However, with just one day before the fateful match, the feeling from Jurgen Klinsmann and his players was one of confidence and belief that the U.S. team can end the hex Ghana has had over the U.S.
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“I think our preparation has been very good. We’re excited about the opportunity to play against Ghana, a top team,” said U.S. captain Clint Dempsey. “But at the same time, if we play to the best of our ability, we have the quality that we can go far in this tournament.”
The Americans downplayed talk of seeking revenge from Ghana, and also another developing storyline: the weather in this coastal city. Torrential rain has drenched the city for much of the past week, and forecasts call for heavy thunderstorms Monday. For a U.S. team that has played in all sorts of weather, some rain isn’t likely to make a difference.
“I think for anybody that’s watched any of the games so far in the tournament — whether it was Mexico (against Cameroon) here in Natal, whether it was Ivory Coast and Japan in Recife — the weather is what it is,” midfielder Michael Bradley said. “As players, that’s not something we can control. Certainly, the game played in this stadium, the field held up really well.
“But you get to this point, you’re not worried about little details, whether the wind is blowing, whether the sun’s out. We’re just excited to get on the field.”
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“No matter what the circumstances are, no matter how the game goes, this group is ready to go the extra mile to make it happen tomorrow,” Klinsmann said. “If it is raining or it’s snowing or it’s thunder and lightning or whatever, this is about football where you play in any circumstances. If it’s wet, if it’s dry, heat, humidity, whatever. Both teams are on the field and they will give their best. We’re not worried about that stuff at all.”
For Klinsmann’s part, he wouldn’t mind a deluge of goals, which would be in line with what we have seen early on in a high-scoring World Cup so far.
“Hopefully, we can deliver some goals as well,” said Klinsmann. “The key is to score one more than Ghana. I don’t mind if it’s a high-scoring (game) as long as we get the three points that we so badly want. I think it’s just what the fans want to see. They want to see attacking football, they want to see excitement.
“Hopefully, we can deliver that.”