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16 June 2014
• Arena das Dunas, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte
Referee: J. Eriksson
• Attendance: 39760
A. Ayew 82'
C. Dempsey 1'
J. Brooks 86'
Right, that's all from our LIVE coverage of what turned out to be a dramatic Group G encounter. Thanks for joining us, and goodbye for now!
But what a moment for the USA and John Brooks? His first goal for his country, and it's a vital one! Klinsmann's men start the tournament with a win and are level on points with Germany.
The Black Stars will be rueing all their missed opportunities - they scored with their 17th shot of the match. Shooting and crossing practice is needed for Appiah's men.
That's it! FULL TIME and USA win 2-1 after a dramatic conclusion to the game. Ghana dominated possession and were well worth their equaliser from Andre Ayew, but substitute John Brooks is the hero after his late header which proved the difference.
90' + 5'
Bradley and Johnson exchange passes before the former looks for Johannsson with a long pass over the top, but they give it away. Is there one more chance for Ghana?
90' + 3'
Muntari sums up his night as he looks to draw things level with a spectacular effort from distance, but it's way, way over the bar and Ghana might have let this one slip.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Sulley Muntari
90' + 2'
Muntari clatters into Dempsey inside the centre circle, and rightly gets booked. He escaped one in the first half and hasn't been particularly disciplined tonight.
We'll have five minutes of added time. The way this one's gone, you sense there's one more piece of drama yet to happen...
This could go either way now. Mensah tries his luck from outside the box but can't connect, before the USA move up the other end and Jones wins a free kick around 40 yards out.
Wow. Just, wow. What an incredible few minutes! Ghana worked so hard to find the equaliser but were only level for three minutes! Is there more drama to come?
Assist Graham Zusi
Goal John Brooks
BROOKS NODS IT IN!! USA LEAD!! Would you believe it? Johnson does well to win a corner for the Americans, and Brooks charges in to meet it six yards out, powering a header across goal and into the corner. Has that won it?
Ayew almost in again! Johnson is caught out of position and Ayew is in acres of space on the left. He looks to pull back for Essien, who is screaming for the ball, but his pass isn't good enough and Beckerman cuts it out.
Assist Asamoah Gyan
Goal A. Ayew
AYEW LEVELS IT!! FINALLY THE GOAL COMES!! They've attacked and attacked down the right, but the goal comes from the left as Asamoah slides a ball through the left channel. Gyan latches on to it and plays a delightful backheel into the path of Ayew, who smashes it past Howard.
We're inside the final 10 minutes, now, and Ghana's absolute domination of possession continues. The USA are holding on, but is there going to be one more chance?
Lovely play from Johnson, who skips inside from the right-hand side and charges into the box. He's forced back but lays off for Dempsey, who turns and fires at goal with his left foot, but it's easy for Kwarasey to catch.
A change for each side, then as Zusi replaces Bedoya while Middlesbrough man Albert Adomah replaces the trigger-happy Atsu.
Asamoah fires in a rare good ball from the left, but Ayew isn't able to take advantage as it gets trapped under his feet just six yards from goal. A disappointing finish.
Graham Zusi is being readied by Klinsmann for the final 15 minutes. Something needs to change for the USA, that's for sure.
Asamoah charges down the left but Bedoya tracks back brilliantly to slide in and put the ball out for a corner. There's still a long time left for the USA to hold on to this lead, which looks very frail right now.
The pressure continues to mount but the USA continue to hold their opponents at arm's length. Jones does superbly to win a goal kick off Ayew, and Michael Essien comes on for Ghana. Can he change things?
It's a wonderful delivery from Bedoya on the left-hand side, and Kwarasey completely misjudges it. Luckily for the Ghana goalkeeper it just evades everyone and goes behind for a goal kick.
Here's a chance for a sucker punch from the USA as they win a corner at the other end. Surely not...?
Asamoah is the latest to try his luck as he fires a swerving effort in from 30 yards out, but his left-footed shot is easily gathered by Howard in the USA goal.
Great block by Cameron as he denies Gyan, who is getting plenty of chances now. Boateng does superbly to get hold of it near the goal line on the right and he finds Gyan, who sees his effort deflect over off the Stoke defender.
ATSU JUST OFF TARGET!! He likes to have a shot, this one. The midfielder works some space 20 yards out and has Opare out wide, but elects to shoot and bends a lovely effort just over the bar.
Ghana look the more likely side to score at the moment, with the USA midfield struggling to get hold of possession. The defence is holding firm for now, though.
Kevin-Prince Boateng is on for Jordan Ayew, and he looks to be going up front to support Gyan. With just over half an hour to go, can Ghana find that elusive equaliser?
HOWARD DENIES GYAN!! Ghana are really ramping up the pressure here!! Opare floats the ball forwad and Gyan leaps up high to meet it on the edge of the box, flicking a header at goal and forcing Howard to turn it behind for a corner.
GREAT CHANCE FOR GYAN!! The USA are looking shaky at the back as Ayew fires in a lovely cross from the left. Gyan loses his man and gets up to meet it, but his finish is poor as he blasts the header over the bar.
