World Cup 2014

World Cup: Will the last 10 minutes continue to hurt the US national team against Germany?

There has been a lot of talk about the hot and humid conditions at this World Cup in Brazil.

Players have been cramping up in most every game, some have needed to change their shirts in the middle of the action, and we even saw a water break during a match.

Some would argue that these very conditions have led to a proliferation of goals in the last 10 minutes of games -- think Lionel Messi’s goal against Iran or Diego Godin’s goal against Italy.

However, in reality there have been just 26 of 117 goals scored in the 80th minute or later at the 2014 World Cup entering Wednesday’s games. And this 22 percent proportion is actually similar to previous World Cups.

Have a look at the numbers below (goals scored in extratime have been removed).

YEAR GOALS GOALS 80TH MINUTE OR LATER PROPORTION
1998 170 34 24.8%
2002 158 25 15.8%
2006 145 36 24.8%
2010 144 29 20.1%
2014 117 26 22.2%

Two of these 26 late goals were scored against the United States (tied for most at the World Cup with four other teams -- Australia, Japan, Croatia and France): one by Ghana's Andre Ayew and the other by Portuguese winger Silvestre Varela. This has been the continuation of a worrying trend for the US as they also conceded in the 80th minute or later in their last two friendlies before leaving for Brazil.

Is it just coincidence? Or perhaps tiring legs come into play?

If it is related to fitness, then Thursday's match against Germany will present concerns. First, the USA are coming off a match played in Manaus and the four teams which have played there previously have lost their next match. And then there's the minor detail of having one less day of rest compared to the Germans.

Ghana's late goal was cancelled out by John Brooks and the 95th-minute goal conceded to Portugal was a heartbreaker. But if the trend continues against Germany, it could cost the Americans a ticket to the Round of 16.