Know Your Enemy: Ghana falls; Germany, Portugal win; Ronaldo sets national goal record

Wednesday March 5th, 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his first goal Wednesday, which set Portugal's all-time scoring record. (Armando Franca/AP)

While the U.S. men's national team suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Ukraine, its World Cup group opponents were also in action.

Ghana also fell, with a mostly second-choice side succumbing 1-0 to Montenegro after a 1st-minute penalty. Germany and Portugal, however, were more fortunate.

Germany was less-than-impressive but still managed to defeat fellow World Cup participant Chile 1-0 behind an early goal from Mario Gotze. Of the three U.S. opponents, Portugal won most convincingly, taking down World Cup-bound Cameroon 5-1 behind two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, and tallies from Raul Meireles, Fabio Coentrao and Edinho.

More on all three games below:


Ghana began the match with the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Andre Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah, Sulley Muntari and Samuel Inkoom on the bench, and it took all of one minute for the decisive goal to be scored by the hosts. Defender David Addy committed a foul in the opening moments, allowing Dejan Damjanovic to step to the penalty spot and fire home the only tally.

Video of the penalty:


The Germans did not overpower Chile, which featured stars Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal, by any stretch, but they walked away with the victory after Gotze's 16th-minute strike off a feed from Mesut Ozil. According to the Associated Press' game report, manager Joachim Low was visibly upset, and the home fans in Stuttgart even jeered and whistled at the side, which is favored to win the Group of Death.

Video of Gotze's goal:


Cameroon's Vincent Aboubakar had canceled out Ronaldo's goal just before halftime, but goals in consecutive minutes from Meireles and Coentrao put Portugal firmly in command before Edinho scored in the 76th minute and Ronaldo added a second soon after. For Ronaldo, the first goal was his 48th in a Portugal shirt, and he broke a tie with former star Pauleta for the nation's all-time record, which now stands at 49.

Video of Ronaldo's Portugal record-breaking goal:

The U.S. opens the World Cup on June 16 against Ghana in Natal, Brazil, before facing Portugal on June 22 in the Amazon city of Manaus. The Americans close group play against Jurgen Klinsmann's native Germany on June 26 in Recife.

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