SAO PAULO — Instead of taking a breather, the U.S. created a World Cup math puzzle for its fans back in America.
Just 30 seconds from clinching advancement with a game to spare, the U.S. conceded a stoppage-time goal that left it with a 2-2 draw against Portugal on Sunday. With four points, the Americans may need at least a tie from their Group G finale against three-time champion Germany to advance to the knockout stage.
"Now we have no choice but to regroup, get ourselves ready for another big game on Thursday," midfielder Michael Bradley said.
Germany leads the group with four points after routing Portugal 4-0 and tying Ghana 2-2. The U.S., which opened with a 2-1 victory over Ghana, also has four points and trails on goal difference. Ghana and Portugal have one point each.
The U.S. would advance to the knockout stage of consecutive World Cups for the first time with a win or a tie against the Germans, or a draw between Ghana and Portugal in a match played simultaneously. If there's a winner in the other game, the Americans also could advance with four points on a tiebreaker: goal difference, followed by total goals, head-to-head points, head-to-head goal difference and head-to-head goals. If a tie still isn't resolved, there would be a drawing of lots.
"Had we been down 2-1 and we came back, we'd be flying high right now," goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "It's the Group of Death. Most people counted us out. So, it's no problem. We're going to the last game with a chance."
The U.S. arrived back at its base hotel in Sao Paulo at about 5 a.m. on Monday after a four-hour flight from the match in the steamy Amazon rainforest capital of Manaus. The starters were given the day off, and the reserves trained in the late afternoon at Sao Paulo Futebol Clube.