Insta-reaction to the United States' 1-0 loss to Germany ...
Cristiano Ronaldo taketh away, and Cristiano Ronaldo giveth back.
Portugal's star robbed the United States of a spot in the knockout round last weekend with his masterful cross on the game-tying, stoppage-time goal.
But on Thursday, CR7's essentially secured the USMNT's spot in the knockouts: His goal in the 80th minute against Ghana provided the crucial group point/tiebreaker advantage for the United States in the event of a loss to Germany.
*** It was clear from the start that Germany was playing to win. Even though the U.S. stood its ground for most of the first half, you never sensed Germany was on its heels.
When Miroslav Klose (15 career World Cup goals) entered the game for the second half, the ominous feeling jumped a few notches.
When Thomas Muller scored in the 55th minute to give Germany a 1-0 lead, the tension mounted. Could the USMNT stay close enough to ensure advancement?
When Ghana then scored to tie Portugal ... at that moment, one more Ghana goal would have put the U.S. in desperation mode ... the anxiety meter hit 10.
But the U.S. held Germany without a goal the rest of the way and Ronaldo ended Ghana's hopes of the victory it needed.
*** To the knockout round for the United States, with a likely date against Belgium on Tuesday (although Algeria is a possibility).
*** Couldn't help but notice ESPN botched Jurgen Klinsmann's first name immediately before the match, with an extra "e".
*** Also couldn't help but notice:
The United States switched its starting lineup and went with Brad Davis, a midfielder for the Houston Dynamo with a nondescript international career.
Germany switched its lineup and inserted Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has only made 400+ appearances for powerhouse Bayern Munich.
The USMNT against Neuer, Lahm, Ozil, Schweinsteiger, Podolski, Muller, Klose.
Hey, it could have been worse than 1-0.
It has been worse.
*** There was plenty stacked against the United States above and beyond Germany's three World Cup titles and four runner-up finishes.
The USMNT was facing a difficult logistical challenge, having one less day to prepare and coming off a game in the heat and humidity of the Amazon: The draw against Portugal in Manaus.
The four teams that previously played in Manaus were 0-4 in the next game, and outscored 10-3.
In that context, the United States played quite well, especially defensively.
Omar Gonzalez, starting his first game of the World Cup, had a few sketchy minutes early on but played well for the final 80.
Michael Bradley: More is needed.