In World Cup football action in Brazil Thursday, the U.S., Germany and Algeria advanced to the coveted round of 16.
In Group G play, Germany beat the U.S. in Recife, 1-0, and Portugal posted a 2-1 win over Ghana in Brasilia. The U.S. and Portugal both finished with four points, but the U.S. won the tiebreaker with a goal difference of three better than Portugal in the three group matches.
Germany finished first in the group with seven points. Ghana was fourth with one point. Germany will open against Algeria Monday in the round of 16, also known as the knockout round. The Algerians tied Russia, 1-1, on Thursday in Curitiba and finished second in Group H with four points.
On Tuesday, the U.S. will play Belgium, which defeated Korea, 1-0, in São Paulo in Thursday's other Group H game. The Belgians finished first in that group with nine points.
The round of 16 begins on Saturday with games featuring four South American teams. Five-time World Cup champion Brazil plays Chile in Belo Horizonte, and Colombia faces Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro.
◆ Suarez Banned, Ghana Players Punished
In other news Thursday, football's governing body, FIFA, banned Uruguayan player Luis Suarez for nine international matches and four months for biting an Italian player during Tuesday's World Cup match. He was also fined $112,000 for the incident.
Television replays show Suarez biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini in the shoulder. Officials have suspended Suarez twice before in club play for biting opposing players and once for using racially abusive language.
Also, Ghana's football association approved its coach's decision to suspend two players from the team prior to Thursday's game against Portugal. Kevin-Prince Boateng was suspended indefinitely for insulting his coach. Sulley Muntari was also suspended indefinitely but was ineligible for Thursday's game anyway after earning two yellow cards.
The Round of 16 elimination round begins Saturday.
Switzerland, France and Nigeria claimed their spots on Wednesday.