Brazil, Mexico look to secure group lead at World Cup

 

June 17th, 2014 (VOA) Mexico and host Brazil face off Tuesday at the World Cup with each side looking to earn a win and a likely place in the knockout stage of the soccer tournament.

The two teams enter the match in the northeastern city of Fortaleza tied for the lead in Group A after Brazil beat Croatia and Mexico defeated Cameroon last week.

Group H begins play Tuesday with Belgium taking on Algeria and Russia playing South Korea.

Those matches follow a thrilling 2-1 win by the United States over Ghana on Monday night in Group G.

Forward Clint Dempsey gave the U.S. the lead only 34 seconds into the match with a hard shot off the right post, the sixth fastest goal in World Cup history and the fastest ever by an American.

The U.S. made that 1-0 lead stand up until the 82nd minute, when Andre Ayew got the equalizer for Ghana. While it appeared the match might be headed for a draw, the U.S. scored in the 86th minute for the victory.

The winning goal came thanks to two substitute players. Graham Zusi booted a corner kick into the box that was headed down into the goal by John Brooks. The 21-year-old Brooks was playing in only his fifth international match. It was the first goal in World Cup history scored by a U.S. substitute.

The victory avenged defeats at the hands of Ghana at the last two World Cups.

Earlier Monday, in the other Group G match played in Salvador, second ranked Germany trounced fourth ranked Portugal, 4-0.

Thomas Muller scored the first of his three goals for the hat trick on a penalty kick in the 12th minute. His other goals came just before halftime and in the 78th minute. Mats Hummels scored the other goal in the 32nd minute.

Portugal played a man down for the majority of the match after defender Pepe was given a red card in the 37th minute for headbutting Muller while he was on the ground. The action came after the two had collided in the air going for the ball.

The only other match Monday was a Group F contest in Curitiba, and it resulted in a scoreless tie between Iran and Nigeria.  It is the only goalless match and only draw of the 14 played thus far at the Brazil World Cup.

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