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US loses, but advances in World Cup

Posted Thursday, June 26th 2014 @ 2pm

RECIFE, Brazil -- Thomas Muller scored his fourth goal of the World Cup on Friday as Germany defeated the United States 1-0 to win Group G ahead of the Americans, who also advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup despite losing.

With two wins and a draw, Germany topped the group with seven points, while the U.S. progressed with four. Portugal beat Ghana 2-1 but both were eliminated.

"This is a huge huge step and now we can't wait until round of 16," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said after the match. "Everyone said we had no chance, we took the chance and move on. And now we really want to prove a point."

Muller scored in the 55th minute with a side-footed shot from the edge of the area as tropical downpours drenched the Arena Pernambuco.

Both teams knew before kickoff that a draw would see them through, but neither held back. The game pitted Germany coach Joachim Low against his good friend and predecessor, Klinsmann.

"Well, we got through the group," Klinsmann said. "But we have to do better in the round of 16,  and we will do better."

Germany  enjoyed the better of the chances during the early exchanges of the game, with Lukas Podolski going close in the second minute, but the U.S. were threatening on the counter, as Graham Zusi curled a shot just off target on 22 minutes.

The United States fell behind on 55 minutes when goalkeeper Tim Howard palmed away Per Mertesacker's header only for Muller to arrow in a shot from just outside of the area into the corner.

The U.S. will next play Belgium unless they lose to South Korea (4 p.m. ET, ESPN) and Algeria beats Russia (4 p.m. ET, ESPN2), in which case the Americans will face Algeria. The U.S. is advancing to consecutive knockout rounds for the 1st time in the team's history.

CONCACAF has three teams in the World Cup knockout round for the first time.

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