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World Cup 2014: Germany's Müller scores, but US still advance to Round of 16

The United States needed some help to advance to the Round of 16, and the got it from Portugal beating Ghana 2-1. The match against Germany showed the US belong in the World Cup, and these players are worthy of our admiration.

Tim Howard had to be at the top of his game, and he nearly was perfect on the day.
Tim Howard had to be at the top of his game, and he nearly was perfect on the day.
Kevin C. Cox

The permutations had been calculated, dissected and analyzed. The United States needed things to fall their way, and they wanted to win against Germany. While they didn't quite pull off the upset, they showed a lot of poise and character. Even in defeat, the boys in the Bomb Pop Kits were worthy of our admiration and praise, and they proved they belong in the Round of 16.

One of the best moments was seeing Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo midfielder, take the pitch to start the match on the left side for the US Men's National Team. Unfortunately, he never had the chance to influence the match positively on set pieces before he was subbed off shortly into the second half.

The first half was a nerve-wracking affair with Germany holding majority of the possession. Most noticeable was the lack of Alejandro Bedoya along the left side. When Davis and Graham Zusi switch sides with Davis moving to the right, the US actually created a couple of decent chances and overall seemed to play markedly better.

Still, the US went into halftime level with Germany as neither team could find the net, though not for quality chances on both sides. The second half began similarly to the first, with Germany owning possession and pushing harder at a very worn out US side. Eventually, the US defense cracked off a set piece as a ball served in was sent away by Tim Howard only to land in front of Thomas Müller who rocketed it past a diving Howard into the top corner of the net.

The United States seemed to shell up a bit, and mentally seemed to show some fragility, but as the second half wore on with Germany pressing extremely hard the US found some space on the counter even though they rarely made it far enough to challenge Germany Goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer. It was a nail biting final few minutes as US kept pressing and nearly landed the equalizer on some nifty play from DeAndre Yedlin, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones, but the header sailed just wide.

The question of whether they would advance even with the loss came slamming shut as Portugal went up 2-1 on Ghana, and Cristiano Ronaldo went from being hated by US fans to being moderately appreciated. With the final score or Ghana v Portugal at 2-1 with Portugal winning, the United States even in losing 1-0 to Germany had secured their spot in the Round of 16.

Who was your man of the match? I have to give mine to Tim Howard, who showed why he is one of the top keepers in the world right now.