Few bothered to give the US more than a brief mention.
When Cristiano Ronaldo trooped out of the players' tunnel to take on the Americans at the Arena Amazonia yesterday morning (Singapore time), it was almost as if the writing was on the wall.
Ronaldo, the world's best player, would be the one to lead Portugal back to winning ways after they were soundly beaten 4-0 by Germany in their opening game.
The script almost didn't involve the US.
In the end, Ronaldo delivered in the nick of time, providing the assist for Portugal's last-gasp equaliser in a thrilling 2-2 draw, but by then the Americans have already sent shudders up Germany's spine.
They have turned football's world order upside down.
They were not supposed to stand a chance at this World Cup, not in a tough group comprising Portugal, Germany and Ghana.
But they will head into their final group clash against leaders Germany level on points.
It's a winner-takes-all contest.
The Americans, who beat Ghana in their opening fixture, have proven by now that they aren't pushovers.
They are quick, confident and super fit.
They will relish the 1pm heat in Recife, where they are taking on the Germans on Thursday.
In fact, the hotter, the better.
Juergen Klinsmann has moulded the US into a side reminiscent of Germany at the 2006 World Cup, where as coach, he led his home country to the semi-finals.
The US are just as industrious, organised and efficient, although they may be missing some individual flair.
They won't fear Thomas Mueller and company, for sure. Watch out, Germany, for the Americans are coming.
This article was first published on June 24, 2014.
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