Hello, hello, (or as they say in Brazil, oi!)
The United States Men’s National Team will play its World Cup opening game June 16 against Ghana in Natal. It will play Portugal in Manaus six days later (June 22), and finish its group stage with a match against Germany in Recife on June 26.
Lets have a look at the statistics regarding soccer games between the U.S.A. and their World Cup 2014 opponents:
USA – Ghana
Many commentators are saying that the U.S. v. Nigeria pre-tournament match has been planned as a warm up for the Ghana U.S. World Cup game. Nigeria has a lower ranking than Ghana but of course the Nigerian team will also play in Brazil. The U.S.A. have already met the Ghana national football team (popularly known as the Black Stars) at the World Cup twice and in both cases, Ghana has won. In 2006, Ghana beat the U.S.A at group stage and the U.S. team was beaten by the Ghanaians once again in 2010 in a round of 16 match. In total Ghana has scored 4 goals against the U.S. and the U.S. scored 2 againt Ghana. It doesn’t make for good betting odds, however, it’s possible that some of the U.S.A. 2010 World Cup squad who lost to Ghana will be back on the field June 16 and perhaps they will use their experience to the team’s advantage? Watch this space!
USA – Portugal
USMNT has met the Portugal national fooball team five times and the statistics are very even. The U.S. victory over Portugal at the World Cup 2002 surprised everyone. It was a messy affair with an own goal scored by both camps. They have also played 4 friendly games, two of which Portugal won, one further victory for the U.S. and one draw. These five games produced 5 goals from each team.
USA – Germany
The statistics are less even when it comes to three-time World Cup champions the Germany national football team. In total, the U.S.A. has played against Germany 9 times. Their two World Cup encounters in 1998 and 2002 saw Germany win. The U.S. team did beat them in a 1999 Confederations Cup match. Of the 6 friendly matches played, count 4 German victories for 2 U.S. victories.
Incidentally, it will be no small advantage to USMNT that Germany is their coach Jürgen Klinsmann’s, home nation. Klinsmann was on the German squad who won the 1990 World Cup.
P.S. Pencil in May 26 in your diaries. The FIFA has set this as the official release date for players on a nation’s World Cup squad, worldcupfootball.fr will have more updates on this.