SPORT

USA 2-2 Portugal: Silvestre Varela Hits 95th Minute Equaliser

23/06/2014 01:02 BST | Updated 23/06/2014 11:59 BST

Silvestre Varela spared Portugal a humiliating World Cup exit with one of the final touches of the game to clinch a 2-2 draw against the United States in Manaus.

Clint Dempsey's 81st minute goal appeared to have secured the US' passage through to the last 16 and repeat their 2002 heroics, when their famous 3-2 defeat of Portugal helped consign the 1966 World Cup semi-finalists to a group stage exit.

However Cristiano Ronaldo provided a pinpoint cross for substitute Varela to rescue a point in the 95th minute and plunge the US' hopes of progression in doubt.

The US trailed to Nani's early strike and the Manchester United winger later hit the post in an assured first 45 minutes from the Portuguese, however Jermaine Jones struck a superb equaliser and Dempsey made it two in two games from close range nine minutes from time before Varela intervened.

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Clint Dempsey looked to have made it two wins out of two for the US

Coached by former Germany manager Jürgen Klinsmann, the Americans are now second in Group G on four points, the same amount as Germany, ahead of their meeting with the three-times winners on Thursday.

A draw in that game will guarantee both nations' progress irrespective of Portugal's result against Ghana, with both nations on one point.

Klinsmann coached then-hosts Germany to third place at the 2006 World Cup before protégé and assistant Joachim Löw replaced him as head coach.

Löw has presided over two European Championships and one World Cup campaign with Die Mannschaft, reaching the semi-finals, at least, on each occasion.

The prospect of a convenient draw between Germany and the US will offer a fascinating and alternative angle in the build-up, rather than merely focusing on Klinsmann reuniting with his former players and Löw.

At the 1982 World Cup, West Germany infamously defeated Austria 1-0, a result which sent both nations through to the second group phase ahead of Algeria.

Horst Hrubesch's goal in the 10th minute preceded a mundane, diplomatic affair which compelled German ARD commentator Eberhard Stanjek to refuse to comment on the game at one point, Algerian fans to wave money at the players and a German fan to burn the national flag.