News

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

12 hours ago in Sports

Stuard wins in New Orleans after playoff

14-overlay

Journeyman Brian Stuard clinched his first PGA Tour title with a gripping playoff victory over fellow American Jamie Lovemark and South Korean An Byeong-hun at the weather-plagued Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Monday.

15 hours ago in National

Conservatives in Congress urge shutdown of tax-collecting IRS

IRS1603071802493863

It's a U.S. taxpayer's dream: make the Internal Revenue Service go away, and the largest conservative group in Congress is endorsing just that.

15 hours ago in Sports, Viral Videos

It’s not ‘Regulators:’ Warren G butchers ‘Ball Game’

20-overlay-1

WATCH: The rapper messed up the first line and sang off-key.

18 hours ago in Sports

Mayweather happy in retirement but hints at ring return

mayweatherREUTERS

Mayweather quit boxing in September after accumulating a 49-0 record during a 19-year career that produced world titles in five weight divisions and earnings in excess of $800 million.

18 hours ago in National, World

Islamic State boosts attacks in response to territorial losses

isisREUTERS

Islamic State attacks have increased this year, particularly in Iraq and Syria as the group responds to substantial territorial losses, a U.S.-based analysis firm says.