The United States loves to break records and make history, but not like this. Portugal scored the latest goal ever recorded in a a 90-minute World Cup match.
In the 5th and final minute of the stoppage time, that injured-but-talented Cristiano Ronaldo shot a phenomenal pass to Silvestre Varela who scored on a header into the net just past Tim Howard, who had been great all match. Up until minute 94.5, USA Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s plan to shut down Ronaldo appeared to be working. But all the player folks love to hate needed was one pass. “He’s a player that needs to be looked after,” Howard told reporters. “Coach Klinsmann and his staff had an exquisite gameplan. I thought we executed it brilliantly. … Portugal didn’t hurt us, really. We had the better passage of play. You look at two goals that, realistically, can be prevented. It’s not as if they opened us up and sliced us open.”
It was so different for fans just minutes before.
Bars, living rooms and parks had broken out in simultaneous shouts of joy when Jermaine Jones tied it 1-1 in the 64th minute right after a corner kick. It was spectacular. Then 15 minutes later, in the 81st minute when Clint Dempsey used those rock hard abs to put the U.S. up 2-1 over Portugal, U.S. fans almost exhaled. (Who thought that broken nose would stop him?) Simply being in position to take the win was a thrill after having let Nani, the Cape Verdean midfielder, score for Portugal 5 minutes into the 1st half. It was unbelievable. Nothing but a heartache.
Now the U.S. is prepping for Thursday’s match against Germany. To get into the round of 16, the knockout round, here are the scenarios:
- The U.S. beats Germany outright and moves on.
- The U.S. ties with Germany, the team moves on.
- The U.S. loses, it’s rooting for Portugal to beat Ghana or tie because it has the edge.
To see the full FIFA scenario, check out this interactive, easy-to-follow chart by the NY Times: The Upshot
Soccer is not the national pastime of the USA, but you certainly couldn’t tell that by the Facebook and Twitter posts or the loud living room screams. The faces of the fans in the stands were tough to watch, looking hot and devastated. There’s history between Klinsmann and Germany, which is bound to be discussed all week with so much on the line. U.S. fans, however, still believe.
What is Stoppage Time?
You may be wondering why the U.S. had to play five extra minutes. Remember all those stops and starts during the match for hurt hamstrings and the like? Unlike basketball or U.S. football, the clock keeps running. The stoppage minutes accounts for the missed time. Here’s a full explanation from the the Chicago Tribune:
“According to Law 7 of soccer’s rules, known as the “Laws of the Games,” an ‘allowance is made in either period for all time lost through: substitutions; assessment of injury to players; removal of injured players from the field of play for treatment; wasting time; any other cause.’
And now the kicker: “The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee.’ “World Cup, the mystery of ‘stoppage time’, Philip Hersh, Globetrotting