2014 World Cup – Group G
Ghana vs United States
Estadio das Dunas – Natal, Brazil
Monday, June 16, 2014, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN, Univision
Money Line: USA +190 / Ghana +150 / +235
Point Line: Ghana Pick -126 / USA Pick +107
Total: over 2.5 -110 / under 2.5 -110
All odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
The United States opens the 2014 World Cup against a familiar foe Monday in rainy Natal. Ghana has eliminated the United States in the last two World Cups. They played in the last group stage game in Germany in 2006 with a berth in the knockout stage on the line. Ghana won that match 2-1. In 2010, Ghana beat USA in the round of 16 2-1 in added extra time. Those are the only two previous meetings between the teams. With Germany and Portugal also in the group, a win is vital for each of these teams if they have any hope of advancing to the next round.
Ghana is making their third straight appearance in the World Cup, making to the round of 16 in 2006 and the quarters in 2010 Ghana would lose on penalties to Uruguay in the quarters.
Ghana is #37 in the FIFA rankings. Ghana went 9-2 in qualifying in Africa. The final group came down to the last game against Zambia. Ghana won at home to clinch a berth in a two leg playoff against Egypt. Ghana mummified Egypt 6-1 in the first leg and lost 2-1 in Cairo. Ghana advanced to the Cup 7-3 on aggregate.
Ghana is managed by James Kwesi Appiah. Ghana has been 3-3-0 in their last six games. The Black Stars beat South Korea 4-0 last Tuesday in Miami in their final tune-up for the World Cup. Prior to that Ghana had lost 1-0 to both the Netherlands and Montenegro. Both were on the road as it is hard to get teams to travel to Africa for friendlies.
The United States is making their 10th overall appearance and 7th straight. They finished third in the first World Cup in 1930. They also made it in 1934 and 1950. The 1950 appearance was highlighted by an upset over England that is still talked about today. It would be 40 years before the US would return to the World Cup in 1990. Since then they have qualified for every World Cup, and alternated being eliminated in the group stage and going to the knockout round. In 2002, the American beat rival Mexico in the round of 16 to advance to the quarters, their best finish in the modern era.
The US won the CONCACAF regional qualifying group with 22 points four clear of second place Costa Rica. The Americans lost their first qualifying game at Honduras but would go 7-0-2 for the rest of qualifying. The US scored 15 goals and conceded 8 during qualifying. USA is currently #13 in the FIFA rankings.
The United States is managed by Jurgen Klinsmann. The United States has gone 4-1-1 in their last six friendlies leading up to the Cup. The Americans have won their last three friendlies over Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Nigeria by a combined score of 6-2. The game against Nigeria was June 7 in Jacksonville, and the US won 2-1.
Ghana will use a 4-2-3-1 formation. Forward Majeed Waris suffered a knee injury in the South Korea match. He is doubtful for the game against USA. Christian Atsu or Jordan Ayew could start in his place. Ayew scored a hat trick against South Korea. Jordan’s brother Andre Ayew starts at right winger for Ghana. Striker Asamoah Gyan led the team in scoring during qualifying. Veterans Emmanuel Badu and Michael Essian will likely come off the bench. Goalkeeper Fatua Dauda will start and will need to be wary of the USA’s dangerous strikers.
Klinsmann made headlines when he left Landon Donovon off of his final 23 man roster for the World Cup. Klinsmann has used a rare 4-4-1-1 formation in recent friendlies with Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey as the only forwards. The midfielders play in a diamond which allows Michael Bradley to focus more on offense than defense. Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, and either Jermaine Jones or Graham Zusi will start at the other three midfield positions. Geoff Cameron, Michael Besler, Fabian Johnson and and DeMarcus Beasley man a back line that needs to be more consistent. Tim Howard has over 100 caps for the US team and has long been a steady presence in the net.
Ghana will want to play possession and keep it tight. USA would prefer a more wide open game. The Americans are at their best on the counter-attack. Ghana has won the last 2 games by 2-1 margins against USA. I think the score will be the same but this time the united states comes out on top.
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