Plenty to play for US, Ghana

Plenty to play for US, Ghana

Notions of righting wrongs and exacting revenge will add an extra pinch of spice when Ghana take on the United States on Monday in a World Cup 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 becoming the first African team to reach the last four after Luis Suarez's infamous handball in the quarterfinal against Uruguay.

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 exit on their home continent.

The United States' last two World Cup campaigns have both been ended by the Black Stars so Jurgen 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 sem-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 said. "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, ranked 13th in the world by FIFA, can do in Brazil.

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

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 on either side.

Squads: Ghana: 1. Stephen Adams, 2. Samuel Inkoom, 3. Asamoah Gyan, 4. Daniel Opare, 5. Michael Essien, 6. Acquah Afriyie, 7. Christian Atsu, 8. Emmanuel Badu, 9. Kevin Prince Boateng, 10. Andre Ayew, 11. Sulley Muntari, 12. Adam Kwarasey, 13. Jordan Ayew, 14. Albert Adomah, 15. Rashid Sumaila, 16. Fatawu Dauda, 17. Mohammed Rabiu, 18. Majeed Waris, 19. Jonathan Mensah, 20. Kwadwo Asamoah, 21. John Boye, 22. Mubarak Wakaso, 23. Harrison Afful.

USA: 1. Tim Howard, 2. DeAndre Yedlin, 3. Omar Gonzalez, 4. Michael Bradley, 5. Mass Besler, 6. John Brooks, 7. DaMarcus Beasley, 8. Clint Dempsey, 9. Aron Johannson 10. Mix Diskerud, 11. Alejandro Bedoya, 12. brad Guzan, 13. Jermaine Jones, 14. Brad Davis, 15. Kyle Beckerman, 16. Julian Green, 17. Jozy Altidore, 18. Chris Wondolowski, 19. Graham Zusi, 20. Geoff Cameron, 21. Timmy Chandler, 22. Nick Rimando, 23. Fabian Johnson.