Ghana v USA Preview

Group G | Tuesday 17 June | Rotterdam | 00:00




The road to the World Cup final begins in Natal for Jurgen Klinsmann and the United States as they will take on a familiar adversary in Ghana who will be looking to go one better than their quarter-final showing in South Africa.

Ghana has sent the US packing in the previous two World Cups, and the Americans are hungry to avenge their prior defeats. The stars and stripes bowed out of the 2006 edition of the tournament with a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Black Stars in the final match of group play.

2010 brought more heartbreak for the US, as Asamoah Gyan buried an extra-time goal to dispose of the US in the round of 16. Both of these teams have key returnees to their respective squad’s, but this will be a radically different contest from the previous two.

To Win (90mins)
Ghana 18/10
Draw 2/1
USA 31/20

GHANA

Ghana are confident they can claw their way out of a World Cup group which includes Germany, Portugal and the United States and that will all start with getting maximum points in their first match.

The Black Stars reached the round of 16 in their World Cup debut in 2006 in Germany and reached the last eight four years ago in South Africa.

Now they want to become the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the tournament. Skipper Asamoah Gyan, who appeared at both previous finals, has said that Ghana will raise their game in Brazil.

Ghana were unstoppable when they dumped seven-times African champions Egypt 7-3 on aggregate to book their passage to Brazil 2014.

It was a vintage performance by the west African side in Kumasi, where they blew away Egypt 6-1 in the first leg. Coach Kwesi Appiah; who was an assistant coach at the South Africa finals, has won the confidence of his players, despite rumours that he would be replaced with a foreign manager.

Ghana's prospects have been bolstered by a return to the fold of Michael Essien and Kevin-Prince Boateng, both of whom had put their international careers on hold in 2011.

Influential players like Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah, Sulley Muntari and Dede Ayew all return from the 2010 squad and all have a vital role to play if they are to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

USA

Jurgen Klinnsmann has moulded the United States team into a solid team who have kept out some great attacking teams.

They remain the only CONCACAF team to achieve the highest position in a World Cup, third.

They come to Brazil on the back of an excellent qualifying campaign having scored the most goals in their group, 15. They certainly are a team who can surprise quite a few and do well in Brazil.

Managed by a man who has a surprise up his sleeve every now and then, USA have adapted to Klinsmann’s methods very well.

The 1994 hosts came closest in 2002 when they were knocked out by Germany in the quarters. Behind group favourites Germany and Portugal, USA and Ghana look very much even when it comes to quality in their squads.

USA will again depend on their experienced performers in Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey while there was no space for legend Landon Donovan in the 23-man squad.

They’ve got a goal poacher in Dempsey who takes his chances when given good supply. In all, USA have a good team who on their day with the right decisions, can cause an upset.

Since taking over as coach in 2011, Klinsmann has said that he doesn't just want to play the kind of workman-like soccer that the U.S. has been known for in the past – he wants the team to control possession and play with flow and tempo.

But that evolution has been slow in coming, and the U.S. team has played its best under Klinsmann when it employs the same formula it has for years: letting opposition control the ball and then lighting up on the counterattack.

Betting PredictionDRAW 2/1
The pressure will be heavy on both squads, especially as both will be desperate for all three points knowing matches with Portugal and Germany await. This game could go either way and the sides are tipped to share the spoils.

Written by Wayde Dorkin for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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