USA tops Ghana in opening World Cup match

USA tops Ghana in opening World Cup match

WORLD CUP: United States' Clint Dempsey celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16. Photo: Associated Press/Ricardo Mazalan

By Michael Kahn

NATAL Brazil (Reuters) – A 2-1 win against a Ghana side that knocked the United States out of the last two World Cups will mean nothing if the Americans falter in their remaining Group G games, captain Clint Dempsey said on Monday.

The U.S. were beaten by Ghana in their final group stage game in 2006 and in the last 16 four years later.

“It just so happened we had history with Ghana,” said Dempsey, who scored after 29 seconds on Monday but also suffered a broken nose.

“They pretty much knocked us out of the last two World Cups but this win means nothing unless we build on it.”

PHOTOS: USA tops Ghana in opening World Cup match | EXTRA: It seems everyone is tweeting about the World Cup

The Americans hope they can carry the momentum into their next match with Portugal in Manaus on Sunday before taking on group favorites Germany in Recife as they bid to make the last 16 for the fourth time in the last seven tournaments.

A first step was finally beating Ghana and Dempsey’s goal also marked sweet vindication for a player who helped lead the American attack in the two previous defeats against the Black Stars.

In 2006, the U.S. equalized when Dempsey scored late in the first half only for Ghana to convert a penalty minutes later to take a 2-1 lead that would send them through to the knockout rounds and the Americans home.

The Americans again fell behind in their last 16 match in South Africa in 2010 before Landon Donovan equalized from the penalty spot – only for Asamoah Gyan to split the U.S. defense in extra time and lash the winner past Tim Howard.

Despite their early lead on Monday, it looked like Gyan would once again help break American hearts when his sublime backheel set up Andre Ayew’s 83rd minute equalizer after intense Ghana pressure.

A powerful header from substitute and World Cup debutant John Brooks three minutes later, however, gave the Americans their first win over their African rivals in three attempts.

“Any team you have beaten twice will come out very strong and I believe they came out very strong and they were determined not to lose a third time,” Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah said.

(Reporting by Michael Kahn, Editing by Justin Palmer)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

HOLIDAY TV: What to watch this week


This week is packed with programs to get you in the holiday spirit.

in Entertainment

Bono, Clooney, Kardashian part of all-star campaign for AIDS

FILE - In this March 2, 2014 file photo, Bono arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. A New York City doctor says U2 singer Bono suffered multiple fractures and had to have two surgeries after his weekend bicycle accident. Orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Dean Lorich says Bono underwent a five-hour surgery on his elbow in which three plates and 18 screws were inserted on Sunday night. Bono had another surgery to repair a fracture to his left pinkie on Monday. Lorich says Bono will need therapy but a full recovery is expected.

Bono is a launching an all-star campaign featuring "once-in-a-lifetime experiences" like walking the red carpet with Meryl Streep or visiting the "Game of Thrones" set.

in Entertainment

WHAT’S ON: New on Netflix, Amazon & Hulu in December


Get your remotes ready for a new round of binge-worthy movies and TV.

in Music

Dee Snider approves of Trump’s song use


The Twisted Sister star gave Donald Trump permission to use the track during his campaign because the businessman-turned-politician represents "rebellion, speaking your mind and fighting the system."

in Entertainment

Ice-T and Coco welcome daughter Chanel Nicole


Rapper and "Law & Order" star Ice-T and wife Nicole 'Coco' Austin welcomed their first child together on Saturday.