Welcome to The Inquisitr’s minute-by-minute commentary for USA vs Ghana. Feel free to share predictions, views, declarations of love, and abuse of my HORRENDOUS BIAS in the comments section, and don’t forget to hit F5 for updates as they happen!
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Preamble: Thanks to the sheer ineptitude of France and (to a lesser extent) England, Team USA have found themselves with a rather friendly-looking draw in the last 16 of World Cup 2010. Uruguay await the winners of this match, and while the South Americans have been impressive so far in this tournament, there will be stronger oppositon for a place in the semi-finals.
But look, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Before Uruguay, there’s the obstacle of Ghana, a tough, technically efficient outfit who, lest we forget, ended the USA’s stay at the 2006 World Cup (see above). Plus, as the sole African team left, they’ll have the vuvuzelas on their side.
Teams: UNITED STATES: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 15-Jay DeMerit, 12-Jonathan Bornstein, 3-Carlos Bocanegra; 10-Landon Donovan, 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Ricardo Clark, 8-Clint Dempsey; 17-Jozy Altidore, 20-Robbie Findley.
GHANA: 22-Richard Kingson; 4-John Pantsil, 8-Jonathan Mensah, 5-John Mensah, 2-Hans Sarpei; 6-Anthony Annan, 7-Samuel Inkoom, 23-Kevin-Prince Boateng, 13-Dede Ayew; 21-Kwadwo Asamoah, 3-Asamoah Gyan.
Whistleblower: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)
Chops and changes: Bob Bradley drops Maurice Edu for Ricardo Clark in the US midfield, while Robbie Findley returns from his one-match ban, sending poor old Herculez Gomes to the bench. On the Ghanaian side, defender Samuel Inkoom replaces the magnificently monikered Prince Tagoe.
Here on British TV, not a word is being uttered about USA or Ghana – the hype about England vs Germany is all-consuming. Oh, back to tonight’s game now, and presenter Jim Rosenthal calls USA “an established football power,” then reveals – completely irrelevantly – that Bill Clinton is in the crowd at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
Reckless prediction: I’m calling it people: 2-1 to USA. And with that, the Greenhough curse is placed.
The teams are out and The Star-Spangled Banner is going. Team USA looking reasonably confident down there, one hand on the shoulder of the player next to them, another on the chest. They look more assured than my English boys did before Slovenia. Did you see Gerrard? White as a sheet.
Peep peep! And we’re underway, USA in white, Ghana in red with hints of yellow. Ghana kick off right to left.
1st minute A break down the left by Ghana is intercepted by the US, but comes to nothing.
2nd minute Donovan plays a ball low across the six-yard box, but it’s cleared. Interesting fact there from the commentators: USA have led a game for only three minutes in this World Cup. Heh.
4th minute Inkoom plays a cross-shot across the box from forty yards out, but nobody attacks it.
5th minute Dempsey stings the fingers of Kingson from 30 yards. Safe for Ghana, but the first shot goes to USA.
5th minute GOAL! USA 0-1 Ghana (Boateng) Oh dear. Kevin-Prince Boateng robs Clark in midfield, strides forward past Altidore all too easily, and fires Ghana ahead with a low strike from just under 20 yards. That’s a fine finish, though I suspect Howard also left a little too much space at his near post.
6th minute Clark, no doubt supremely peeved about his part in the Ghanaian goal, gets booked for a lunging foul. Not the best two minutes for him, eh?
7th minute Ghana have started strongly here, snapping away at the opposition whenever they have possession. The US look a little shell-shocked.
10th minute Ghana now confidently stroking the ball around midfield, before putting it wide to Ayew on the left, who miscontrols it. US throw-in.
12th minute More space for Ayew on the left. He centers the ball to Boateng, who blasts a shot high, high over Tim Howard’s bar. Nervous stuff right now. The camera pans to Bill Clinton, sitting next to, er, Mick Jagger.
14th minute Ghana still keeping possession far too easily here, with the USA not pressing enough. I’ve forgotten what Ghana’s half of the pitch looks like.
15th minute Ah, that’s what it looks like! Donovan breaks for the USA, but his pass through to Findley isn’t accurate enough.
16th minute Dempsey chips a ball over the Ghana defence to Jozy Altidore, but it’s a little strong. Ghana goal-kick, but slightly better from the US.