MUNTARI FLASHES WIDE!! That's the best thing he's done all match by some distance. The midfielder collects the ball 35 yards out, takes a touch, and drills a left-footed effort which swerves just wide of Howard's post.
Jones escapes with the ball after a poor touch and slides it into the path of Dempsey, who finds Beasley charging into the area, but Boye stands firm to win possession back for Ghana.
We're back to the familiar pattern of Ghanaian possession inside the USA half. It's spread wide to Atsu, who takes on Jones and cuts in from the right before firing a left-footed effort at goal which is nowhere near the goal.
Brooks is VERY lucky to escape after completely fluffing a clearance, but he does well to muscle Gyan off the ball inside his own box before winning a free kick off the striker. A big let-off for the substitute, there.
Opare does really well to chase the ball down the right-hand side, but Jones gets back to slide in and force the ball out for a throw to the Black Stars.
Beckerman wins the ball in midfield and finds Bradley, who plays it on to Bedoya and looks to receive a return pass, but it just runs beyond him and Mensah poaches the ball back for Ghana.
Gyan is hacked down by Beckerman and Muntari has a chance to float a ball into the box, but again his delivery is not good enough as the USA comfortably hack it away.
We're back underway for the second half as the USA restart the match. John Brooks is on for Besler - possibly an injury?
Ghana are struggling to create much, so will we see them introduce any fresh faces for the second half? Be sure to join us when proceedings resume after the break.
Dempsey's is the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history and was a perfect demonstration of the striker's talents. Bradley has been superb in midfield while the central defenders have looked very comfortable so far.
That's HALF TIME and the USA are 1-0 up at the break thanks to Clint Dempsey's quick-fire opener. Ghana have had much more of the ball but look very lacklustre going forward - can they improve their creativity in the second half?
45' + 5'
WHAT A MISS BY AYEW!! Beasley is caught out of possession and Atsu is free down the right. He pulls the ball to the edge of the area, but Jordan Ayew completely scuffs his effort and the USA can deal with it comfortably.
45' + 4'
Bradley does well to intercept Asamoah's pass forward and Jones moves into the Ghana half. He slides the ball through the middle and Bradley dummies, but Johannsson doesn't read it and it runs through for Kwarasey.
45' + 2'
Handbags alert!! Muntari goes in hard on Jones, and the Ghana man is unhappy with the reaction of his counterpart. They both escape a booking but Muntari is very lucky to get away with a poorly timed challenge.
Bedoya swings in the free kick and Kwarasey takes no chances, fisting it up into the air and the ball bounces behind for a goal kick as the board goes up showing five minutes of stoppage time.
Jones and Beasley advance down the left flank before Jordan Ayew pushes it out for a throw, then Opare clumsily takes out Jones and the Americans have a chance to fire the ball into the area...
Howard launches the ball high into the Ghana half and Rabiu and Mensah end up both going for it in the air, but the Black Stars keep hold of possession as we rapidly approach the break.
Bedoya beats Asamoah to the ball and charges into the empty space on the right-hand side. He exchanges passes with Johannsson before pulling a cross back from the goal line. It's headed away, but only as far as the substitute, who scuffs a volley straight at Kwarasey.
Johannsson is penalised for a foul on Boye in the air, and Ghana have the ball inside their own half. Klinsmann's side are really struggling to keep possession for long periods.
Atsu pushes down the right and cuts on to his left foot before swinging in a cross. Gyan does well to get on the end of it but can't divert his header at goal as it flies high over the bar.
Kwarasey shanks a clearance straight to Johnson on the far side, but the USA can't make the most of the attack as it breaks down far too easily.
Beasley takes a throw short inside his own half as the USA look to lift off the pressure. He's had a busy night on that flank so far, so could probably do with some respite.
We've resumed the action at last, with the USA down to 10 men as Dempsey continues to receive treatment. Just 10 minutes to go until the break - is there a way back for Ghana?
Ouch again! This time Dempsey's taken a nasty blow as Boye catches the striker square in the face with a wayward leg. The American's down receiving treatment with a fair bit of blood coming from his nose.
GYAN TESTS HOWARD!! Good save from the American, who gets down low to save after Gyan does really well to cut in from the left and bend a right-footed effort towards the far corner.
Ghana are in complete control of possession at the moment, but haven't fashioned a clear-cut chance as yet. The delivery has been disappointing so far.
Yellow Card Mohammed Rabiu
Ouch...Beckerman is on the receiving end this time as Rabiu clatters into the American in the air. The card is straight out of the referee's pocket and we have the first booking of the match.
ATSU JUST WIDE!! Ghana are getting closer, here, after Muntari is taken out by Beckerman but play goes on, and Atsu swings a first-time effort just wide of goal from 20 yards. So close!
BESLER OVER HIS OWN BAR!! Opare pops up on the right flank and swings in an early low cross. Besler is first to it but he slices the clearance just over his own goal, much to his - and Tim Howard's - relief.
Bedoya receives the ball from Bradley and is quickly closed down by two white shirts, but he manages to play a one-two with Dempsey before firing a 35-yard effort well wide of goal.
