Apparently, FIFA felt that four minutes of stoppage time wasn't enough time for poor ol' Cristiano and Portugal to get back into the game, and of course, it was with seconds left in the game that Ronaldo found Varela after Michael Bradley inexplicably gave the ball away instead of killing the clock. Within seconds of advancing out of the Group of Death with a game to go, the Americans instead left the Amazon with the same feeling you get after you've been kicked square in the nuts.
Simply put: that f**king sucked.
But the Americans still have a huge chance to advance, needing to simply tie the Germans in a game where both squads would be happy to advance with a tie, while both Portugal and Ghana will go into their final game needing a win and help from the Germans to have a chance, so at the end of the day:
We'll have to wait a long four days for the Americans to return against the Germans, and for today, we have some exciting final group stage action for both Group A and Group B. You'll notice that from this point forward, the final group stage games for each group will be played simultaneously, to prevent situations where teams could collude to ensure both make it through to the knock-out stage (although the United States and Germany could still do just that by playing out a tie on Thursday). So, beginning in the morning at 9 a.m. PST, we'll have our final games of Group B, with the Netherlands (6 points) taking on Chile (6 points) on ESPN for top-spot in the group (and the corresponding supposed "easier" opponent out of Group A), while Spain (0 points) and Australia (0 points) will play at the same time on ESPN2, with both already-eliminated teams playing for nothing but pride. A tie for the Dutch will give them the top spot on goal advantage, so you have to like the Netherlands' chances to finish on top of Group B (although that may not actually be a blessing depending on the outcome of the afternoon games). Plus, if you're looking for a team to root for today, pull for the UCLA-equivalent: the Oranje of the Netherlands.
While Group B features one games that have zero impact on which teams advance to the knock-out stage, the afternoon games in Group A will have major implications on who advances. Beginning at 1 p.m. PST, Croatia (3 points) will take on Mexico (4 points) on ESPN - a win for either team clinches them a spot in the knock-out stage, while Mexico only need to tie to advance. At the same time, Brazil (4 points) will take on Cameroon (0 points), needing just a tie to advance. However, if the Brazilians only come up with a tie, if there's a winner in the Croatia-Mexico game, Brazil will fall to the second spot and have to face Group B's top team. If the Mexicans can grind out a tie, Brazil will take top spot on goal difference, so we are far from set in determining which teams from Group A will match up with their Group B counterparts in the first knock-out game.
Four games on tap and for three big name teams, there's still everything to play for. This is your World Cup open thread for the day twelve of the World Cup. Fire away with your thoughts, analysis, and opinions as you tune in and we eagerly count down to the Yanks date with the Germans on Thursday.