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The United States (and Jurgen Klinsmann) need to beat Ghana in World Cup opening match

Published on: 12 June 2014
Jurgen Klinsmann

In the past two World Cups, the Americans have bid bitter adieu to the competition at the hands of the Black Stars, who—first in Nuremberg and then in Rustenburg—dealt the knockout blow to the USA’s tournament dreams.

To add insult to injury, the United States was also ushered out of last year’s under-20 World Cup by the Ghanaians, a third decisive defeat over the Yanks in international competition that added some varnish to Ghana’s reputation as America’s World Cup nemesis.

For this reason, while any pundit would classify Monday’s opening match in Natal between these two nations as a crucial fixture in a group alongside Portugal and Germany, the already-high stakes of the clash have been amplified by American media to an intensity that feels more like cup final than tournament opener.

Nobody feels that pressure more than US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann, who has become the most talked-about member of the American World Cup team, despite the fact that he won’t touch a ball in Brazil.

From axing leading goalscorer and sporting icon Landon Donovan to last-minute tactical upheaval to a sweeping critique of basketball star Kobe Bryant and big-money contracts in American sports, Klinsmann’s every action has been headline-making, every word seized upon by the press.

This media attention has meant a long, strange road to the World Cup for Klinsmann, who has quickly gone from media darling and lauded tactician-in-chief to a man whose pre-tournament actions have invited scepticism and even uncurbed anger—coming to a head when an ESPN presenter demanded the former German international ‘get out of America.’

The unremitting negative press may have its upside, however, as Klinsmann’s relatively untested team—featuring only five players with any World Cup experience—has been afforded the opportunity to go into Brazil out of the media’s crosshairs with the focus trained squarely on their manager.

Though largely untried in major tournaments, the squad boasts proven talent with experience across Europe’s best leagues, including Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, former Roma midfielder Michael Bradley, and forward Clint Dempsey, who tallied 50 career goals for Fulham—a core that guided the Americans to the top of England’s Group C at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The team also boasts seven dual-internationals at their first World Cup—including 19-year-old Julian Green, who made a brief cameo this year for Bayern Munich in the Champions League—and nine players from Major League Soccer, where Dempsey and Bradley now play.

The Yanks won their three warm-up matches against Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Nigeria and seem to have particularly gelled in the last friendly, moving back toward a 4-2-3-1 formation that bears more resemblance to what was deployed in qualifying.

Klinsmann has already said that the Americans won’t lift the World Cup—but they will need to win against Ghana.

Anything less would prove catastrophic to the United States’ chances in Brazil—and damaging to Klinsmann’s legacy, should he become yet another American manager undone by Ghana.


This article has 18 comment(s), give your comment
  • khem.... says:
    June 13, 2014 11:21 am
    @jerry ..u are rather suffering from illutions...which makes u a prime candidate for schizophrenia..watching US from 1986 and comparing that to 2014 football and u dont remember what happend to them in 2006 and 2010 can tell me u also have hallusinations.which makes u a second degree schizophrenic.Cant u see fear in Klinsman.?.I love US.they are good in a lot of things volleyball ,,gymnastic etc..but when it comes to soccer please give us a break..Us is gona fall.BIGTIME.....Maybe u are talking about US millitary .....i understand ur condition if soo then Ghana will fall to 5;0 as u mean....GO see a psychaitrist fast...
  • schywee says:
    June 13, 2014 11:26 am
    Looks like the "berg" ending cities donr favour US against GH, as they were twice eliminated in cites ending with berg(Nuremberg and Rustenberg..... Well let see if Natal does any better for US
  • schywee says:
    June 13, 2014 11:27 am
  • schywee says:
    June 13, 2014 11:30 am
    poor American wannabe..... Shame.. What desperacy can do...... Write like you because you suck trying to sound all american with your writings
  • schywee says:
    June 13, 2014 11:33 am
    Poor american wannabe..... Shame.. What desperacy can do...... Write like you because you suck trying to sound all american with your writings..... Drop the act and talk and write like wuatoto
  • Emma Glass says:
    June 13, 2014 04:21 am
    inform klinsmann he should better start to prepare his resignation letter. Ghana will punish them again. Amen.
  • Jerry says:
    June 13, 2014 05:10 am
    It's hard to understand Ghana fans. Either they are delusional or they are really concerned but won't admit it. I've watched the US sides closely since 1986. I know how they play, how they react to different situations. Don't say I didn't warn ahead of time, but prepare for a 4-0 or 5-0 type defeat to the US. This is not a joke, trust me.And for those with high blood pressure or heart conditions, please use caution the first 25 minutes, especially.
  • max says:
    June 12, 2014 11:46 pm
    go Ghana go Americans will cry their eyes out come Monday cos we will give a good game n we will expect more from
  • max says:
    June 12, 2014 11:48 pm
    u full of shit.....u this guy we will see about that......
  • African Consciousness says:
    June 13, 2014 12:28 am
    The best gift Klinsmann gave Ghana was dropping Donavan!
  • cofie says:
    June 12, 2014 11:25 pm
    can someone also smell fear and panick in Klinsmann?
  • max says:
    June 12, 2014 11:44 pm
    yes we will eat ur fufu but wil never vomit them....u know why? cos with the fufu we are ten times stronger than the Amerika....let me tell u dis Maddog ...our age is notin look at the faces of the American team n compare it with Ghanaian team....don't worry u better not eat cos u will shit all the food come Monday hahahhahahaa
  • Sath says:
    June 13, 2014 01:53 pm
    USA vs Ghana will be goalless or 1-1
  • Wuatoto MaddDogg says:
    June 12, 2014 09:14 pm
    LoL at all this Ghanaians y'all are gonna weep and vomit all your fufu you eat before the game because the man y'all laughin' and mockin' at will punish your over rated over aged cheating team come monday
  • Joe says:
    June 12, 2014 06:34 pm
    some one help me tell Klinsmann that he should forget of his quest being the first coach to lead USA team to win over Ghana Black Star, if that is what he want then he should forget it and make preparation for his early exit. Because Ghana is going to trash them by 2goals to nothing...
  • compliments says:
    June 12, 2014 06:44 pm
    That means klinsmann is in trouble because Ghana is beating America again.
  • wilsin says:
    June 12, 2014 06:55 pm
    US should strategies beating Germany & Portugal to move on
  • Kwabena says:
    June 12, 2014 07:06 pm
    I think I sympathize with him because with the kind of group we all have, if USA fails to beat Ghana, Klinsmann must pack up and leave Brazil. He will be fired instantly!