Ghana v USA: World Cup 2014 match preview

Ghana v USA:

 

  • Venue: Estadio das Dunas, Natal
  • Date: Monday, 16 June
  • Kick-off: 23:00 BST

TEAM NEWS

USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann looks set to persist with a diamond formation that gives midfielder Michael Bradley an advanced role.

Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore will start upfront.

Ghana coach James Kwesi Appiah must decide whether to pick Jordan Ayew after he scored a hat-trick in last week’s warm-up match against South Korea.

Majeed Waris tore a thigh muscle in that game and is not expected to play.

MATCH PREVIEW

Both sides come into this World Cup with revenge in the air for differing reasons. Ghana are desperate to end the hurt caused by their controversial exit four years ago – quite literally at the hands of Uruguay’s Luis Suarez.

As for the USA, they want to end the hex the Ghanaians have over them, having lost to the Black Stars at the last two World Cups.

If Ghana are to make it three in a row, USA’s hopes of making the knockout stages will be hanging by a thread given Portugal and Germany lie in wait in Group G. As a result, both sides are seeing it as a must-win fixture and USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann has said “it’s pretty much like a knockout game”.

The furore over Landon Donovan’s omission from his squad has subsided, for now, and it will be interesting to see how Klinsmann’s team will line-up. He has been experimenting with a diamond formation in recent months with midfielder Michael Bradley and forward Clint Dempsey absolutely crucial to their hopes.

Striker Jozy Altidore may be a figure of fun to watchers of English football, having scored just twice in 59 appearances in the Premier League, but he is a goal machine for the States and scored a brace in the warm-up win over Nigeria to match his tally for Sunderland in the whole of this season.

Ghana have the youngest squad at this World Cup, but are a side packed with experience at the highest level. Key man Michael Essien made his return to international football last year and has slotted back in perfectly to a team also containing maverick talents like Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sulley Muntari, Andre Ayew and the outstanding Kwadwo Asamoah.

Up front is skipper Asamoah Gyan, for whom this World Cup means more to than most. It was his missed penalty in the last minute of extra time following Suarez’s handballthat denied Ghana the chance of becoming the first African side to reach a World Cup semi-final.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Ghana have beaten the USA 2-1 at the last two World Cups (2006 group stage, 2010 second round).
  • USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann scored twice against Ghana in a 6-1 friendly win by Germany in 1993.

Ghana

  • The USA have only kept two clean sheets in their last 23 World Cup matches.
  • USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann played 17 games and scored 11 goals at the World Cup with Germany. This is his second World Cup as head coach, having led his home nation to third place in 2006.
  • The USA are facing African opponents for the third straight match in World Cups (Ghana 2006 and 2010, Algeria 2010).
  • They won a national record 12 straight matches in 2013.
  • It’s been 12 years since a USA striker scored at a World Cup (Brian McBride v Mexico).
  • DaMarcus Beasley could become the first American to play in four World Cups.

USA

  • Four of Ghana’s nine World Cup goals have come against the USA.
  • Ghana scored more goals than any other team in the 2014 African World Cup qualifiers (25).
  • No player scored more goals than Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan in the 2014 African World Cup qualifiers (six). He has also scored four and assisted two of Ghana’s nine World Cup goals in total, and netted the winner against USA in 2010.
  • If Gyan scores twice, then he will surpass Cameroon’s Roger Milla and become the top African goalscorer in the World Cup with six goals.

Source: BBC

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