The last USA-Ghana World Cup match was not technically an elimination game. Yet the USA-Ghana match in 2006 ended the USA’s World Cup hopes in round one. Of course, the Americans almost had the same thing happen this year, before Landon Donovan bailed them out against Algeria. Now, not only is the U.S. through to the knockout round, there are dreams of getting to the quarterfinals or even beyond. Yet Ghana is in the way in a true elimination match this time, as the latest USA-Ghana game could be a huge disappointment, or the next great step forward.
It has only been 72 hours since Donovan’s now legendary winner against Algeria, which truly changed everything for American soccer. A tie would have knocked them out, and put them through four years of regret, misery, and complaints of being robbed by officials. However, the win is fueling greater hopes than ever for the squad heading into today.
The USA-Ghana World Cup 2010 second round match is crucial for the future. For all the drama and heroics thus far, it would be a step back for America to lose this game. If they cannot match their 2002 quarterfinal appearance, then they did not truly take a step forward this year. A loss today would make the Donovan goal a mere stay of execution, rather than the start of something special.
America is actually favored in a World Cup knockout game for the first time, yet the USA-Ghana matchup is no sure thing. Ghana eliminated them from group play in 2006, and is looking to take a giant step forward themselves. They are the last hope for African soccer in this tournament, so they are carrying the hopes of an entire continent as well.
Playing as a favorite is still uncharted territory for the U.S. team. They were favored against Slovenia and Algeria, yet needed heroics to salvage a tie and a win. For the sake of their nerves, and the growing American fan base, they could use an easier victory today.
Heading into the USA-Ghana showdown, the Americans only had three days to recover after their draining win. But if they win today, they will have almost a full week of rest, before taking on Uruguay on Friday.
Since this side of the draw doesn’t have many superpowers, some are beginning to dream of a semifinals appearance, at the least. Still, if the USA-Ghana battle goes against the U.S., after the breaks they got to get here, then American soccer truly isn’t ready to move up.
The USA-Ghana match has a lot of high expectations for both nations, as they try to take a big step towards the world’s elite. They will take the field at 2:30 pm est on ABC.
The Guardian- “World Cup 2010: USA v Ghana – live”
New York Times- “The Luck of the Draw Now Works for the U.S.”