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World Cup Finals 2014
Match of the Day Live: Ghana v USA
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Former German national coach Jürgen Klinsmann is looking to usher in a new era of American football (sorry, soccer). But in a group that also contains Portugal and Germany, it’s likely to be a false dawn for a country still generally dubious about its participation in the global game.
If the US lose this match, their campaign is essentially already over, with Klinsmann less than convinced about his side's chances against the other Group G teams. Former Fulham forward Clint Dempsey has over a hundred caps for his country, and much depends on whether the captain can keep Ghana’s defenders busy enough to open space for his more defensively-minded midfield.
Arguably the best team in Africa, Ghana too will bemoan a draw that could deny them a shot at vengeance for their 2010 quarter final injustice against Luis Suarez’s Uruguay. A result here could set them on the path to an upset against either Germany or Portugal, and they have beaten the Americans in two previous World Cup finals.
Asamoah Gyan averaged a goal per game in qualifying in a system that favours fast breaks and attacking opportunism. It should be enough to guarantee a third straight win against the US tonight; whether it is enough to challenge Germany’s discipline or Portugal’s dynamism is another matter.
Ghana v USA (Kick-off 11.00pm). World Cup coverage from the Estadio das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, as the Group G rivals get their campaigns under way. With Germany and Portugal also in this group, these teams are clearly the two underdogs in the quest to reach the last 16, but there is no doubt they have the quality to cause an upset, and three points here would be a major boost to their chances. By a strange quirk of fate, this is the third consecutive World Cup finals that the nations have been drawn together, and Ghana will take confidence from the previous two meetings, both of which they won 2-1. Their fixture four years ago was in the last 16 and went to extra-time, with the Black Stars progressing to a controversial quarter-final defeat to Uruguay, and took place after the USA had topped a group also containing England. Qualification for both sides this time around proved relatively straightforward, with Ghana winning five of their six group matches before thrashing Egypt in the play-offs, and the USA won their final qualifying group to reach a seventh consecutive finals. Presented by Gary Lineker, with commentary by Guy Mowbray and Robbie Savage.
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