Fifa World Cup 2014

Americans to set record straight with Ghana's Black Stars

Juergen Klinsmann's team seek to avenge two losses against Ghana in a 'must-win' encounter

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 June, 2014, 8:44pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 June, 2014, 8:44pm

Notions of righting wrongs and exacting revenge will add an extra pinch of spice when Ghana take on the United States today in a group G match that looks like a must win for both teams.

With encounters against Germany and Portugal to come for both teams in arguably the toughest first-round group, anything less than the full three points at the Dunas arena could be fatal to their hopes of a spot in the last 16.

Ghana lit up the last World Cup in South Africa when they came within one missed penalty of being the first African team to reach the last four after Luis Suarez's infamous handball in the quarter-final against Uruguay.

It's not going to be easy. We have to make sure our players are playing their roles well
Kwesi Appiah

With big name players like Michael Essien, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Asamoah Gyan back on board, Ghana have arrived in Brazil confident they can right what they see as the injustice of their home continent exit.

The United States' last two World Cup campaigns have both been ended by the Black Stars, so Juergen Klinsmann's team will also feel they have a record to set straight.

At their slick best, as they were in South Africa and when they thrashed South Korea 4-0 in Miami in their final warm-up last week, Ghana are an intimidating prospect for any side.

Defeats to Zambia and Burkina Faso in the semi-finals of the last two African Cup of Nations, however, are perhaps indicative of a team that lets the pressure of the occasion get to them.

Having predicted his team could reach the last four in Brazil after an impressive qualifying campaign, coach Kwesi Appiah has been trying to pour a little cold water on expectations back home.

"The United States are a very, very good team," Appiah told the Ghana FA website.

"It's not going to be easy. We have to make sure our players are playing their roles well. We hope to give them a very good game."

Klinsmann, a World Cup winner as a player in 1990, has similarly tried to add a dose of realism to American ideas of what his team, with a Fifa world ranking of 13, can do in Brazil.

But the German equally has no time for pessimism, and after wins over Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria in warm-ups his team will not lack in confidence.

"We don't look at ourselves as underdogs," he said. "We are not. We are going to take the game to Ghana and they will take it to us and it will be an exciting game and then we go from there."

The match is likely to be won and lost in the heart of midfield where Essien and Sulley Muntari will take on Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones and no quarter should be expected.

How Klinsmann's team line up is matter of some conjecture.