For the first time ever the United States has advanced to the knockout stage in back-to-back years just no exactly the way you would have hoped for. The US advanced despite losing to Germany 1-0 on Thursday on goal differential against Portugal mainly because Germany put them to the sword in the opener 4-0. Thomas Muller’s goal in the 55th minute was the difference in a wet game at Arena Pernambuco in Recife. Germany finishes the group stage in first with 7 points, the US advances from the group of death as runners-up with 4 points. “This is a huge huge step and now we can’t wait until round of 16,” U.S. 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.” With the goal Muller moves into a tie with Messi and Neymar for most goals in this World Cup (4). The goal came after US keeper Tim Howard made a incredible save off a header from Per Mertesacker but his deflection went straight to Thomas Muller who netted it for the deciding goal.”I’m proud of the group and we still got a lot left in us,” said Howard, who had five saves. “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 US played well in the group stage but will need to do better if they expect to beat Belgium. “Well, we got through the group,” Klinsmann said. “But we have to do better in the round of 16, and we will do better.” With the US, Mexico, and Costa Rica through it is the first time CONCACAF has three teams in the knockout stage.