Oof...Jordan Ayew is possibly lucky to escape a booking after sliding in late on Beckerman, but the Ghana man just gets a telling off from the referee, who keeps his cards in his pocket.
Ghana win a corner and Muntari floats it towards the far post. Boye is there to meet it but he heads it down and the ball bounces behind for a goal kick.
Altidore is stretchered off and RZ striker Aron Johannsson replaces him. That's devastating for the Sunderland man, who may not feature again in this tournament.
Wonderful play from Bradley, who wins the ball in his own half before pinging a 50-yard pass over the top for Altidore. The striker chases but pulls up with what looks like a hamstring injury - that sadly looks like his World Cup might be over.
GREAT CHANCE FOR ALTIDORE!! Bedoya slides a wonderful pass down the right for Johnson, who is in plenty of space and fires a low cross into the box. Altidore takes a tough before taking a shot, but there are two white shirts in the way and Ghana survive.
Jordan Ayew is angry as the whistle goes for a foul by the Ghana man on Besler. He had turned the defender well but is judged to have pulled the American's shirt, and they have a free kick.
There's plenty of noise inside the stadium - looks like the Ghana fans aren't too disheartened by that incredibly early goal. Bradley, meanwhile, concedes a free kick inside the Ghana half and they have possession once again.
GREAT GOALKEEPING FROM HOWARD!! The American had to get that right! Atsu slides a wonderful pass through the USA defence and Gyan races to meet it, but Howard charges off his line to slide in and take the ball away from the striker.
Ghana have a throw inside the USA half and Opare is forced to go backwards, but the Black Stars still have possession and are slowly probing for a way back into this.
Howard shanks a goal kick straight out for a throw, prompting the USA shot-stopper to smack himself on the head as punishment. Ghana are slowly ramping up the pressure.
Ghana are starting to see more of the ball now, and Gyan looks for Jordan Ayew down the left-hand side, but Cameron watches it well before hacking it out of play for a throw.
That wasn't the fastest goal at a World Cup finals - Hakan Sukur netted after 12 seconds for Turkey against South Korea in 2002. Still, not bad though...
Jones is causing all sorts of problems down the left and he takes on Opare before looking to flick it inside for Dempsey, who tries to help it on to Altidore but Ghana clear. They burst up the other end through Gyan, who looks for Jordan Ayew with a dangerous cross but Howard claims well.
That's a disappointing set piece from the Black Stars, as Muntari's ball is fired low towards the box. Boye tries to make the best of it but can only flick the ball behind for a goal kick.
Chance for Ghana, here, as Andre Ayew is brought down in midfield, and Muntari is lining this one up to fire it into the box...
The USA have another chance to come forward as Jones charges down the left-hand side. He looks to square it towards Bradley but it's behind his team-mate and Andre Ayew is able to come away with it.
Well, what a start! That's a fantastic opening for Klinsmann's side but a bitter blow for Ghana, who were completely caught out.
Goal Clint Dempsey
DEMPSEY SCORES AFTER 31 SECONDS!! INCREDIBLE!! The USA start incredibly well as Jones flicks the ball infield to Dempsey, who skips inside Boye and steers the ball across goal and in off the far post. What a start!
The teams are out of the tunnel and we've had the anthems - just a few minutes until kick-off now. Can either side join Germany on three points after this evening?
The Americans, meanwhile, have only kept two clean sheets in their last 23 World Cup matches but won a national record 12 straight matches in 2013 and are on good form coming into these finals.
Ghana will fancy their chances tonight - four of their last nine World Cup goals have come against their opponents and they have beaten them 2-1 in the last two tournaments.
Jurgen Klinsmann names Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore up front for the USA, who will be desperate to get off to a winning start. The German says he has booked his flight home after the final, so he's clearly in confident mood ahead of his side's opener.
Asamoah Gyan leads the line for the Black Stars tonight, then. The former Sunderland striker has 40 goals for his country and will be keen to test Tim Howard in the opposing goal this evening. Michael Essien and Kevin-Prince Boateng have to make do with starting on the bench.
USA subs: Rimando, Davis, Guzan, Wondolo, Chandl, Gonzale, Zusi, Disker, Johanns, Brooks, Yedlin, Green.
USA (4-4-2): Howard; Johnson, Besler, Cameron, Beasley; Bedoya, Bradley, Jones, Beckerman; Dempsey, Altidore.
Ghana subs: Boateng, Essien, Adomah, Wakaso, Afful, Badu, Dauda, Inkoom, Adams, Acquah, Waris, Sumaila.
Ghana (4-2-3-1): Kwarasey; Opare, Mensah, Boye, Asamoah; Muntari, Rabiu; J. Ayew, Atsu, A. Ayew; Gyan.
The line-ups have been announced so let's bring you the teams, starting with the African side...
Hello and welcome to LIVE coverage of the Group G fixture between Ghana and the USA in Natal. Germany cruised to a 4-0 win over Portugal in the same group earlier today, so who can take advantage in this one and give themselves a good chance of getting out of the group?
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