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29

29th Minute, Jorge Costa (own goal), USA v Portugal 2002 World Cup Group Stage

Context

Portugal flew to the World Cup in Korea and Japan full of confidence that they could reach the latter stages and perhaps even challenge for the title. They had performed well in Euro 2000 and it was another chance for their golden generation to make their mark. They also appeared to have a favourable group. Hosts South Korea had never advanced beyond the group stage and Poland were favourable fellow European opposition. Portugal began with a match against the USA, who had performed horribly four years earlier in France.

Portugal found themselves behind after just four minutes and never really recovered with goalkeeper Vitor Baia looking particularly nervy.

The Goal

The ball finds it way out wide to where Landon Donovan is waiting to deliver a cross…

What Happened Next?

Donovan looked embarrassed to celebrate the fluke goal and it wasn’t long until the USA were joyous again as Brian McBride’s terrific diving header put them three up. Portugal attempted a comeback and they pulled it back to 3-2 with twenty minutes remaining but they couldn’t find an equaliser. Portugal’s tournament got worse as they lost to South Korea which coupled with the USA getting a point against Poland meant they were heading home early.

The USA finished second in the group and beat their great rivals Mexico in the second round before losing a tight quarter final to a Germany side with an inspired Michael Ballack.

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