Even though they lost, the United States still won the day.
The U.S. didn’t get the victory, but they booked passage to the last 16 with a 1-0 defeat to Germany in Recife. With the loss, the Americans qualified for the knockout stage for the second straight tournament, the first time that they have reached consecutive knockout rounds in U.S. Soccer history.
A second half goal by Thomas Mueller put Germany through to the Knockout Round as winners of Group G while the United States finished as runners-up after Portugal defeated Ghana 2-1 on a goal by Cristiano Ronaldo to finish third . Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez earned the start in the Americans' defeat and went a full 90 minutes, picking up a yellow card.
Getting the start for incumbent Geoff Cameron after his disappointing performance against Portugal, Gonzalez rewarded head coach Jurgen Klinsmann by impressing from the outset. In the early stages of the match, Gonzalez snuffed out several Germany attempts as the Americans were able to maintain a scoreless draw at the end of the first half.
In the 55th minute, the Germans finally broke through and got the goal that they needed to cement their place atop Group G.
Tim Howard made a clutch stop on a close range chance by the Germans, but on the ensuing rebound, Muller fired a blast that sailed through both American center backs and into the far corner past Howard. As the second half continued, the Americans failed to generate chances as the Germans controlled possession. However, despite controlling the run of play, the Americans compact and organized defense proved too much for the Germans to penetrate.
After more than 90 minutes of inability to get forward, the Americans had several opportunities to pull level in stoppage time. First, it was Alejandro Bedoya who had his chance from inside the penalty area denied by a late German block and then moments later, Clint Dempsey’s header sailed over the bar to seal three points for Germany.
The United States will now play on July 1 at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador against the Group H winners – likely European power Belgium – while group winners Germany will take on the runners-up which may be either Algeria, Russia or Korea Republic, a day earlier.