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RECIFE, Brazil — When Jermaine Jones stands for the national anthems of his countries today, he will soak in the moment.
Jones, like four American teammates and his coach, will be familiar with both “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the “Deutschlandlied” before the United States’ World Cup game against Germany.
After playing three games in 2008 for the nation in which he grew up, Jones switched allegiance to the United States two years later.
“When I hear the anthem from the United States, I will close my eyes and let everything go through,” the tenacious midfielder said.
Then comes the big game.
Four years of work by the United States come down to 90 or so minutes in the afternoon heat and possibly rain at Arena Pernambuco on the outskirts of a sprawling beach city known as the Brazilian Venice. Having squandered the chance to clinch advancement earlier this week against Portugal by allowing a stoppage-time goal in a 2-2 draw, the Americans might need at least a tie against the three-time champions to reach the knockout stage of consecutive World Cup for the first time.
The story lines are gripping:
■ U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann facing the nation he helped win the 1990 World Cup title and coached to the 2006 semifinals.
■ Germany coach Joachim Loew managing against Klinsmann, his former boss.
■ Five German-American players with U.S. servicemen fathers and German mothers going up against a German squad filled with familiar faces from the Bundesliga.
■ Fear by some the United States and Germany might collude on a draw, which would advance both nations while eliminating Portugal and Ghana. Both sides insist that won’t happen.
■ Thousands of American fans with red, white, and blue gear making the trek to the Southern Hemisphere to cheer in person and millions back home tuning into games at record levels.
“The country is in a soccer fever and they’re glued to the TVs when we play,” midfielder Kyle Beckerman said Wednesday.
The Germans beat Portugal 4-0 and tied Ghana 2-2, leaving them with four points and a plus-four goal difference. The Americans, who defeated Ghana 2-1, have four points and a plus-one goal difference.
Ghana and Portugal, with one point each, play simultaneously in Brasilia, knowing a tie in either game would eliminate both of them. U.S. Soccer Federation officials will have a system to relay the score of the other match to the bench.
“To be able to keep that level of interest for another four, five, six and hopefully more days would be great for the sport,” USSF President Sunil Gulati said. “I think for the first time in our history — recent history, I’m not going to talk about 1950 or before — our players believe they’re capable of beating anyone.”
He rejects the notion the dual nationals are any less American than those who came up through the U.S. youth system.
While the Germans have four off days between matches, the United States has only three. Teams are 0-4 after games in the steamy Amazon rainforest capital of Manaus, where the Americans played Sunday night.
“It’s the biggest game of all of our lives,” Beckerman said. “Any fatigue in our legs will be erased. We’ve got to give it everything.”
Uruguay steps upto defend Suarez
RIO DE JANEIRO — As the world was judging Uruguay’s Luis Suarez for biting a player in the World Cup, his teammates, coaches and fans in his soccer-crazy country defended the star, blaming the foreign media, his Italian opponents, and uneven treatment.
World Cup organizers scrambled Wednesday to quickly decide on a punishment before Uruguay plays Colombia on Saturday in the round of 16.
“We have to resolve it either today or tomorrow,” FIFA disciplinary panel member Martin Hong told media Wednesday. “It’s our duty to see justice done.”
The disciplinary committee meeting was under way Wednesday, FIFA spokesman Delia Fischer said.
ARGENTINA 3, NIGERIA 2
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa each scored two goals before Marcos Rojo kneed in the winner.
Argentina won Group F while Nigeria also advanced despite the loss.
FRANCE 0, EQUADOR 0
RIO DE JANEIRO — France drew with 10-man Ecuador to advance to the second round, while the South Americans will be going home from the tournament.
Ecuador played a man short at Rio’s Maracana stadium when Antonio Valencia was sent off on a straight red card in the 50th minute for digging his studs into the leg of French defender Lucas Digne. France came closest to scoring when Antoine Griezmann hit the post in the 47th.
SWITZERLAND 3, HONDURAS 0
MANAUS, Brazil — Xherdan Shaqiri scored all three goals to put Switzerland into the second round.
The Swiss will next face Lionel Messi and Argentina on Tuesday in Sao Paulo.
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA 3, IRAN 1
SALVADOR, Brazil — Bosnia-Herzegovina ended Iran’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stage in the win. Edin Dzeko opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with a low shot from 20 yards.