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Ghana gives Klinsmann lots to ponder on night flight
by Paul Kennedy, June 9th, 2014 10:41PM

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TAGS:  ghana, men's national team, world cup 2014

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[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] Now we know why Jurgen Klinsmann took the unusual step of staying behind in Miami while the U.S. national team flew on to Sao Paulo, where it practiced for the first time on Monday afternoon. He got an up-close look at Ghana's Black Stars, watching along with his German scouts, Berti Vogts and Matthias Hamann, as the USA's opening opponents put on a devastating display in a 4-0 win over South Korea at the near-empty Sun Life Stadium.

Ghana showed just why it's again considered Africa's top hope at the World Cup, putting two goals past the Koreans in both halves. The star was 22-year-old Jordan Ayew, the younger of two sons of former great Abedi Pele on the Black Stars. Ayew wasn't even a starter but came on Abdul Majeed Waris, who went off with a leg injury in the fourth minute.

Ayew, whose older brother Andre starts for Ghana, scored nine minutes later as Ghana dismantled the Korean defense in numbers. Asamoah Gyan broke down the left wing and fed Sulley Muntari, whose pass failed to find Kevin Prince Boateng in front of the goal, but Ayew came racing in on the far side to score on a deflected shot.

Gyan, whose goal was the difference in the Black Stars' 2-1 overtime win over the USA in the round of 16 four years ago, showed off his legendary strength, stripping a Korean defender of the ball in midfield and racing in to make it 2-0 just before halftime. Ayew added two goals in the second half, the first with a low shot from distance to the far post and the second from close range off a centering pass from Albert Adomah.

Ghana certainly has its weaknesses -- South Korea had a 12-8 edge in shots but was plagued by poor finishing -- but it showed off the clinical finishing that ended Egypt's dream of qualifying for the World Cup in the African playoffs and no doubt reassured Klinsmann about his decision to add defensive cover with the addition of Kyle Beckerman as a holding midfielder for the USA's final tune-up, a 2-1 win over Nigeria on Saturday.

Ghana -- Dadau, Afful, Boye, Mensah, K.Asamoah, Rabiu (Acquah 59), Muntari (Agyemang-Badu 59), A.Ayew (Adomah 74), Gyan (Wakaso 64), Waris (K.Ayew 4), Boateng (Atsu 56),



On the Ground ...

TRAFFIC MESS. Following the game, Klinsmann and his German scouts, Berti Vogts and Matthias Hamann, took an overnight flight to Sao Paulo, where they will join up with the U.S. team.

Since the USA was practicing just hours after arriving in Brazil, the workout was light and conducted by assistants Andi Herzog and Tab Ramos.

The only issue the USA faced was a long wait in traffic for the ride from the airport to its hotel and from the hotel to the Barra Funda training center in the notorious Sao Paulo traffic, made worse by a subway strike finally called off Monday night.

A 4-mile bus ride from its base hotel through the city's perpetually congested streets to the Americans' training camp was another matter.

''We haven't had any problem," said goalie Tim Howard, "other than the traffic."

U.S. Schedule:
Tuesday: Two practices in Sao Paulo;
Wednesday: Public practice in Sao Paulo;
Thursday: Closed-door scrimmage against Belgium in Sao Paulo;
Friday: Practice in Sao Paulo;
Saturday: Flight to Natal;
Sunday: Practice in Natal;
Monday: USA-Ghana in Natal (live at 6 p.m. ET in ESPN and Univision).


8 comments
  1. Mark Hardt
    commented on: June 10, 2014 at 8:07 a.m.
    Oh boy. Nigeria is way weaker than Ghana. US has to cut out the penalties. Besler gave them away needlessly. He did not have to take the guy down.

  1. Valerie Metzler
    commented on: June 10, 2014 at 9:08 a.m.
    Timmy could have stopped those. I do like Ghana's kits, though.

  1. John Roode
    commented on: June 10, 2014 at 9:37 a.m.
    He got ball, unfortunately after he got leg... and he wasn't trying to "take him down". But don't blame Besler. Blame Gonzalez' horrible flank defending, Cameron's horribly weak attempt at a clearance... or was it a tackle... or whatever it was. And maybe even Klinsmann for the substitution.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: June 10, 2014 at 10:19 a.m.
    FYI V.M. Hypotheticals have nothing in common with the real world pitch.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: June 10, 2014 at 10:22 a.m.
    BTW, what's there to ponder about? Select the best team chemistry and hopefully they can perform for 80', not 20' and let's see what happens.

  1. Kevin Leahy
    commented on: June 10, 2014 at 2:28 p.m.
    Am glad Jozy got off the snide but, go back and look @ his play. The first half he was pretty miserable with the turnovers. It won't matter if he scores. It all hinges on the team scoring @ least two goals every game.

  1. David Crowther
    commented on: June 10, 2014 at 4:08 p.m.
    I still can't figure out why the US decided to base itself in Sao Paolo. They are adding literally hours to each trip they have to take because of the traffic.

  1. Zoe Willet
    commented on: June 10, 2014 at 6:26 p.m.
    Is Essien ok? Were they just resting him?


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