17th minute Ayew is cynically taken down by Cherundolo 25 yards away form the American goal, and Cherundolo gets a deserved yellow card. Nasty, that.
18th minute Here’s the free-kick … and Gyan bends it like a certain US import I could mention, Howard punches clear.
19th minute The US need to wake up a bit here, I’m afraid to say.
20th minute And the US break away, with Altidore, Findley, and Donovan! Alas, Altidore runs into Ghanaian traffic.
22nd minute Oooh, US free-kick on the right after Boateng brings down Donovan. Donovan steps up to take it, but a Ghana head clears it from the area. The Jabulani ball is worked over to the left flank, and Bradley blasts a low cross … straight into Kingson’s hands.
24th minute An intricate web of passes from the USA midfield sadly produces zilch. Ghana keeping their shape well. Their results so far – 1-0, 0-1, and 1-1 – suggest they’re not a team who are easy to break down.
25th minute Now it’s Ghana’s turn to pass the ball about, and Inkoom crosses high into the US box, where Bradley heads clear for a corner.
27th minute “Ghana clearly believe they belong here,” patronises Peter Drury on ITV.
28th minute And how about that – on the sidelines Maurice Edu is already stripping off for the US. A first-half substitute: not normally a sign that things are going swimmingly. I think Clark may be coming off here.
29th minute A swift daisy-cutter from 30 yards from Boateng, but it’s easy for Howard. Boateng’s looking sharp tonight.
30th minute And here comes our substitute. Ricardo Clark, who lost the ball for he Ghana goal, is indeed replaced by Maurice Edu. Not a good evening for poor Clark, who gets a consoling head pat from Bob Bradley.
32nd minute Ghana are coasting here. They’re quick to press and decent in possession. The final pass from the USA just hasn’t appeared yet tonight. It’s been a bitty, error-strewn game so far, but most of those errors are American.
34th minute Findley with a real chance! He’s released down the right channel by Dempsey, but his low shot from 15 yards is saved well by Kingson’s legs. First big USA chance there. The ball is cleared, worked back into the box, but ends up safe in Kingson’s hands.
36th minute That could have been two for Ghana: Asamoah squeezes past DeMerit and smashes a shot from six yards. It’s well saved by Howard.
38th minute A US free-kick from 45 yards is whipped in by Donovan, but cleared by Jonathan Mensah.
39th minute Ghana continue to stifle the US whenever they’re in possession. Bradley dinks a chip toward Donovan who’s flying in from the right, but it overruns.
41st minute Ball possession so far: USA 46% – 54% Ghana
42nd minute Bradley plays a ball short in midfield, and suddenly Ghana are away. Ayew has the ball on the left and turns it back to Asamoah who balloons it over the bar from a ridiculous position. Wasteful.
43rd minute A US corner is taken by Donovan, but is again headed clear by the dominant Ghana defense.
45th minute The US are passing the ball around in front of the Ghanaian area, and I count nine Ghana players behind the ball.
PEEP PEEP PEEEEP! And that’s half-time. USA 0-1 Ghana, and it’s hard to say that Ghana’s lead isn’t deserved after a display of discipline and not a little tenacity. The Ghana players assemble in a huddle, the US team trudges off to a Bob Bradley bollocking, and I’m off for a Coke Zero. I know, I’m pretty wild like that.
Can’t help but feel that Dempsey and Donovan need to get a little more involved in the second half if the US are going to penetrate Ghana more.
That Ghanaian goal, by the way, was their first in this World Cup from open play. Their previous two goals were penalties.
ITV showing an advert for James Corden’s World Cup Live show. What a complete plum this man is. Anyway, the teams are out!
Ch-ch-ch-ch-anges: Bob Bradley takes off Robbie Findley and puts on Benny Feilhaber for the second half. Will Dempsey now play as the second striker?
46th minute And immediately a fantastic chance for Feilhaber! Dempsey plays it into Donovan, he touches it onto Feilhaber, and Kingson rushes out to get a left hand to the substitute’s attempt. I think Feilhaber’s first touch was a tad heavy there, but a great start from the US, and possibly their best chance.
48th minute The USA look officially Up For This™ now.
49th minute Ghana look to slow things down, pinging the ball around midfield a bit.
50th minute A Ghana throw-in high up the field near the US area ends up at the feet of Ayew, and he plays in Boateng down the left. Boateng is all free but selfishly takes an unrealistic shot and hoofs it over.
