It looked as if the the U.S. had this match in its pocket, but Cristiano Ronaldo had other ideas. Portugal's captain stunned the Americans, scoring the equalizer as time was about to expire and crushed Jurgen Klinsmann's men's dreams of qualifying for the next round right then and there.
The match was hard fought by both sides. The U.S. put up the fight of its life, showing how far it has come in this game they call soccer. Portugal, on the other hand was, at times, unorganized, with Ronaldo obviously holding back to avoid the worsening of his knee injury.
Prior to the game, there were reports that Cristiano's physicians had strongly suggested to the superstar sit out the rest of the World Cup or risk a possible career-ending injury. Word also suggested that Ronaldo told them to back off and that it was up to him to play or not.
And so, on Sunday, in the smoldering heat at the Arena Amazônia in Manaus, Ronaldo took the field as captain of Portugal. As the teams walked onto the field and following the emotional national anthems, the 29-year-old was seen smiling and relaxed, sporting a new, fancy hairdo. However, he had a bandage around his left knee.
If you observed Cristiano Ronaldo's movements closely, you may have noticed that he wasn't moving all that much or going to assist his teammates on defense. It's only conjecture, but he could have been under orders not to strain that knee further.
The 2014 World Cup is only 10 days old, but there are some clear winners and losers. After the victory against the U.S., Cristiano Ronaldo could become one of the big winners and, in the process, help his country advance to the round of 16. Portugal is still alive, if barely.
Ronaldo is not one to shy away from telling it like it is when it comes to his career accomplishments and talent. In a recent press conference he said:
"I don't think I have to show anyone anything. Look at my statistics and my CV—I have nothing to prove. My career has been great so far, and I just want that to continue."
During the match against the U.S., Cristiano Ronaldo proved that, even if he is not in the best shape of his life, he can still be a decisive player for Portugal, who is very lucky to have him. CR7 also proved that even when he doesn't score, he is pretty lethal. Just ask all the disappointed Americans.
[Images via Twitter]