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    World Cup notes: US hopeful Jozy Altidore can return

    Jozy Altidore was in pain after injuring his hamstring against Ghana Monday. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
    Jozy Altidore was in pain after injuring his hamstring against Ghana Monday.

    Jurgen Klinsmann is optimistic forward Jozy Altidore will return for the United States during this World Cup.

    Altidore underwent an MRI on his injured left hamstring Tuesday after the US squad returned to its Sao Paulo headquarters from Monday night’s 2-1 victory against Ghana.

    Results weren’t immediately available, and there is some doubt because hamstrings aren’t always quick to heal.


    ‘‘With Jozy, we've got to see how he now reacts the next couple days with his hamstring, and we’re full of hope that he comes back still in this tournament, and that’s what we kind of work on every day,’’ Klinsmann said. ‘‘The medical staff is doing a tremendous job [for] weeks, so we still have to hope that Jozy will be back. How quickly? That is down to his healing process.’’

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    In the first half Monday, Altidore was running down a ball with Ghana’s John Boye when he lowered his head to attempt to control it. He immediately grabbed the back of his left leg and fell to the ground in pain.

    PHOTOS: US beats Ghana, 2-1

    ‘‘Obviously we all hope he'll be all right,’’ midfielder Alejandro Bedoya said. ‘‘I'm sure if he’s able to work hard we’re going to get him back. We have players that can play different roles and come in and do a job. Last night we had two subs come in and add something to the game. Aron is a good player and I think he did well last night under the circumstances. It was hard to get him the ball.’’

    The Americans’ next Group G match is Sunday at Manaus against Portugal, a 4-0 loser to Germany.

    RELATED: US must strike first against depleted Portugal

    Central defender Matt Besler was replaced at halftime as a precaution with right hamstring tightness, and he also underwent tests Tuesday. Klinsmann said his injury wasn’t serious and he would be fine for Sunday.

    Dempsey broke nose


    The US Soccer Federation says captain Clint Dempsey should be able to play Sunday despite a broken nose.

    Dempsey scored 30 seconds into Monday’s 2-1 win over Ghana, then was bloodied by a shin to the face from Boye when they battled for a header in the 33d minute.

    Complete World Cup schedule and results

    US team spokesman Michael Kammarman said it had not been determined whether Dempsey would need to play with a mask.

    Dempsey is still deciding whether to wear a mask to protect his broken nose, though the US Soccer Federation said he should be able to play despite the injury.

    ''Maybe he has the option if he wants a mask on,’’ Klinsmann said. ‘‘I don’t know how much a mask can protect him. Whatever he feels good with. I think a broken nose, yes, it was tricky during the game. He barely could breathe. He struggled with that. But once it’s broken, it’s broken. It will take time to heal completely. But unfortunately, it’s also part of our game. He’s going to be all right.’’

    On second look . . .


    FIFA has officially timed Dempsey’s goal at 30 seconds into the US team’s 2-1 win over Ghana.

    Dempsey became the fifth fastest scorer in World Cup history on Monday in Natal.

    The goal was initially timed at 29 seconds before being confirmed at one second later by FIFA on Tuesday.

    The only faster goals at a World Cup were by Turkey’s Hakan Suker (11 seconds against South Korea in 2002), Czechoslovakia’s Vaclav Masek (16 seconds against Mexico in 1962), Germany’s Ernst Lehner (25 seconds against Austria in 1934), and England’s Bryan Robson (27 seconds against France in 1982).

    Dempsey became the first American to score in three World Cups.

    Opener set record

    Nearly 16 million people in the United States watched the country’s World Cup opener on television.

    The Nielsen company says 11.1 million people who saw the US team beat Ghana on ESPN on Monday represented that network’s biggest audience for a soccer match. Nielsen says an additional 4.8 million people watched the Spanish-language broadcast on Univision.

    That’s down from the 17.3 million who saw the first US match in the 2010 tournament, against England, which was shown on ABC and Univision on a Saturday afternoon. Four years ago, 19.7 million people watched the US-Ghana match in the knockout round, which ended the United States’s run in the tournament and was also shown on ABC and Univision on a Saturday afternoon.

    Portugal at a loss

    Portugal left back Fabio Coentrao has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a muscle strain.

    The Portuguese football federation said Tuesday that the Real Madrid defender strained his right abductor muscle during a 4-0 loss to Germany on Monday, when he was forced to leave the field in the 65th minute. He told reporters after the game that he feared his World Cup had ‘‘come to an end.’’

    Coentrao recorded a video message for fans saying how disappointed he was to miss the rest of the tournament.

    Striker Hugo Almeida and goalkeeper Rui Patricio will remain with the squad. Almeida limped off midway through the first half in Salvador with a muscle injury while Patricio played the whole game, but was later diagnosed with a thigh injury.

    Portugal will also be without suspended defender Pepe.