Together again, it's the United States and Ghana.
For the third time in as many trips to the World Cup, the U.S. soccer team faces off against the Black Stars of Ghana. In each of those previous two meetings, Ghana dealt the U.S. men's national team a loss that sent it home. In 2006, Ghana sent the U.S. team home from Germany with a 2-1 defeat in the final Group Stage match, thanks in part to a controversial penalty decision. In 2010, the teams were deadlocked through 90 minutes in the Round of 16 in South Africa before Ghana netted the winning goal in the third minute of extra time. Reunited at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, they will meet again at Estadio das Dunas in Natal on Monday.
"They're coming for revenge," Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan, who scored the overtime winner in 2010, told reporters on the eve of the latest installment in the growing World Cup rivalry. "Mentally they don't want us to beat them for the third time, so it's going to make the match very difficult," said Gyan. "The USA are a good side, they're a very dangerous team, but we think of ourselves first."
While the U.S. team is guaranteed two more matches in Brazil after its opener, another loss to Ghana could prove just as crushing as previous ones. Both teams were dropped into formidable Group G alongside European powers Germany and Portugal, both ranked in the top five in the latest FIFA rankings. Klinsmann's squad would seem to need points from its opener to escape the so-called "Group of Death."
"This is just an awesome moment, because that's the biggest stage you can have, where you kind of want to show that you improved, and nothing better than against the team that beat you the last two World Cups," Klinsmann told reporters on Sunday, via The Associated Press. "So this, as we mentioned before, is like start the whole World Cup with a final."
Michael Klopman also contributed updates
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There will be 5 minutes of stoppage time.
On the corner kick, the U.S. go ahead on a corner kick. Zusi sends in the ball and Brooks heads it home.
The brief spell of U.S. offense gives way to a brilliant surge from Ghana that includes a brilliant through ball, a backheel pass and a finish from Ayew in 82nd minute.
Michael Bradley ignites a promising spell of U.S. possession. The ball goes wide right to Zusi and the sequence involves Beckerman and Johnson, who dribbled into the box. Unable to get off a shot, Johnson eventually got the ball to Dempsey at the edge of the penalty area. His effort was saved without too much trouble.
The U.S. makes its third sub and Graham Zusi is on the 77th minute.
Bedoya cuts out another incisive Ghana pass to their left wing. He again looks to be in pain after getting up. The U.S. cannot keep possession and Ghana is coming in waves on the American penalty area.
Ghana brings in the veteran star, because they can.
With Ghana building an attack Jones earns a goal kick with a nice tackle near the end line.
In 69th minute, Ghana's keeper whiffed at the high corner as it flew through the six-yard box. Nobody was there in red to bang it home. Goal kick to Ghana.
Following Jones' shot, Ghana surges up the right flank by Boateng. He crosses into Gyan, whose shot is deflected wide for a corner. Boateng fires well high on the ensuing corner. Howard yapping at his defenders after that sequence.
Jermaine Jones rips a long shot that swerves and forces a save from Ghana's keeper.
The games reaches the 60-minute mark with the U.S. increasingly backed into its own side of the field. Can Tim Howard hold out that long?
59' USA 1-0: SUBSTITUTION: Boateng on, J. Ayew off (Ghana)
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Gyan with another beautiful header that forces a diving save from Howard. It's all Ghana in the last few minutes. Corner kick is cleared for a throw in.
Muntari with a blast that goes wide and then he sends in a cross to Gyan. He split Brooks and Cameron but could only head over the crossbar.
Both teams seemingly missing key passes when they develop any sort of flow. Another U.S. player, Bedoya, shows some discomfort as injury woes mount.
A poor clearance by Brooks presents Gyan with a chance. Brooks redeems himself by bodying up Gyan and drawing a foul in the U.S. penalty area.
No goals in the first minute of the second half, so it's a more moderate pace.
The second half is underway in Natal. Brooks is on for Besler, who appeared to have a hamstring injury of his own in the first half.
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Clint Dempsey just took a shin to the face which resulted in a bloody nose, but he's staying in the game. ESPN is reporting that Altidore has a strained left hamstring.
After Dempsey scored the first goal for USA, Ghana has dominated in time of possession in the first 25 minutes.