(Winner Group C)
(Runner Up Group D)
In what will amount to be a rematch of a 2006 fixture from Group E in Germany, the United States will crack skulls with Ghana in the Round of 16 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Mangaung. Needing three points to qualify for the Round of 16 a year ago, the US fell flat, losing to the Black Stars 2-1. The stakes are just a tad higher in this go around, as the winner will advance to the quarterfinals of World Cup betting action.
The United States very well could be a blessed team at this point. Landon Donovan has been at the forefront of just about everything important to this team in this competition. He was the man that scored the goal that sparked the comeback from down by two goals to Slovenia to salvage a draw in the second fixture for the team, but his far more important contribution came on Wednesday when he buried a strike into the top of the Algerian net in the 91st minute which sent the Stars and Stripes into the second round. This is also an American defense that has not conceded a goal in over 135 minutes of game time. The US also held England for the final 86 minutes of its first match of this tournament to boot.
Ghana is going to be in a heap of trouble if it can’t get more pressure on GK Tim Howard than it has mustered against the other goaltenders in Group D. The only two goals in this tournament for the Black Stars came from Asamoah Gyan, both of which came from the penalty spot. Aside from those two PKs, Ghana has really yet to force a ton of pressure onto opposing nets. Defensively, the team is getting worse as this tournament progresses as well. A shutout against Serbia in the opening fixture of the World Cup for the Ghanaians was great, but beyond that, a goal was conceded both against Australia and Germany. The efforts are getting more and more dismal, and unless things improve, the only African side left in this tournament is going to be bowing out before the quarterfinals.
If you’re a fan of American soccer, you have to love this draw. Advancing against the Ghanaians would set up a very manageable duel against either Uruguay or South Korea, which could lead to the first time that this team has been in the semifinals of this tournament in quite some time. Donovan is on the verge of becoming a real icon, not just for soccer in the US, but for sports in general. He’ll step up and put the Americans into the quarters on Saturday.
Selection: United States to Advance -120 at Brobury Sports