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The Yanks v the Black Stars, this game has history written all over it. Not only is this Africa’s best hope now of success in the first World Cup on African soil, it’s also the United States’ best chance of emulating the 2002 team by progressing to the quarter-finals or even beyond, since the opposition in the quarter-finals is not top of the class.
So both teams will be chomping at the bit to make history here, with an entirely winnable match lying in wait in the next round. You can only win the matches in front of you though, and both sides have shown enough in the group stages to suggest that they can succeed, although USA will have to work on their defensive errors while Ghana have to address their lack of goalscoring options upfront.
The celebrations after USA’s last-gasp win against Algeria is evidence of the game’s growing success in the country and also of a better understanding of the game, although it will take more than just a second round spot to bring enlightenment to the masses.
Ghana’s progress takes on added significance given the failures of the other African teams (Ivory Coast have an insurmountable -9 goal differential to beat if they want to qualify, the rest are out of it), and the whole of Africa will be cheering them on against the Americans. If the USA’s win has seen a country united behind soccer, Ghana will have the continent praying for them.
Will the Americans kill Africa’s hopes for a successful ‘home’ World Cup? Will the Black Stars put USA in their place and plough through to the next round?
Expect this to be an eventful game. I really don’t know who to back on this one. On one hand, the Americans are solid and have a genuinely top player in Landon Donovan. His two goals thus far suggest that he has stepped up to the plate. Jozy Altidore is a lot to handle up front, don’t let his Hull spell fool you, he is going to be a top player, or at least an American Heskey.
Clint Dempsey is capable of winning games and Michael Bradley is a presence in the centre of the pitch. Then you have Ghana, who have a pile of energy, players who can play and the undoubted home support. If they can even hear people cheering them on over those noisy beehives.
Ghana’s have lively players all over the pitch, but their biggest problem is the biggest one you can face in football, a lack of goals. Their two goals to date were penalties, and while they created plenty of chances against a talented Germany, they never really looked like putting one away. They have some good players, Annan looks the part, Prince Tago is a nuisance, Boeteng pushed forward and Gyan makes himself busy.
Get the petulant Muntari to get himself out of his latest strop and off the bench and they have probably their most quality player. Both managers have done a great job with their teams. Expect this to be a late one.
USA v Ghana Betting Tip
Looks to be a very even game but Ghana should edge this one. A $10 stake on a 2-1 Ghana win earns you a cool $100. Click here to bet on this and other World Cup games.
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Also See: Soccerlens’ 2010 World Cup Second Round Preview.