Pride and joy: US will advance if it beats Portugal

AP Sports WriterJune 21, 2014 

  • US-Portugal match could generate big TV rating

    With interest up in the World Cup, the United States match against Portugal on Sunday is poised to take a run at viewership records for soccer in the United States.

    The U.S. team is going for its second straight win and the early evening starting time on the weekend should make it convenient for many to watch.

    The 19.7 million people who saw the U.S. team get knocked out by Ghana four years ago is the biggest audience for a game involving the U.S. team. The best for any game was the 2010 championship between Spain and the Netherlands, seen by 24.7 million.

    ESPN executive Scott Guglielmino said that “Sunday has a chance to be a very, very special day for us.”

    Associated Press

— With a win over the Portuguese tonight and reigning world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, the U.S. would accomplish a pair of American firsts: reaching the knockout stage of consecutive World Cups and advancing with a game to spare.

“This is now the moment where you can prove yourself. This is the moment where you can step up and play those guys and put them in place,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “So we want to put Cristiano and his team in his place.”

A victory over the fourth-ranked Portuguese would mean the U.S. could then win the group with a tie against Germany next week. Klinsmann, a former star striker and coach for Germany, was so excited to watch the end of Saturday’s game that he ran out of his own news conference after about five minutes, took in the final moments, then returned to answer more questions.

“It just confirms what we all knew from the beginning on, that it’s a very, very difficult group,” he said. “It’s a huge opportunity tomorrow here in Manaus, and we will definitely go for it.”

The Americans needed a shot in the arm for this match – up to five inoculations per player, to be precise, for protection against typhoid, yellow fever, tetanus, hepatitis A and influenza after they started training last month in California. Players also were offered medication to prevent malaria, the mosquito-borne infectious disease, but all 23 declined.

“It’s a World Cup,” Chris Wondolowski said. “It doesn’t matter what’s going into your body or how hot it will be.”

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