Recife: About 10 minutes before the end of the game, a large section of U.S. fans sitting behind the Germany goal abruptly broke into cheers. At the time, the ball was out of bounds for a throw-in, so the spontaneous eruption seemed strange. But the Americans had good reason to celebrate.
About 1,200 miles away from the Arena Pernambuco here, Portugal had scored to take a one-goal lead over Ghana, meaning the United States, which was on its way to losing to Germany, 1-0, would move on to the Round of 16 at the World Cup. It was not the most dramatic advancement - many of the U.S. fans here found out about its team's success via spotty cellphone service - but it did not matter. The United States, picked by many to falter in a group with Germany, Portugal and Ghana, finished with a win, a loss and a tie. (Also read: Portugal's win in vain)
The Americans, who finished second behind Germany, are expected to face Belgium in Salvador on Tuesday for a place in the quarterfinals.