2014 FIFA World Cup: USA vs. Portugal Preview

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Win and we're in. It's as simple as that.

The group of death was supposed to be harder than this, wasn't it? Beating Ghana was always the biggest hurdle for the US, but there was never supposed to be a chance of clinching a spot in the round of 16 on the second match-day for the team. Yet, here we are, with a 'win and you're in' scenario going into the match against Portugal.

This is a game that the US have no business losing, if we're being honest. Injuries have ravaged their way through the Portugal squad, and Pepe got himself sent off against Germany. That means there is very little room for error with the depth of the Portuguese squad, one that already looked very vulnerable defensively even with a full strength line-up. Against speed (which the US have) and decent runners (which the US also have) they have issues.

Advantage: USA. Jozy Altidore will miss the match, but even if Chris Wondolowski is wasting space on the field, there should still be goals in this one for the US. Both Matt Besler and Clint Dempsey, after getting injured against Ghana, will play the match against Portgual, so it's about as close to a full-strength line-up as we're going to see. With the heat of the Amazon playing a part as well, any edge might prove to be the winning one.

Three points automatically mean that the US are through to the group stage. Anything less means that they'll still be in a decent position... but against this weak Portugal defense, excuses should not be allowed. Go, Go, USA.

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