USA vs. Ghana: Africa best turn up the heat on US World Cup soccer
Not since the USA made it to the semifinals of the inaugural World Cup in 1930 has it had such a clear chance to return. But in Ghana, the US faces a team with organization and collective grit.
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Not since the USA made it to the semifinals of the inaugural World Cup in 1930 has it had such a clear chance to return.
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In many ways, they are essentially more of the same, as though the USA were simply turning up their degree of difficulty like a volume dial, one notch at a time.
As Algeria presented many of the same challenges as Slovenia (only more so), Ghana will be a sort of Algeria 2.0. All those things at which Algeria excelled – athleticism, strength, speed, defensive discipline – Ghana does even better.
Then, most likely waiting in the wings will be Uruguay, perhaps this tournament’s king of the whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts soccer – a team on the edge of elite yet so far still pressing its nose against the shop window of soccer greatness.
Ghana, like the USA, remains a step below that but hopeful that Saturday’s game can vault it into a new soccer sphere. The most succinct way to summarize the Black Stars would be this: 1-0. They don’t score much, and they aren’t scored upon much.
They resemble nothing so much as 11 men clenched into an iron fist. In a World Cup that has seen the other top African sides drop out through a lack of organization and collective grit, Ghana has advanced precisely because it has those qualities in abundance.
In some respects, they are Africa’s anti-Africa team, sacrificing style and verve to the cause of cohesiveness and efficiency. In the first round of the World Cup, they conceded two goals in three games – one of them a spectacular German strike from 25 yards out.