52nd minute Gyan goes for goal from 30 yards, but Howard has it covered. Ghana are striking from anywhere here, largely unsuccessfully.
53rd minute Donovan curls a cross to the back stick, but Dempsey is just short. That was a great ball in, just between goalkeeper and defenders.
55th minute Dempsey tears down the Ghanaian left, but is tackled cleanly before he can cross. The less said about the US corner-kick, the better.
57th minute Much more of the play is now in Ghana’s half.
58th minute And just as I say that, Ayew breaks away down the right for Ghana, in about four square miles of space. Fortunately, the chance comes to nothing. Understandably, this is a far more open game now.
59th minute Altidore knocks the ball down to Feilhaber, 20 yards out, but Mensah tackles him on the edge of the area. Mild penalty appeal from the US players, but that’s not going to be given.
60th minute BUT THAT IS! PENALTY TO USA! Dempsey is brought down by Johnathan Mensah, and that’s an obvious call for the ref, a real stonewaller.Mensah is booked, and will miss the quarter-final if Ghana get there.
62nd minute GOAL! USA 1-1 Ghana (Donovan) Up steps Donovan … and it’s in. Blasted off the inside of the post. Immaculate penalty. You didn’t think he’d miss, did you?
64th minute That’s Donovan’s third World Cup 2010 goal in as many games, putting him equal top of the goalscorer’s chart. How will Ghana respond?
65th minute This is turning into a fascinating game for a neutral like me. I imagine Americans and Ghanaians are finding it rather more nail-biting.
66th minute Jozy Altidore is suddenly clean through, but Kingson, who’s been been very good in Ghana’s goal, rushes out and takes the ball away with his feet. Altidore’s first touch wasn’t great there.
67th minute Things are licking along at a pace now. A Ghana free-kick from 30 yards ends up safe in Howard’s hands.
68th minute Up in the stands, Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger looked pretty pleased with that penalty.
70th minute Edu is played in by a ball from Altidore, but Pantsil blocks him out.
71st minute US free-kick near the halfway line is cleared by Jonathan Mensah, and falls to Bradley, whose shot from 25 yards is blocked.
72nd minute Ghana substitution: 19-year-old Lee Addy comes on from Hans Sarpei, who looks like he’s picked up a knock.
74th minute Ghana are struggling to keep the ball for long here, much like the US in the first half. But there’s a ball into the US area … and Gyan heads over.
76th minute Good chance right there. Altidore plays a neat through ball to Bradley, who finds himself onside and clear on Kingson’s goal. The low shot is disappointing though, and Kingson smothers it.
77th minute Ghana make a substitution: Steven Appiah, formerly of Juventus but now of the far less glamorous Bologna, is on for Kevin-Prince Boateng, who’s tweaked a hamstring.
78th minute Gyan crosses a beautiful ball into the US box, but it’s cleared, albeit rather frantically. Buttocks clenching everywhere here.
80th minute So, so close. Bocanegra’s long hoof downfield finds Altidore, who seems to be pulled down by Mensah as he drags his shot just wide from ten yards.
81st minute US win a free-kick. For the 435th time in this game, ITV’s Peter Drury reminds us that the USA “come to life” in the last ten minutes of a match. With exquisite comic timing, Dempsey’s free-kick limply hits the defensive wall.
82nd minute Appiah crosses, and Gyan skims a header a few yards wide for Ghana.
84th minute Donovan cuts inside from the right and shoots from 20 yards, but it’s blocked. Both sides still going for a winner here. Nice to see, especially after all the cagey football there’s been in this tournament.
86th minute Ball possession dead even so far: 50% – 50%
87th minute Appiah plays a ball down the left touchline for Gyan, but he can’t quite keep it in. Things quietening down now, despite what I wrote all of three minutes ago.
89th minute A late Ghana flourish? A cross into the box, but DeMerit clears with his head. Gyan is down after getting a foot in the chest from DeMerit, so the US kick the ball out.
90th minute Three minutes of added time. Ayew gets booked for bringing down Altidore in a tangle of legs. A shame – that looked accidental, and Ayew will now miss the quarter-finals if Ghana get there.
92nd minute The game seems dead now. Roll on, extra-time.
