U.S. wary of Portugal backlash and 'angry' Ronaldo

Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:58pm EDT
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By Michael Kahn

(Reuters) - The United States are full of confidence after a dramatic win over Ghana but coach Juergen Klinsmann remains wary of a Portuguese backlash after the Cristiano Ronaldo-led side were mauled in their World Cup opener by Germany.

A last-gasp 2-1 victory over Ghana showed the United States could keep cool in a big match and they will need to do so again when they take on world player of the year Ronaldo on Sunday.

A win over Portugal in the Group G contest in the jungle city of Manaus should put the Americans through to the last 16 for the fourth time in the last seven tournaments.

However, Klinsmann warned that Portugal's 4-0 thrashing by Germany could jolt them into action and the Americans will have to cope without burly striker Jozy Altidore, who suffered a hamstring injury against Ghana.

There was better news on the fitness of Matt Besler and Clint Dempsey, who Klinsmann said would both be fit for the Portugal game.

"With all the respect we have for the Portuguese team, it’s a very difficult situation for them after their defeat, they are with their backs against the wall," Klinsmann said after a training session in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

"It makes it even more difficult to get a result, but that’s what a World Cup is all about."


U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann (L) celebrates their win against Ghana after their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder