The 14th game of the 2014 World Cup means a lot to American soccer fans as the U.S. national team will go up against Ghana, which will be gunning for a third straight World Cup victory over the U.S.
With Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. head coach, himself saying that his team cannot realistically be expected to win the World Cup, it will be interesting to see how Klinsmann, who helped Germany to the trophy in 1990, will lead his team as coach against the West African soccer powerhouse, which believes that it has a fair chance at yet another win against the Americans in a World Cup game.
“I think so,” Asamoah Gyan, Ghana’s captain who scored the winning goal against the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup, told the New York Daily News, when asked if his team was superior. “Ghana is the more talented team… We are the youngest team in the tournament. Also the players are playing well in their clubs, in great shape. The U.S. is a good side, a very dangerous team. But we don't think about them, we think about ourselves first.”
Klinsmann, who has said that winning the 2014 World Cup is an unrealistic goal for the U.S. team, is also aware of Ghana’s strength. With an average age of 25.8, Ghana's team is the youngest, and reportedly one of the most athletic, in the 32-nation tournament.
“It is a team full of individual talent with players that can hurt you in a split second if you are not aware and not awake,” Klinsmann said, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The U.S. are facing their Ghanian opponents for the third time in a World Cup, with Ghana's team -- also known as “Black Stars” -- winning both previous games with a 2-1 score. While Gyan believes that the U.S. team will have revenge on its mind as they will not want Ghana beating them for a third consecutive time, Klinsmann sought to downplay that aspect of the encounter.
“I don't think it's revenge,” Klinsmann said. “But maybe if some players from four years ago want to get extra kick or energy out of that, it's OK with me.”
The Ghanaian team also knows that beating the same team three times in consecutive World Cups will not be easy.
“They are a different, team, different coach, different tactics altogether,” Gyan said. “Mentally, it's difficult to beat them for a third time. But we're ready to give it all for tomorrow.”
Here are the details of the Group G game between USA and Ghana to be held in the city of Natal in northeastern Brazil, on Monday:
Venue: The Dunas arena
Timing: Monday, June 16, 5 p.m. local time (6 p.m. EDT)
Probable teams, according to Reuters:
Ghana -- 12-Adam Kwarasey, 23-Harrison Afful, 20-Kwadwo Asamoah, 21-John Boye, 19-Jonathan Mensah, 5-Michael Essien, 9-Kevin-Prince Boateng, 11-Sulley Muntari, 3-Asamoah Gyan, 13-Jordan Ayew, 10-Andre Ayew
USA -- 1-Tim Howard; 23-Fabian Johnson; 5-Matt Besler; 20-Geoff Cameron; 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 15-Kyle Beckerman; 4-Michael Bradley; 13-Jermaine Jones; 11-Alejandro Bedoya; 8-Clint Dempsey; 17-Jozy Altidore