Despite a 1-0 loss to Germany Thursday, Team USA will advance to the Knockout Stage in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.


The United States men's soccer team was in the right place at the right time despite losing to Germany, 1-0, in the final game of group play at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil on Thursday afternoon.

Although the Americans did not draw or beat Germany to advance out of "The Group of Death" at the World Cup, they got outside help -- when Portugal defeated Ghana, 2-1 -- in order to move on to the Knockout Stage.

"All of the teams qualifying for a World Cup are good teams and strong, but most would agree that this was, maybe with another group or two, by far, the strongest group to go through," Team USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "Ghana, with what they bring to the table, and Portugal is tremendous quality.

"I think Germany, for the reason you saw today, is among the four or five favorites to win this title here. For us, it was hard, hard work and tremendous commitment and we're just growing. We're learning with every game. We take so much good stuff and grow into the next game."

By advancing to the Knockout Stage next week, the Americans made history.

It is the first time ever that they have qualified for the Knockout Stage in consecutive World Cup tournaments.

"It's great to advance out of the group, a group that many people thought we wouldn't advance from," U.S. captain Clint Dempsey told ESPN. "We'd have liked to end the last game on a better note. We would've liked to have gotten a better result, but at the end of the day, we're excited to get to the Knockout Stage, and hopefully, we can do better than we did in the last World Cup.

Goalkeeper Tim Howard added, "We've still got a lot left in us. I thought we played well throughout the group. Today was a tough game in tough conditions. Hats off to Germany. I think they have an opportunity to win the World Cup. That's how good I think they are.

"We had a chance there at the end, but we get to the Round of 16. It shows how far we've come, that we're not happy just getting there, that we want to progress."

Now, the Americans have to wait for the Algeria-Russia and Belgium-South Korea games to conclude before finding out who their opponent will be during the Round of 16, but who they play is of little importance to Klinsmann.

"Whoever we face now, we're going to take it to them," Klinsmann said. "For all of the players, it's a tremendous achievement. Now, we really get started. Now, we can put this behind us, the whole group phase.

"Once the group is done, another tournament actually starts because the Knockout Stage is a completely different ballgame. We can't wait for that to get started next week."

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