Has the United States found the antidote to shake off the ghost of a perennial enemy?
The Americans shocking victory over their two-time nemesis, Ghana may have answered the question as substitute John Brooks made that certain with a late goal in their World Cup match last Monday.
Brooks, making his first appearance in an official FIFA tournament, grabbed a late winner to make sure that Ghana’s stubbornness was put to rest, gave the Americans a chance for the knockout stage.
Monday’s clash at the Estadio das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, was the first match in the zone, described as the Group of Death.
With the victory, the Americans got their revenge for double losses that Ghana caused in their two previous World Cup engagements.
The American’s announced they were a breed with a different option in 29 seconds when skipper Clint Dempsey scored one of the fastest goals in World Cup history, in fact the sixth but Ghana’s Andre Ayew snatched the equalizer in the 82nd minute.
Ghana’s equalizer came in style. Asamoah Gyan sent a pass to Ayew, who received the pass before hitting the ball home with his left foot.
Ghana thereafter went full blast and exerted enormous pressure on the Americans as they desperately searched for the second goal till Brooks’ header changed the direction of the game to give the Americans a deserving victory.
Though the Americans came out winners, it was clear that the hostility between the two nations would not end in this competition.
The Americans cannot easily forget so soon how much they have come, this time to be one of the contenders in a highly touted group.
In the World Cup of 2006 and 2010, the Black Stars eliminated the United States in the group of 16, which was during the knockout stage.
The Black Stars, now finding themselves in a difficult position will take on Germany on Saturday and Ghana cannot afford to lose, especially so when the Americans will be playing crest fallen Portugal, where a win or a draw is all that they would need.
But with Germany in a devastating form, crushing Portugal 5-1 in their opening match, Ghanaian jujuman, Kwaku Bonsam who claimed he was responsible for Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo’s recent injury might be find his career in danger if the Black Stars’ fortunes collapse against Germany.
American Coach Jurgen Klinsmann told journalists after the match that he knew the U.S. would have chances to win the match, even after giving up the tying goal.
He said: “I said to the bench a few minutes before our winner 'We are going to get some chances—we need to push and grind it out.' We trained over and over on set pieces and it was well deserved.
“We have a great spirit and fight until the last minute. It was a grind but it was a wonderful one at the end of the day. There is stuff we need to improve. We had problems with keeping the ball.”
Ghana coach James Kwesi Appiah lamented his team's missed chances, telling FIFA.com: “All I can say is that it was a very tough game and when you play at this high level any little mistake can cost you dearly. We had a lot of the ball and created a lot of chances, but we didn’t make the most of our chances, but USA took theirs.
“It’s not going to be easy to qualify for the group, but we’ll give everything to do just that. We’re going to have to play well against Germany and I know we’ll give them a good game.”