficult group, and we'll see how far they can go in what has been a wild tournament.