World Cup Odds and Picks: United States Vs. Ghana Predictions
by Jordan Adams - 6/25/2010
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How big was Landon Donovan’s 91’ goal to send the U.S. through to the elimination round? Well, results to come will really dictate that answer but for now it really gives the Stars and Stripes all kinds of momentum and confidence to put together a magical run.
But if they want to find success at the next rung of international soccer, the United States must defeat a familiar foe, one who left them bitter and disappointed four years ago.
The U.S. takes on Ghana at 2:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, June 26. The winner advances to the quarterfinals while the loser’s tournament is done.
Ghana and the United States were drawn into the same group for the 2006 World Cup. The two clashed in their final group play match with the U.S. needing a win to advance. It didn’t happen. Ghana won 2-1 and earned a place in the last 16. That was the Ghanaians first World Cup appearance, and a roaring success, so much so that loftier expectations fall on this year’s team. So far they have delivered but Ghana, too, know in order to rise to the elite level on the world stage, you have to win when you can least afford to lose.
Most see Ghana and feel they aren’t that strong. But forget all the flair and ruthless attacking that most African teams are known for. Cameroon didn’t impress. South Africa is out. Algeria was a bust. And even Ivory Coast has been a downer by comparison. That is because Ghana are the lone African team that has been able to find the balance between athleticism and pace and organization and tactical precision, and all credit goes to head coach Milovan Rajevac. And just think, Ghana’s top three players were either ruled out before the World Cup started (Michael Essien) or haven’t found an opportunity to sneak into the starting XI (Stephen Appiah and Sulley Muntari), mainly because Ghana’s coach has opted to stick with the younger players who got them through via qualifying.
Both sides are extremely balanced and have done well to have its key players gaining experience in Europe. The difference in this match will be the back four of each’s defense and which cracks under pressure. Both have been good at times but moreover are the ‘bend but don’t break’ variety.
It will be interesting to see if Bob Bradley chooses to go with the same line-up that he used in the clincher against Algeria, notably at his centre backs. Oguchi Onyewu was dropped for the Algeria match but I really think he would benefit in the Ghana contest. His combination of size, speed and overall freakish athletics would do the U.S. a world of good to muscle up with Ghana’s attacking players.
USA vs. Ghana World Cup Odds:
Bodog currently has USA listed as the price of +150. They list Ghana at +175 and the ‘Draw’ is currently available at +225.
Sports Interaction has USA at +150 and Ghana at +175. The ‘Draw’ here is posted at +220.
USA vs. Ghana Picks and Predictions:
USA wins if: they find a way to finish better. In their decisive match against Algeria, they easily could have score four of five times. Poor finishing in the box almost sent this team home. Against a much better Ghana defense, they won’t have as many great looks at a goal, so they better capitalize on the ones they do get.
Ghana wins if: they get more from others not named Asamoah Gyan. The striker has scored both of Ghana’s goals, and while Kevin-Prince Boateng has been very good too, Andre Ayew and Prince Tagoe will need to be a notch better in the final third to present more versatility to best the vastly skilled Tim Howard in goal.
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