With Germany and Ghana’s 2-2 draw yesterday, today’s game between USA and Portugal gives both teams a great chance to position themselves to advance out of Group G. However, injuries and suspensions mean both will see different line-ups than the ones they ran out last week.
For the United States, the big question is who will replace Jozy Altidore. The U.S. does not have another forward with the same skill set that Altidore has, so Klinsmann faces a choice to completely shift his 4-2-3-1 formation or move to a 4-5-1 with a clogged midfield to play a more reactive formation against a fast-paced Portugal. The question is will Klinsmann run out an inexperienced Aron Johannsson/Chris Wondolowski or move in another midfielder to try to control the midfield? While some have suggested using Mix Diskerud up top, moving Michael Bradley forward in a 4-2-3-1 and adding Graham Zusi on the wing both allows for additional defensive cover wide and puts Bradley in a more comfortable position.
For Portugal, the problem is a mixture of injuries and suspensions. We know that Pepe will be out due to red card suspension while Fabio Coentrao, Rui Patricio and Hugo Almeida will be out due to injury. Reports suggest that Bruno Alves may also miss the match with an injury, which would further hobble the Portuguese. Of course, the health of Cristiano Ronaldo has been the major story, but if he is able to run he will play.
With only 18 players or so able to dress, Portugal will be scrambling to fill out its Starting XI. However, as long as they have Ronaldo on the pitch, the formation will revolve around him and feeding him the ball. Expect them to play a 4-3-3 with a number of new names in the line-up from the loss to Germany.
Stadium: Arena Amazonia, Manaus
Referee: Nestor Pitana (Argentina)
Predicted U.S. Starting XI
Predicted Portugal Starting XI