• USA 0-1 Germany, World Cup Group G

Mueller goal wins it but USA make history

ESPN staff
June 26, 2014
The American defenders could do nothing as Thomas Mueller rifled home from the edge of the area © Getty Images

Thomas Mueller's stunning second-half strike was enough for Germany to see off the US in the final game in the World Cup's Group G, but both teams still advanced.

It means that not only is it the first time the USA have qualified from the group stage of consecutive World Cups, but also the first time ever that there have been three CONCACAF teams the knockout rounds - with Costa Rica and Mexico also through.

The Germans, three-time World Cup champions, finished with seven points, while the US had four after allowing a 95th-minute goal against Portugal on Sunday in a 2-2 draw. Portugal also had four, but the Americans advanced from the so-called Group of Death because their goal difference was even and the Portuguese were at minus three.

Portugal sent packing despite win

Cristiano Ronaldo struggled to hide his emotions at full time © Getty Images
  • A 2-1 victory over Ghana was not enough to save Portugal's World Cup campaign as their target of a top-two finish in Group G and a place in the knockout stages fell short.
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"This is a huge huge step and now we can't wait until round of 16," US coach Jurgen Klinsmann said after the match. "Everyone said we had no chance, we took the chance and move on. And now we really want to prove a point."

He added: "Well, we got through the group, but we have to do better in the round of 16, and we will do better."

Just reaching Arena Pernambuco was an accomplishment.

A tropical downpour flooded roads in a beach city known as the Brazilian Venice, and the US bus had to make its way through ankle-high water that slowed traffic and left some cars stalled.

Rain fell throughout much of the game and there were scattered empty red seats.

"I'm proud of the group and we still got a lot left in us," said US goalkeeper Tim Howard. "Today was a tough game, tough conditions. Hats off to Germany. I think they have a chance to win the World Cup that's how good they are. We had a chance there at the end. We get to the round of 16 it shows how far we've come, that we're not happy just getting there, that we want to progress and we still got a little bit left in us."

The game marked meetings of several former international team-mates facing each other, an unusual occurrence. American right back Fabian Johnson started for Germany in the 2009 European Under-21 Championship alongside three of Germany's starters - Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Klinsmann starred for West Germany when they won the 1990 World Cup and coached his homeland to the 2006 World Cup semi-finals. His top assistant that year was Joachim Loew, who succeeded him as Germany's coach after the tournament. The two exchange a hug after the final whistle.

There had been fears before the match that the US and Germany would not attack each other too much and be satisfied with a draw, which would advance both nations. The Americans never came close to scoring until second-half injury time.

The script was similar to 2002, when the US opened with a 3-2 win over Portugal, then tied South Korea 1-1 and lost to Poland 3-0. The Americans advanced 12 years ago because South Korea defeated the Portuguese on an 80th minute goal.

Germany will face Algeria in the next round, while the US take on Belgium.

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