Portugal beats Ghana 2-1; neither team through to knockout round
FIFA World Cup 2014: Ghana vs. Portugal preview, live commentary and recap.
Both Ghana and Portugal needed a win and a lot of help to move through to the Round of 16. Portugal got the win, but not the help.
An early own goal put Portugal ahead, and Cristiano Ronaldo finished the job, effectively locking up a spot in the knockout round for the Americans.
Germany won Group G after beating the United States, 1-0.
It was a tall order for both sides, and Ghana had the best chance of moving through before the game. They had a solid attack throughout but couldn't convert.
The scoring started when a clumsy clearance from John Boye ended up in Ghana's net. Neither team was able to scratch across another goal until the second half when Asamoah Gyan headed in a wonderful cross to pull Ghana even. But Ronaldo's late goal was the difference.
A disappointing finish for both sides, to be sure, but it was no easy task getting clear of this group.
The Americans will play next Tuesday against the Group H winner, which will likely be Belgium.
FINAL: Ghana 1 (Gyan 57') - Portugal 2 (Boye (OG) 31', Ronaldo 80')
90'+ -- Free kick for Ghana sails high, and that will do it. The US is through.
90'+ -- Time running out, and, oh man, Ronaldo almost volleys home a masterful goal.
88' -- Ghana gets a chance, but it's no good. The time is nigh.
83' -- Ronaldo almost scores another but he's denied. Let's, uh, slow down Portugal. We Americans don't need you running away with this.
80' -- And Cristiano Ronaldo bails the American's out. Ghana makes a mess of a cross and leave it to arguably the best player in the world in front of the net. He buries it.
76' --Couple more looks for Ghana, nothing doing.
73' -- Portugal a chance in the box, Ronaldo goes down in the box but no call. Ronaldo was down for a moment, but he's okay.
68' -- Another chance for Ghana. It goes wide. REALLY looks like they will score again.
66' -- Few more chances for Ghana, but the shot sails a bit high.
64' -- Ghana has really been on the attack throughout the second half.
61' -- Um. Okay. Majeed Waris nearly heads in the go ahead goal for Ghana.
57' -- UH-OH. Nearly simultaneously, Ghana and Germany score. Gyan knocks in a header off a beatiful cross. Things are now, as they say, real.
53' -- Cheeky backheel sets up Ronaldo, but he's unable to generate a shot. Good chance there for Portugal.
51' -- Gyan delivers a wonderful shot in from the top of the box, but it curves just wide of the target. Ghana needs two to have a chance.
48' -- Early try for Portugal blocked out for a corner.
46' -- And we're back at it here. Ghana plays it out for a goal kick to start.
Halftime: Good result thus far for the US, but this game is wide open and it really seems that there will be goals to come.
45'+ -- Oh dear. Boye very nearly drops in a second own goal. Sails just high as he clears a cross weakly.
44' -- Couple clumsy attacks both ways. Portugal still looking stout on the attack.
40' -- Atsu has a go, but it sails wide for Ghana.
34' -- Another chance for Portugal skitters just wide. This one is surprisingly one-sided.
33' -- Ronaldo with a go. Portugal dominating play at this point.
31' -- Oh no. You don't want to see it happen like that, but Portugal jumps ahead after an own goal on Boye's bad clearance on a cross.
28' -- Ronaldo starts a break, but the cross back to him is cleared.
25' -- Lots of action here, still no goals. Miraculously.
19' -- HEAVENS. Ronaldo has a header on the doorstep somehow, somehow denied. Unreal stop by Dauda.
14' -- Chance for Ghana wasted on a bad cross, and Portugal right back down. As expected, lots of action.
12' -- Ronaldo gives it a go, but it's blocked out for a corner by Dauda.
10' -- Pretty good opportunity for Ghana but Portugal cleans it up in the box. Ghana then concedes a Portugal free kick just outside the box.
6' -- WHOA. Cristiano Ronaldo has a go from an impossible angle (maybe a cross?) and rings the crossbar. Certainly wouldn't hurt the US to see Portugal jump ahead here.
(Okay, definitely a cross.)
4' -- Good work early from both sides but no chances yet.
1' -- And here we go.
11:55 a.m. ET: Remember, one of these sides must win in order to go through. Portugal a rather sizeable one to make up its goal differential discrepancy. Ghana just needs, say, a 2-0 win and US loss. White knuckle time, commence!
11:45 a.m. ET: It hasn't been a great start to the day for Ghana, who announced that two of its players have been suspended indefinitely. Both Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari have been disciplined, but only Boateng was available Thursday. Muntari was already suspended for the match after gathering too many yellow cards.
Here are the lineups for both sides.
Portugal: Beto; Miguel Veloso, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Joao Pereira; Ruben Amorim, William Carvalho, Joao Moutinho; Cristiano Ronaldo, Eder, Nani.
Ghana: Fatau Dauda; Kwadwo Asamoah, John Boye, Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful; Emmanuel Badu, Mohammed Rabiu; André Ayew, Abdul Majeed Waris, Christian Atsu; Asamoah Gyan.
Ghana vs. Portugal (Group G) | Kickoff: 6/26, 12 p.m. ET | Stadium: Mane Garrincha
Match Preview: As important as the United States' game with Germany is Thursday, this one is just as meaningful.
Ghana and Portugal are both battling to catch the US and Germany, each of whom are sitting a four points. Therefore, a draw does nothing for either side. There must be a result.
And for Portugal, it must be definitive, as they trail the US by five in goal differential, while Ghana is just down two.
So, in short, this should be a wide open game between two sides loaded with talent. Of course Cristiano Ronaldo's health is still something of a question mark, but he was plenty effective against the US on Sunday, sending in a perfect cross during extra time that set up the game-tying score.
Ghana experienced some success against Germany after their opening loss to the US, and they're in the best position to move through. Of course they'll need some help from Germany and some luck, as the US locks up the second spot with a win or draw.
If you're a fan of the US side, this one should make you nervous. Portugal has shown they can fall apart, as they did against Germany, and Ghana has an attack capable of pouring in goals. The best you can hope for is the US takes care of its own business, thus rendering this game meaningless.
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