Ghana v USA – Black Stars Rising
Ghana v USA
Ghana and the USA will attempt to steal a march on their more fancied group G opponents when the pair meet on Monday.
Ghana ended a run of three games without a win – and four without a goal – when they thrashed South Korea 4-0 in their final World Cup warm-up game thanks to Jordan Ayew’s stunning hat-trick and another form Asamoah Gyan. Their struggle for goals was evident for all to see in their prior games as they scored just two in their previous five resulting in losses to both Holland and Montenegro and a penalty shootout defeat to Libya in the final of the African Nations Cup. They stormed past Egypt with a remarkable 7-3 aggregate win – including a 6-1 victory at home – to reach the tournament and will be aiming to emulate their fantastic showing in South Africa four years ago – when they were a penalty kick away from reaching the semi-finals.
After three wins on the bounce, Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States team will be in confident mood going into their World Cup opener. Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore ended a 28-game scoring drought with a brace to earn victory over Nigeria in their last game and matched his entire tally in club football last season in the process. Klinsmann’s charges have lost just one of their past six – a 2-0 defeat to Ukraine – and topped their qualification group ahead of Costa Rica and Honduras to reach the finals comfortably, earning seven wins from their ten games.
A potent attacking trio of Gyan, Ayew and former Portsmouth attacker Kevin-Prince Boateng will offer the main threat for Ghana while AC Milan duo Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari will anchor the midfield. Juventus playmaker Kwadwo Asamoah is arguably their most influential player and will give the Ghanaians a creative spark.
A host of Premier League players past and present make up the guts of this USA team. Former Fulham hero Clint Dempsey has more than 100 caps and will line out in m,idfield while Tim Howard will be between the posts. Former Roma midfielder Michael Bradley is likely to paly just behind Altidore and will be crucial to his side’s chances of victory.
Head to Head
This will be the third World Cup in a row which has seen these teams face off against each other with Ghana winning both of the previous encounters 2-1. Gyan scored the winner in extra-time of their last 16 encounter to earn progress to a quarter-finals berth in South Africa after Landon Donavan’s penalty had cancelled out an opener by Boateng.
Despite their decent form I can’t see the States getting anything from this game against a strong Ghana side who look to be a bit overpriced at 6/4 and are worth backing to earn a third win on the trot against these opponents.
Jordan Ayew has also found his shooting boots of late with that hat-trick against the Koreans and the Sochaux hitman is a great price at 2/1 to find the back of the net anytime while 15/2 on the first goal of the game could reap rich rewards too, particularly if he can score in the first 20 minutes and payout on the Boylesports double bubble offer.