Ghana-USA Rustenburg encounter will be close

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The Black Stars of Ghana go into battle with United States of America in a repeat of their group stage clash at the 2006 World Cup which the African team won 2-1, but coach Milovan Rajevac expects the meeting in Rustenburg to be as close.

Ghana carries the African hope but their scoring prowls would be a key factor.

The Ghanaians qualified for the second round even without scoring a goal in open play in the 270 minutes they played in their three group games.

They needed a penalty, converted by Asamoah Gyan, to beat a 10-man Serbia 1-0 and then also needed a penalty, put away by the same striker, to draw 1-1 against a 10-man Australia.

This is what Rajevac admits that is one of the key areas he needs to work at against the USA in the last 16.

“I am satisfied with the number of chances we create but we are missing a lot too because of a lack concentration in the finishing. I am optimistic and I hope it changes,” Rajevac told reporters at a training session.

Despite the lack of potency upfront, Rajevac insists he will not be tempted into starting the game against the USA with two strikers.

“You can all notice the best teams are playing the same system. Germany, Brazil all play that way because it is the best formation now. Of course during the match we always try to vary the way we are playing and of course with good players you can always do that. It looks very simple for most of you but it is very important for us.”

The proud coach says Ghana must be at their very best to get past a USA side.

The Americans have come back twice in the tournament to draw against England and Slovenia and scored deep into injury time against Algeria to win their group ahead of the English.

“The USA is a fantastic team, they can run a lot, have very good players and maybe are the best side physically,” Rajevac said.

Meanwhile, Sulley Muntari could have a starting berth.

Rajevac told reporters Friday that Muntari “performed well in training and I will see overnight whether he will start from the beginning”

2010 World Cup  South Africa's preparation to host the games on African soil for the first time but also individual African countries' determination to take part in the historic event. Five African countries - Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa and Ghana - are selected to join twenty seven teams from around the world to battle it out on the football pitch for the gold trophy. One by one, the African teams are eliminated, but Africans will not be bogged down as they rally behind their compatriots on the wings of the vuvuzela, a far cry from the near diplomatic row between Algeria and Egypt during the qualifiers. Ghana are the last team to leave but not before African unity becomes reality...
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