Recapping Ghana vs USA rivalry in the World Cup

The Ghana senior national team, the Black Stars and their American counterparts will on Saturday lock horns at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut in a friendly encounter.

The game forms part of the USMNT’s preparations towards the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup but the Ghanaians will use the game to continue their team building exercise.

Ghana and the United States have become sworn rivals due to their recent hostilities in the FIFA Senior World Cup. The two nations have been locked together in three consecutive clashes – 2014, 2010 and 2006. It has always been a pleasant story for the Black Stars of Ghana until the Americans had their pound of flesh in the recent of the three meetings.

It was Tuesday, June 17, 2014; and the whole America went agog when a certain John Brooks changed the story of the ‘Ghana-USA clashes’ at the Brazil World Cup.

His late header from a corner kick was all the USA needed to silence the Ghanaians in a dramatic finale to their opening Group G game. Captain Clint Dempsey put USA ahead after just 29 seconds with the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history.

Ghana, in their bid to keep the status quo, equalized when Andre Ayew latched on to Asamoah Gyan’s back heel to fire in a leveler.

It was heading for a 1-1 draw but USA Centre-back John Brooks had other ideas as he nodded in from six yards to steal victory for USA.

That victory gave USA a measure of revenge for being knocked out of the past two World Cups by Ghana, and this victory, being the current one among the last three Ghana-USA meetings in Senior World Cups seems to have wiped away the 2006 and 2010 editions that went the way of Ghana.

A relive of Ghana's impressive runs against USA in 2006 and 2010:

It all began in June 22, 2006 in Germany when Ghana handed the Americans a painful defeat that saw them exit the 2006 World Cup after the preliminary stage.

Ghana’s Haminu Draman began the demolishing exercise after just 22 minutes of play. He notched the ball off America’s captain Claudio Reyna, ran round him on the left wing, and slotted it with his foot into the far corner for the Black Stars first goal.

But after 43 minutes, USA’s DaMarcus Beasley played Clint Dempsey in with a well-timed ball from the left, and he slammed home from his vantage point on the right side of the box for the equalizer.

The first half was almost over when luck shined on the Ghanaians. Ghana’s Razak Pimpong fell to the ground, with Oguchi Onyewu standing quite close to him, and referee Markus Merk pointed to the spot to the chagrin of the Americans.

Ghana captain Stephen Appiah tucked it away, high and to the left, as goalkeeper Kasey Keller dived the other way. That goal spelled doom for the Americans as they succumbed to the Ghanaians and got kicked out of the competition.

On Saturday June 26, 2010 in South Africa, the United States embarked on an avowed mission to revenge the painful defeat they suffered at the hands of the Black Stars in Germany 2006, but that was not to be. The Americans were bundled out of the World Cup by the Ghanaians again.

Just after five minutes of play. Ghana’s Kevin Prince Boateng put Ghana ahead. Ricardo Clark lost the ball cheaply in midfield and Boateng ventured down the left channel, as Jay DeMerit backed off him.

From about 25 yards, Boateng decided to try his luck, spearing a low drive past Tim Howard at the goalkeeper's near post. Howard had left him an acre of space to shoot into that post, putting the tin hat on a catalogue of blunders from the Americans.

But the Americans will make amends in the second half as they pushed for the equalizer in the 60th minute. Clint Dempsey nutmeg John Mensah on his way into the Ghana penalty area and was subsequently brought down by Jonathan Mensah. The referee did not hesitate and awarded a penalty to the Americans. Landon Donovan made no mistake at the spot to bring the Americans at level pegging after 62 minutes.

The game was destined for a draw but the Ghanaians had other ideas. After 93 minutes of play, Asamoah Gyan stunned the Americans with a great goal.

Gyan beat Carlos Bocanegra and Jay DeMerit in a race to a ball hoofed up from the centre by Dede Ayew. The Ghana striker raced between the two defenders, managed to stay on his feet as Bocanegra tried to shoulder him to the ground, then glanced up and blasted a left-footed shot past Tim Howard from about 15 yards.

And that did not only break the hearts of Americans but also bundled them out of the World Cup by Ghana in a second consecutive time.
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