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USA 1 Ghana 2


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USA vs. Ghana…How did this game become so hugely, massively, ginormously and utterly important? After last Tuesday when the Czech Republic plastered the States in not only score but performance, us USA fans were sweeping up the pieces of the fallen sky before the final whistle sounded. Then just a few hours later Italy soundly beat Ghana 2-0, and it looked as if Team USA was done and dusted. Ghana even looked like they’d be on the outside looking in after that first game. But then, as the old adage goes, that’s why they play the game. Last Saturday turned Group E into a muddy quagmire throwing not only the Czech Republic, but also the Italians back to the ground thwarting their chances of playing solely for 1st and 2nd in the group and now they are fighting for their lives, well at least the Czech's. Saturday also threw Ghana and the US a lifeline and as fate would have it, the two fighting for their lives are pitted against each other on Thursday.

The scenarios for Team USA to advance:

A win against Ghana and a loss for the Czech Republic, thus giving the USA 4 points and the Czech’s stay at 3 points.

A win against Ghana and a tie by the Czech Republic means that the US has to win by 2 or more, as the head-to-head match-up decidedly goes to the Czech’s.

United States preview:

For the States, Eddie Pope is out for his red card against Italy as is Pablo Mastroeni. To say these guys are the backbone of the defense is mildly overstating…but only mildly. This will truly test the Americans’ depth as they will have to throw Conrad or Berhalter or Bocanegra in the center of defense to partner Onyewu, and either Albright or even Reyna to be the holding midfielder. In a game where a win is an absolute must, Bruce Arena might even throw more attacking minded players as the wingbacks like O’Brien and Convey. It’s a tough position to play for the win and nothing else, but that is the task that has been set before the Americans.

The line-up I’d like to see is to have Bocanegra-Conrad-Onyewu-Cherundolo along the back line with Claudio Reyna playing the more defensive minded midfielder and Landon Donovan playing along-side Reyna, but of course pushing up farther than a central midfielder normally would. Dempsey and Beasley raiding down the sides and McBride and Eddie Johnson pairing up top. This line-up leaves the US back-line exposed, but with a win needed as well as a bump in our goal differential, there’s not much more of an alternative. If Bocanegra and/or Conrad fail to perform, then John O’Brien could be inserted at half-time to add a little punch to the attack.

Obviously the Americans have to go absolutely mental or balls to the wall, as the Texas vernacular would have it, to not only win but to increase the 0 goal differential.

The scenarios for Ghana to advance:

A win against the US and either a tie or a loss for the Czech’s.

A tie against the US and a loss for the Czech’s

A tie against the US and a tie for the Czech’s means that Ghana’s goal differential would be less than 1 which is

Team Ghana’s Preview:

Win and advance automatically, or else. Asamoah Gyan, the goal scorer against the Czech’s is out for the game, as well as Muntari, the forgotten man in their midfield. Essien, Appiah, Amoah and Otto/Eric Addo will all be playing and they are the ones to be afraid of. Sorry I don’t have more for you, but it’s all there for you to see for yourself. Their main objective is to play for the win. Only if Italy is up by 4 against the Italians at half time can Ghana play for a tie. It just doesn’t do any good for any side to play for anything but a convincing win. These two sides will be going pell-mell for a win and Keller and Kingston will have some stinging palms and a lot of grass stains by the time the final whistle is blown.

By playing these games at the same time, there is no way that either of the 4 teams will be able to sit back on their haunches and play for a safe result. This is great for the tournament but hell for the fan sitting at home. I will now have to get extension cords from the garage and bring in a TV from one room into another thus being able to watch the two games simultaneously which will send me into an epileptic fit if I don’t succumb to a heart attack first. Now of course this is all a exercise in pride as the next foe if the US or Ghana advances is Brazil. And if either of these teams are counted as underdogs to advance from the Group, that is nothing compared to the odds Ladbrooke's will post against either Ghana or the US. But advancing will be a victory in and of itself, whereas failing to advance from the hardest group will be seen as a failure...at least for the Americans.

My prediction?

3-1 for the USA

and no, I will NOT take off me red, white and blue tinted specs...

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First of all, it's Ghana - USA, not that it matters that much..

I have a bet on Ghana for this one, but I'm very unsure. Ghana has showed promise, whilst USA in my opinion got off a bit easy because of Italy's poor showing on Saturday.

2-1 Ghana, and the Italians to win hopefully. (add a sensational Togo draw against France to that, and I'm about £120 wealthier come the weekend :) )

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USA: Keller, Onyewu, Conrad, Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Dempsey, Reyna, Lewis, Beasley, Donovan, McBride.

Interesting USA line up. Beasley floating? I don't know enough about Ghana to post theirs.

Ugh on the USA line-up, I'm guessing Lewis will help Reyna in the middle, very attacking side. I think we are trying to match the Ghana speed players, but I'm not sure I like it.

For Ghana, here's what Eurosport is showing...

------------- Kingston ------------

Painstill - Mensah - Shilla - Mohammed


Boateng - Appiah - Drammani

----- Amoah ----- Pimpong -----

As for my thoughts, I think that the USA gets a result, but its not enough to see them through to the knockout stage. But they go home with pride and a well played match.

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Can't see the game as I'm stuck at work, but both Eurosport and Sky Sports said that the U.S. were very hard done by with that call.

Can't say I'm surprised though... the U.S./Italy game showed how ridiculously close the referees are calling these games. Just let them play for God's sake.

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Half time post. Never a penalty. If a decision like that costs them the game it is very harsh.

FIFA need to address players dropping like flies every time someone touches them. Not just this game but all of them, even England do it; Beckham especially.

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Cheating @#/?os, no way a penalty.

Go USA !

Can't see the game as I'm stuck at work, but both Eurosport and Sky Sports said that the U.S. were very hard done by with that call.

Can't say I'm surprised though... the U.S./Italy game showed how ridiculously close the referees are calling these games. Just let them play for God's sake.


Paste that into your browser and click on video. Sent the link to my colleagues in Atlanta, (not that they understand real sport) !

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