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USA v Ghana

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19:30 (BST), 14:30 (EDT), 11:30 (PDT).

The US MNT plays in its first knock-out match in the World Cup since the glorious 2-0 victory over Mexico in 2002 (UPDATE: forgetting, of course, the match against Germany in the QF in ’02, which I continue to happily do).  These two sides have a deep and stirring history that the media can not stop talking about . . . 1966, 1970, 1972, 1990, 1996 . . . where did it all go wrong? . . . no, wait, that’s England v Germany.  Ghana and the USA have met exactly once, the final group match of 2006, in which Ghana won 2-1 on a sketchy penalty call at the end of the first half.

Ghana don’t score goals.  Indeed, in 13 internationals in 2010, they’ve scored more than one goal once: a 5-2 victory over the mighty Burkina Faso.  Both goals they’ve scored during this tournament were penalties by Rennes forward Asamoah Gyan.  Given that the Guardian projects them to come out in a defensive-minded 4-1-4-1 for this match, and are without Michael Essien during this tournament, expect more of the same.  However, don’t underestimate Ghana; they’re a strong, physical side that will press American players and disrupt any passing set up play.  The US will have to rely on its pace to find space on counter attack.

It looks as though Bradley will make two changes from the side that beat Algeria on Wednesday: Gooch returns in central defence, and Findley partners Altidore up front.

While I’d love to discuss the bracket we’re in and its relative placid ease, I can’t.  I expect Uruguay to get past South Korea, to face the winner of USA v Ghana.  I underestimated Ghana in my predictions back in December (I saw them finishing last in their group), and won’t do so again.

Side note: Asamoah Gyan and US Captain Carlos Bocanegra are teammates at French 1st Division side Stade Rennais.

UPDATE (and this one I did miss): Ghana right back John Paintsil and Clint Dempsey are teammates at Fulham.

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  • mcsey

    Side note: Asamoah Gyan and US Captain Carlos Bocanegra are team mates at French 1st Division side Stade Rennais.

    I wonder if this will cut down on the play acting that marred the ’06 match. Honest “fair-play football” today I hope.

    • Dave Brockington

      Yes, the 2006 match was ugly. One UK paper, the Independent I think, said it was cynical verging on cheating. Having watched it, I went with full on cheating.

  • BillCinSD

    The US MNT plays in its first knock-out match in the World Cup since the glorious 2-0 victory over Mexico in 2002.

    as long as we forget the ripoff that Hugh Dallas decided for us against Germany

    • Desert Rat

      I wondered if somebody was going to point out that our last knockout match was the Dallas debacle. Final: Hugh Dallas 1, USA 0.

    • Dave Brockington

      I was living in Amsterdam during that time, and my best friend in AMS was German. We watched the match together. Afterwards, he told me we won it if it wasn’t for Kahn and the ref.

  • SJ

    Gooch isn’t starting today. Bradley’s using the same defensive four he used against Algeria.

    Not sure about Findley up front to start. I like him better off the bench.

  • blowback

    Yeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!

  • Thlayli

    Ghana right back John Paintsil and Clint Dempsey are teammates at Fulham.

    That’s the worst part of this for Dempsey: he’s going to be hearing about it in the Fulham locker room on more-or-less a daily basis.

  • Simple Mind

    Only one recipe to recover from this humiliation: Make soccer, not war.

  • McKingford

    Pardon this indulgence…I know Toronto is pretty hard to like when the weather sucks (which it generally does for most of the year), but man is this a great city to be in when the World Cup is played. I actually can`t imagine a more fun place to be, other than being *at* the World Cup.

    Having a city this multicultural means there is *always* a sizable national population of whatever country is playing – meaning there is always a party going on after every game. I mean, seriously – Ghana? Who knew Ghanaians were here? But sure enough, they were out in force with their flags and cars celebrating.

    And yesterday, the Chileans set up camp in the park across the street and were at it all evening…and then the Palestinian Film Festival had an outdoor showing of Goal Dreams (the 2006 Palestinian attempt to qualify), and it turns out that half the players for the squad came from Chile, so that set the party on anew.

    Just don’t mind the burning cop cars, though…

  • Anderson

    We need to provoke a nuclear war with Ghana sometime between now and 2014.

    (But srsly, that extra-time goal was just amazing to watch. A good game in which the U.S. was just outplayed.)

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