2014 World Cup: Cristiano Ronaldo Injury Would Be Detrimetal to USMNT Chances Against Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo World Cup

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With unconfirmed rumors of current holder of the Ballon d’Or – the award for the best soccer player in the world for those of you just catching World Cup fever – Cristiano Ronaldo injury coulad cause him to miss out on the rest of the 2014 World Cup, U.S. Men’s National Team fans are rejoicing. Group G, once thought to be the Group of Death, has become a very winnable scenario for the USA after the team secured a 2 – 1 victory over Ghana thanks to John Brooks and will face a Pepe and, potentially, Ronaldo-less Portuguese side that was destroyed by Germany 4 – 0.

However, as crazy as it sounds, Ronaldo’s injury would actually decrease the USMNT’s chances of winning their second game in the 2014 World Cup against Portugal. I know, it sounds absolutely insane that the Americans wouldn’t benefit from their opponents losing arguably the best player in the world, but, if you take a look at the Germany game, that is exactly what would happen.

Ronaldo is always a threat. He has the ability to take the team on his back and rampage through opposing defenses as if they weren’t even there. However, if an opponent disrupts the play of the rest of the midfield, Ronaldo ends up being no more important to the team than a dangerous counter attacking-wing player. Four or five of Germany’s best chances in the game were due to Ronaldo walking back, frustrated, after a blown shot opportunity and the Germans marauding with numbers down the right side of the field.

The United States and Jurgen Klinsmann have been preparing to face Portugal with Ronaldo. Fabian Johnson, Jermain Jones or Kyle Beckerman will be tasked with keeping one eye on him at all times. Without Ronaldo, the team will be a lot more defensive and change their style of play to a more centralized passing game on offense. Not only are Ronaldo and Pepe out, but Hugo Almeida and Fabio Contreao will miss the remainder of the World Cup as well. Their replacements will be hungry to prove themselves; there is no such thing as an easy win against European opposition in the World Cup.

Ronaldo may be considered the best player in the world, but Portugal actually plays better as a whole without him. If these World Cup ending rumors are true, then the United States must be on their A-game, or the high of their late Ghana win could be ended by the disappointment of a Portuguese loss.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for StoppageTimeSoccer.net. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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