Updated 11:01 PM EST, Mon, Jan 25, 2021

FIFA World Cup 2014: United States and Portugal Play to Draw on Last-Second Equalizer

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The look of relief on Clint Dempsey's face said it all. His goal, scored in minute 81 of the U.S. vs. Portugal game during the Group A matchup in Brazil put the United States mere moments from a monumental upset over Portugal.

Unfortunately, that look of elation didn't last.

In an upsetting move for the Americans, Portuguese winger Silvestre Varela denied that win in dramatic fashion during the matchup on Sunday night, heading Cristiano Ronaldo's lob past Tim Howard with seconds left in stoppage time.

Varela's equalizer ended the contest in a 2-2 draw and kept injury-plagued Portugal's World Cup hopes alive.

Early missed cues placed the U.S. in a 1-0 hole only five minutes in. U.S. defender Geoff Cameron tried knocking a cross away, and inadvertently swung it to an open Nani.

The midfielder waited for Howard to hit the ground before driving home a liner from six yards away.

Nani nearly connected again just before halftime. His ball shot past a diving Howard, off the right post, and to an open Eder, whose rocket Howard narrowly deflected.

The U.S. had 9 shots to Portugal's 8 at the half, but Beto staved off repeated attempts from Dempsey and Michael Bradley.

Jermaine Jones's first USMNT goal in almost two years shifted momentum in the 64th minute. Graham Zusi's cross made its way through the Portugal defense, giving Jones space for a curling equalizer.

Moments later, Dempsey put the U.S. ahead when Zusi's cross deflected off his stomach and past the Portuguese goalkeeper. Dempsey's fourth career World Cup goal was also his second in this year's tournament.

Despite playing through knee tendinitis issues that caused concerns over his career, Ronaldo proved why many consider him the best player in the world. He missed wide on multiple shots and staggered on occasion, but found Varela when it counted most during the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Portugal walked away with a tie without the help of injured starters Hugo Almeida, Fabio Coentrao and Pepe, who was serving a red card suspension.

"Obviously we're disappointed, but at the end of the day you've got to look at the positives," Dempsey said in an ESPN post game interview. "We get a point. It's going down to the last game and hopefully we get the job done."

Humidity in Arena Amazonia caused immediate fatigue on both sides. FIFA listed the game time temperature at 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

Officials called a cooling break in the 39th minute as part of the "Wet Bulb Globe Temperature," which determines when and at what temperatures breaks should be considered.

The Americans tied Germany on top of Group G rankings ahead of their meeting Thursday. Both clubs have earned four points and advance with a win or tie. 

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