[Final score: Ghana 2, USA 1
Ghana advances to the quarterfinals, where they will face Uruguay. An African team continues on in this the first African World Cup.]
The one we’ve all been waiting for (well, for all of the last 3 days, since The Goal). Again, we won’t be doing min-by-min, play-by-play commentary (for that, we recommend the Guardian or NYT’s Goal blog).
We’re about 20m from kickoff. Starting lineups below, live entries coming up after the jump. We’re going to make a run around the corner to our local Brooklyn bodega for some refreshments, and to look in on the local soccer scene (Scopello, Mullanes, Der Schwarzer Kolner). We should be back on by kickoff..
Unitd 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.
Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)
It’s a tough one to call. I’ve missed two of Ghana’s matches, but am reliably informed they play “lovely football” but tend to lose their heads in the final third – a fact apparently borne out by the fact that their only two scores in the tournament to date have come from the penalty spot. The US, on the other hand, have been fairly impressive on fairly limited resources and in Landon Donovan have one of the players of the tournament thus far.
I expect the Americans to dominate tonight, with Ghana content to sit back, absorb whatever is thrown at them and attack on the break. The bookies make the USA 6-4 favourites, with Ghana 9-4 and the draw 11-5 (for normal time only). The USA are 4-6 favourites to qualify for the quarter-finals by hook or by crook, while Ghana are 6-5.
If I was you I’d have a bet on either team winning this on penalties, because there’s a late-night lock-in pint with my name on it waiting to make my acquaintance in my local and it would be remiss of Fate to pass up the opportunity to keep me away from it for as long as possible at the first available opportunity in this World Cup.