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U.S. team set for some well-earned rest after taxing win vs. Ghana

The U.S. national team is set for some time off after beating Ghana in a physically taxing match that left several players hampered and most of the team's starters drained.

SAO PAULO — When the U.S. national team arrived at its home base hotel Tuesday, the morning after Monday’s historic World Cup victory against Ghana, the players had the option of having breakfast after the three-hour overnight flight.

Every player skipped the breakfast, choosing to head straight for their beds after a physically grueling and extremely tiring battle that resulted in a 2-1 victory, but also resulted in a handful of injuries.

The victory has earned the U.S. team a precious three points, as well as some well-deserved rest, with coach Jurgen Klinsmann giving the squad the day off Wednesday. The starters and halftime substitute John Brooks rested Tuesday, a day after the dramatic win against their old World Cup nemesis.

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“On the plane, it was very quiet. Everybody was tired, and they were all sleeping,” Klinsmann said. “We got in after 4 this morning and so we let them sleep in until lunch time and then off we go from there.”

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“Last night we were enjoying ourselves and everything. Now we’ve got to recuperate,” said U.S. midfielder Alejandro Bedoya. “Our bodies are banged up a bit and now we put all of our focus on Portugal, and I think we will be able to do that. This is the World Cup, it is about having a little bit of fun as well, you know?”

Bedoya was one of the U.S. team’s walking wounded coming out of Monday’s physical encounter with Ghana. Jozy Altidore and Matt Besler both left the match with hamstring injuries, though Besler’s injury appears to be less serious according to Klinsmann.

“Personally for me, Matt is no problem, all fine for the next game,” Klinsmann said. “But Jozy, we now have to see how he reacts in the next couple of days with his hamstring and we are full of hope that he comes back still in this tournament, and that’s what we are going to work on every day.

“The medical staff has done a tremendous job. We still have hope that Jozy will come back. How quickly? That is down to his healing process.”

Bedoya left the match as a precaution in the 78th minute, but insisted Tuesday that he was healthy.

“I had a little hip pointer in the first half. It’s an injury that I’ve had before, so it was bothering me a lot, but I just cramped up as well in my hamstring when I tried to block that last cross right before I came off,” Bedoya said. “So it was a little bit of both things, but I should be alright."

The U.S. team’s reserves went through light training Tuesday at the team’s base camp at the Sao Paulo FC training facility. When the full group returns to training Thursday, the focus will be on beating a Portugal team that will be desperate for a result after being embarrassed by Germany in Monday’s Group G opener.

“I believe that we are very well prepared with a lot of respect we have for that team,” Klinsmann said of Portugal. “It’s a difficult situation for them now, after that defeat, they are with their backs against the wall. It makes it even more difficult to get a result, but that’s what you want. That’s what a World Cup is about. We also have the chance to win to hopefully qualify. It can’t get any better.”

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