Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

World Cup: Late goal gives Portugal 2-2 draw with United States

By Steve Almasy, CNN
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. was seconds from winning before Portugal's Silvestre Varela scored off Ronaldo cross
  • U.S. led 2-1 on Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey goals
  • Portugal scored an early goal to take a 1-0 lead
  • Cristiano Ronaldo plays despite a knee injury, doesn't score

(CNN) -- This time it was the United States that gave up the dramatic goal.

Portugal's Silvestre Varela scored on a strong headed goal deep, deep in stoppage time to give Portugal a desperate 2-2 draw with the United States in a key Group G World Cup match at Manaus, Brazil.

The goal, in the 95th minute, came off a cross from Cristiano Ronaldo, who showed no signs of a knee injury that was the subject of much media attention in the buildup to the contest.

Second-half strikes by U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones and striker Clint Dempsey had given the United States a 2-1 lead until Portugal rescued its World Cup chances.

Talk about down to the wire. Silvestre Varela of Portugal scores his team's second goal past United States goalkeeper Tim Howard during a World Cup game at Arena Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, on Sunday, June 22. The goal, scored with less than one minute left to play, led to a 2-2 draw. Talk about down to the wire. Silvestre Varela of Portugal scores his team's second goal past United States goalkeeper Tim Howard during a World Cup game at Arena Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, on Sunday, June 22. The goal, scored with less than one minute left to play, led to a 2-2 draw.
World Cup: The best photos from June 22
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
World Cup: The best photos from June 22 World Cup: The best photos from June 22
What is stoppage time in soccer?
U.S. and Portugal draw 2-2

"You're disappointed not to get three points, but at the same time you have to take the positives from the game," Dempsey said. "We're happy with four points, and there's everything to play for in the last game."

The United States plays co-group leader Germany on Thursday while Ghana and Portugal square off.

The Americans will win the group with a victory, but could also advance to the Round of 16 with a draw and a tie in the other match, which will be played at the same time.

But if Ghana or Portugal wins and the other match also has a winner, tiebreakers -- the first being goal differential -- will determine the second-place team in the group.

"We gave our maximum," Ronaldo said, according to a CNN translation. "We're obviously frustrated and sad with what happened."

The Portugal star wasn't counting on getting the arduous results his team needs Thursday to advance.

"There aren't miracles in football. We knew it was a difficult group. Either we could qualify or we'd get knocked out," he said. "Honestly, I never thought we were going to be the world champion. Anything can happen, now we have to be humble."

Time to rally

The American goals made up for an early U.S. miscue that allowed Portugal to take a 1-0 lead when Nani scored after a U.S clearance attempt went awry.

U.S. defender Geoff Cameron tried to knock away a cross, but the ball went to a wide-open Nani, who waited for U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard to go down, then slammed home a shot from 6 yards in the fifth minute.

"You never want to get scored on, but it was good for us," said U.S. midfielder Kyle Beckerman, who thought the Americans picked up their play immediately after the goal.

Jones scored a sweet goal after Portugal cleared a U.S. corner. The German-born player took a couple of touches that unleashed a wicked bending shot that left Portugal goalkeeper Beto standing helplessly still in the 64th minute.

Dempsey scored in the 81st minute when midfielder Graham Zusi sent a ball toward goal that the U.S. star redirected into the net.

Portugal, the fourth-ranked team in the world and one of the pre-tournament favorites in Group G, outshot the Americans 20 to 15.

But Howard had four saves, including one that kept the U.S. from going down two goals. After a Nani shot ricocheted off the post, Howard swept away a rebound from Eder while reaching over his left shoulder.

"I don't think Portugal broke us down. I think we in a way let ourselves down," said Howard, who was named man of the match. "So that's kind of a good sign because had we gotten torn apart, it would have been a lot tougher."

Lineup changes

The Portuguese team was missing defender Pepe through a red card suspension and striker Hugo Almeida and defender Fabio Coentrao, who were injured.

Dempsey was playing with a broken nose that he said made it hard to breathe in the Americans' 2-1 dramatic win over Ghana on a late goal by substitute John Brooks. After the match, he said he made it through Sunday's contest without problems.

The United States was missing striker Jozy Altidore, who has a strained left hamstring. Dempsey, normally a midfielder, moved to the top of the U.S. formation in Altidore's place while Zusi slid into the starting lineup.

The game was played in the heat and humidity of the Amazon rainforest. The heat index was 93 degrees at kickoff, and the weather seemed to have an effect on the pace of the game as the match moved into the second 45 minutes. The referee even allowed a short water break in the first half, a first in a World Cup match.

The second half was played at a much more measured pace until after the U.S. goals, when Portugal attacked with more intensity, searching for the score that would keep it from being eliminated from the tournament.

The Americans, 13th in the FIFA rankings, were cheered on by about 20,000 red, white and blue fans at Arena Amazonia.

The United States and Portugal are the final two of the 32 teams to play their second match. Monday features four matches, two in Group A and two in Group B, as several teams battle for spots and seedings in the next round while others that have been eliminated let some reserves get in a World Cup match.

CNN's Shasta Darlington and Miguel Castro contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Keep track of the social buzz at Brazil 2014 with CNN's Facebook Pulse -- find out who the world is talking about.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
It needed 120 minutes to separate the best two teams on the planet, but Mario Gotze's sublime strike gives Germany a fourth World Cup title.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)
After 64 games, some huge shocks and 171 goals scored, now it's time to play fantasy football -- who would you pick in a World Cup dream team?
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 1055 GMT (1855 HKT)
Germany won the World Cup, but these stats suggest that the host nation came top of the table at Brazil 2014 -- despite a crushing semifinal defeat.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 1214 GMT (2014 HKT)
Bare bellies, an on-pitch streaker, world leaders and superstar selfies -- the World Cup final had it all.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
Having crushed home hopes of success, Germany prevents Brazil's worst nightmare by beating the World Cup host's South American rival in final.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
One of the joys of watching the World Cup is seeing relative unknowns come to the fore. Here are 11 players to watch at Russia 2018.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 0937 GMT (1737 HKT)
Stay informed with results of the latest World Cup matches and the full schedule for the month-long tournament in Brazil.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
In the sight of Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer, the man who would be king awaits his destiny.
July 12, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Germany's semifinal demolition of World Cup host Brazil in Belo Horizonte is the game that seemingly everyone can't stop talking about.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
One of the joys of the World Cup is seeing relative unknowns come to the fore. Here are 11 players who have made their mark at Brazil 2014:
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
You thought Brazil's home humiliation was bad? Check out the greatest shocks in World Cup history...
ADVERTISEMENT