93rd minute Or maybe not. Ghana corner! The vuvuzelas are blaring louder than ever. Technically, time should be up now.
94th minute The corner comes to nothing, and that’s it. It’s USA 1-1 Ghana, and for the first time in South Africa we’re having EXTRA-TIME!
Time for another Coke Zero, methinks.
Both teams in huddles as they prepare to kick off 30 minutes of extra-time.
91st minute (ET) A substitution for the US; Altidore off, Herculez Gomes on. A straight swap.
93rd minute (ET) Howard and Kingson exchange goal-kicks.
93rd minute (ET) GOAL! USA 1-2 Ghana (Gyan) Oh my, a disaster for the US. A long ball from the back leaves DeMerit in a race with Gyan. Gyan wins, keeps his balance, and smashes it past Tim Howard. Gyan joins Donovan and a load of other players on three goals for this tournament. Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger look thoroughly unimpressed.
95th minute (ET) So where to now for the US? Well, they’ve a free-kick about 45 yards from goal …
96th minute (ET) … and it’s played down the left for Bornstein. He crosses, it gets nodded down for Feilhaber, but his right-foot shot is blocked in a packed goalmouth.
98th minute (ET) The ensuing Donovan corner-kick is comfortably cleared.
99th minute (ET) And now a Ghana corner, which also produces nothing. Having said that, Ghana’s tail looks up here.
101st minute (ET) USA are having to commit men forward now, and gaps are beginning to appear at the back.
102nd minute (ET) Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass. Ghana are looking the more confident here by a distance. The Americans are going to have to dig in.
103rd minute (ET) The USA finally intercept Ghana’s tidy, short passing and break forward, only for Donovan to almost immediately give the ball away cheaply. Ouch.
104th minute (ET) A US free-kick finds its way into the Ghana box, but the cross is too high for Edu, who ends up on his backside.
AND THAT’S HALF-TIME IN EXTRA-TIME“The Ghana of the first half have rematerialized in the first half of extra-time,” coos ITV’s Adrian Chiles. Hard to disagree; Ghana have been impressive again.
106th minute (ET) Back underway immediately, and now the USA really need something.
107th minute (ET) Bit of gamesmanship from Ghana, as Appiah stays down after an innocuous tackle. Bocanegra is not impressed, and nor, for what it’s worth, am I.
108th minute (ET) Free-kick for US on the corner of the Ghana area. It’s curled in by Donovan, and punched clear by Kingson, who really has been excellent for Ghana.
110th minute (ET) It’s back in the Ghana half. Inkoom has gone down, but the Americans play on. The crowd boos, but if you ask me Inkoom is clearly wasting time here. There’s nothing wrong with him. He looks perky enough as he’s taken off on a stretcher, sitting upright.
112th minute (ET)Miraculously, Inkoom hasn’t died and is now back on the field. Here’s a Ghana substitution to milk some more time, and oh, it’s Inkoom off, who is replaced by Sulley Muntari.
113rd minute (ET) USA win a corner. Cherundolo delivers, but it’s disappointing. Ghana holding fast.
114th minute (ET) The ball breaks free in the Ghana area, but finds its way to Kingson.
115th minute (ET) Ghana charge forwards, and win a corner. There’s literally about three Ghana players in the US area for this.
116th minute (ET) It’s looking bleaker and bleaker here for the USA, with Ghana looking solid. Vuvuzelas really blasting out now. ITV viewers award Gyan with the Man of the Match award. That’s probably deserved – he took his goal well and caused problems for the American back line.
117th minute (ET) Predictably, Ghana are now playing the ball deep into the corners of the US half.
119th minute (ET) Ghana are on the brink of a quarter-final here, but a cross deep into the Ghana box sees Dempsey blast a shot goalwards, onl for Johnathan Mensah to throw himself in the way.
120th minute (ET) US corner-kick, and Howard is up! Kingson punches clear, but the ball is back in the mixer, and Kingson claims again.
121st minute (ET) A Dempsey header flashes wide of the far post.
AND IT FINISHES USA 1-2 GHANA! Ghana go through to their very first World Cup quarter-final and Africa is still represented at its own World Cup. US players sit disconsolately on the pitch as the Ghana bench rushes on to celebrate with the players. For now, the World Cup is over for the US.
Not the result most of you will have wanted, but thanks for joining me, and HERE’S TO WORLD CUP 2014!