Great day for U.S. team, beating Portugal 3-2 in 2002

Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:16am EDT
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By David Ljunggren

MANAUS Brazil (Reuters) - The United States play Portugal in the World Cup on Sunday, hoping to channel the inspiration and drive which brought them a shock victory the last time the teams met in the tournament.

Few gave the Americans much chance when they ran out into the heat and humidity in Suwon, South Korea, for their first game of the 2002 World Cup finals on June 5.

The U.S. team had come last in 1998, losing all three games and scoring one goal. Portugal, who reached the semi-finals of the European Championship in 2000, boasted famous attacking talents such as Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Pauleta.

Few realized U.S. coach Bruce Arena had put together a deceptively good team, anchored by goalkeeper Brad Friedel and featuring intelligent speedy forwards Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley as well as the solid Brian McBride.

The surprises started early. With four minutes gone Portuguese goalkeeper Vitor Baia could only parry a McBride header from a corner and midfielder John O'Brien rifled home from close in.

The Americans, gaining in confidence, started to harry their older opponents and scored again in the 29th minute when Donovan took advantage of slack Portuguese play to win the ball on the right. He fired in a cross that hit defender Jorge Costa and looped into the net past a stranded Baia.

The best was yet to come: seven minutes later right back Anthony Sanneh bolted down the right wing and sent in a glorious cross that McBride headed into the net at full stretch as two defenders stood and watched.

Portugal pulled a goal back through Beto in the 39th minute and another in the 71st when U.S. center back Jeff Agoos inadvertently volleyed the ball past Friedel.   Continued...

John Brooks of the U.S. celebrates his goal against Ghana with teammate Fabian Johnson (L) during their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal June 16, 2014.   REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini