And so we’ve reached the second stop on the U.S. World Cup odyssey, a 6 p.m. kickoff (local and Eastern time) against Portugal at Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, the most remote of the 12 Brazilian venues.
The stakes are enormous. A victory sends the Americans through to the round of 16. A draw sets up high drama for Thursday’s group finales. A loss leaves the Americans in a tight spot before facing Germany.
“It’s a massive game,” goalkeeper Tim Howard said.
In massive humidity. Advantage: USA, which has had to cope with oppressive climate in World Cup qualifiers in Central America and the Caribbean and features several MLS players accustomed to stifling summer weather in places such as Houston, Dallas and Washington. It’s not going to make the difference, but will be a factor in the second half when fatigue sets in. Portugal’s squad has been depleted by several injuries to starters and Pepe‘s suspension.
To get you ready …
From Saturday editions, I look at how the U.S. squad will try containing Cristiano Ronaldo.
Post colleague Rick Maese writes about the presence of thousands of American supporters in Brazil.
In case you missed it earlier in the week, Rick spent a few days exploring Manaus, its ties to futebol and the controversy surrounding its white-elephant stadium.
TV: 6 p.m. ET on ESPN and Univision.
Looking for a public place in the Washington area to watch the match? The Post’s Going Out Guide has got you covered.
Game-time forecast in Manaus: 80 degrees, 85 percent humidity, 40 percent chance of rain, 3-mph wind.
Referee: Nestor Pitana of Argentina.