USA v Ghana Preview: Odds & Betting Tips – Saturday, 26th June
USA v Ghana Betting Odds
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Kick Off: 19.30 GMT
World Cup Second Round: After Landon Donovan performed some last minute heroics for the USA against Algeria, the Americans now head into their last sixteen match against Group D runner’s up Ghana. The USA looked to have blown their chance of progressing to the next stage, needing a win against Algeria to confirm their place in the knockout round. It took a 91st minute effort from Donovan to break the deadlock and send the Americans into a state of euphoria. England and the USA were expected to progress from this group, but it was meant to be a lot easier for both of them. It didn’t turn out that way, and the Americans actually topped Group C in the end, setting up their clash with Ghana. The USA play with a lot of determination and a never say die attitude, but there is not always the skill levels there to back it up. They rode their luck against Algeria, but there was one important difference in this match to the others they had played, and that was, they did not fall behind early on. They very nearly did, with Algeria hitting the wood-work, and although the USA were creating chance after chance, and had a goal wrongly disallowed for off-side, it looked as if the break through was never going to come for the USA. That last minute goal by Donovan typified the game the American’s play, as they fought to the very last break.
They now will face their toughest task of the competition so far, as they take on Ghana. Ghana are a young side who will have just as much energy and pace as the Americans, but will have the passing abilities to push the USA back. But the USA will stick to their strengths, and that is playing the game at pace and taking chances at the back if need be. Coach Bob Bradley has been quite brave in his tactics, pushing people forward and trusting in things at the back. Things at the back have looked decidedly ropey at times, but their hard work and energy often makes up for the things in their game which are lacking. Whoever they play, the USA will present tough opponents for, but they will need to tighten up midfield if they are going to take a sensible approach to their last sixteen match. They have looked vulnerable in that area, as well as lacking punch up front. The USA look like one of those rough and rugged teams that play with great spirit and heart and won’t roll over. Time and time again they have come back from bad positions after lapses in concentration have put themselves behind in matches. They used their get out of jail card against the Algerians, do they have more left in them?
Ghana are one of those sides which can impress but look vulnerable at the same time. Their defence sits quite high up the pitch, and there is often plenty of space in behind for opponents to exploit. Fortunately for Ghana, they have the youngest team at the World Cup, and that means they will have plenty of pace and running in their legs. They are not a great side by any stretch of the imagination, but they are tough opponents in their own right. They have nice touches through the middle of the park, and work the ball well into the final third of the pitch. They have Asamoah Gyan, who is their main source of goals up front, who works tirelessly and always seems to be in the thick of everything. They are missing Michael Essien, as his quality and time on the ball would make them an even stronger side, but they are not to be dismissed lightly. They got a lucky break in their opening match when Serbia lost a man and then gave away a penalty, and then Ghana failed to press home another man advantage in their drawn match against Australia. That very likely cost them top spot in the group, and their second place finish was confirmed by a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Germany in their final match.
Ghana are as energetic as the USA, but with a bit more polish. That will be the fair assessment of them. They work well as team, but they have some vulnerabilities at the back, which could be exploited with long balls over the top. The Americans will look at that and take heart, especially when attacking down the wings. But Ghana themselves are able to mix up their attacks, and created some good chances against Germany which they were unable to take. Ghana will probably be the betting tip to go with in this one, as they look just to have that little bit more quality and composure against them. They should certainly win the midfield battle, even without Chelsea’s Michael Essien. Ghana have a higher passing success rate than the USA, and that could make all the difference, if they get their slick passing game going. The accuracy of which, should cause the USA problems. After three games played though, only Argentina are ahead of both Ghana and the USA in attempts on goal, with the Africans having 55 attempts to the USA’s 49. That suggests than an open, attacking game may well be on the cards, and the winner would progress to a quarter final match against either Uruguay or South Korea.
World Cup Second Round Betting Tip: Ghana to win by 1 Goal 7/2 at Labdrokes
Current USA V Ghana Odds: