Jun 16, 2014 at 11pm UK at ​Arena das Dunas, Natal
Ghana
1-2
USAUSA
Ayew (82')
Rabiu (30'), Muntari (90')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Dempsey (1'), Brooks (86')

Player Ratings: Ghana 1-2 United States

Sports Mole takes a look at who impressed and who flopped during USA's 2-1 victory over Ghana in Group G of the World Cup.

USA left it late to pick up a victory in their opening World Cup fixture tonight, eventually running out 2-1 winners to avenge defeats to the same opposition in the last two tournaments.

Clint Dempsey kicked the match off in style with the opening goal after just 31 seconds, while John Brooks added a late headed winner after Andre Ayew had equalised in the 82nd minute.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at who impressed in another enthralling encounter in Natal.


Ghana players pose for a team photo before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Ghana and the United States at Estadio das Dunas on June 16, 2014© Getty Images

Ghana

Goal

Adam Kwarasey: Couldn't really do anything about either goal and, other than that, didn't have a great deal to do all game. Looked suspect under the high ball on occasions, but overall a solid display. (6/10)

Defence

Daniel Opare: Struggled to have a positive impact on the game despite Ghana experiencing most joy down his flank. Was caught out of position a couple of times, while his delivery was poor. (5/10)

Jonathan Mensah: Solid enough performance, although the defending as a whole for both USA goals left a lot to be desired. Mensah wasn't directly at fault for the first, but he wasn't there to sweep up either. (6/10)

John Boye: Dreadful defending for the first goal as he allowed Dempsey past him far too easily. Had a few other dodgy moments throughout the match, but his biggest and most costly error came in the opening minute. (5/10)

Kwadwo Asamoah: Struggled to influence the match as we know he can. Went into the game as one of Ghana's brightest prospects but didn't get forward enough, particularly in the first half. Improved as the match went on, but still not as good as expected. (6/10)

Midfield

Jordan Ayew: Included after a hat-trick in the final warm-up game, but showed no sign of that cutting edge tonight. Missed a really good chance at the end of the first half, and was taken off just before the hour. (5/10)

Mohammed Rabiu: Struggled to make much of an impact from midfield but did find himself on the ball more in the second half. Picked up a first-half yellow and was subsequently subbed with 20 minutes to go. (6/10)

Sulley Muntari: Very disappointing service to his strikers all game. Deliveries from set pieces and open play were poor, while he struggled to get the better of the American midfield. Was perhaps fortunate that he wasn't punished for a reaction to an incident in the first half, with the ref being lenient with both him and Jones. (5/10)

Christian Atsu: Tough one to grade as he was consistently Ghana's most dangerous player in the first half, but wasted a lot of good positions. Very raw performance, with plenty of enthusiasm but bad decision-making at times. Was the one player who looked like making something happen for Ghana in the first half. (7/10)

Andre Ayew: As with his brother, struggled to show his best for the vast majority of the match. Unlike his brother, however, he was given the full 90 minutes and responded with a well-taken goal. There was a hint of a slice about the finish, but he gets the benefit of the doubt. (7/10)

Attack

Asamoah Gyan: Another who plugged away all game without getting much to show for it. Did his best with some poor service at times, with those around him wasting countless good positions. Set up the goal with a moment of magic as he back-heeled the ball to Ayew inside the box. (8/10)

Substitutes

Kevin-Prince Boateng: Came on with half an hour to go and gave his side more of a cutting edge. Joined his teammates in wasting some good positions, but overall had a positive impact on his side. (7/10)

Michael Essien: Like Boateng, may have been surprised to have started the game on the bench. Came on in the 71st minute but struggled to make much of an impact. (6/10)

Albert Adomah: Only had 12 minutes to showcase what he can do and was barely involved during that time. (6/10)


The USA team lineup before their game with Ghana on June 17, 2014© Getty Images
USA

Goal

Tim Howard: Was as commanding as ever, coming off his line a number of times to make important blocks. Was also forced into one or two good stops, although nothing he wouldn't have expected to make. Couldn't really do much about the goal. (8/10)

Defence

Fabian Johnson: Was found wanting for the Ghana equaliser as Gyan and Ayew took advantage of him being out of position, but redeemed himself with tireless work to win the corner that led to the winner. (7/10)

Geoff Cameron: Solid performance as he made a number of important blocks and interceptions. Came under heavy pressure in the second half, but dealt with it expertly. (7/10)

Matt Besler: Was forced off with a hamstring injury at half time but impressed in the 45 minutes he did have on the field. Barely gave Ghana a sniff in the first half as the Africans struggled to create anything. (7/10)

DaMarcus Beasley: Had a difficult night as most of the Ghanaian attacks came down his flank. Never seemed to be able to get a hold of Atsu and was lucky that the youngster was so wasteful with his end product. (5/10)

Midfield

Kyle Beckerman: Best player on the park as he ran the midfield, contributing to both attack and defence. Was perhaps fortunate not to pick up a yellow card via the totting-up process, but did his job as midfield destroyer with aplomb. (8/10)

Alejandro Bedoya: Started to struggle as the match progressed courtesy of a mixture of tiredness and receiving a number of knocks. Was withdrawn in the 77th minute when he looked to be on his last legs. (6/10)

Jermaine Jones: Was strong in the middle of the park and ably assisted Beckerman in helping to stop Ghana's dynamic midfield. (7/10)

Michael Bradley: Quietly went about his business, although didn't have the sort of influence on the match as was expected. Outshone by the likes of Beckerman, but a solid display nonetheless. (6/10)

Attack

Jozy Altidore: Was so unfortunate to pull a hamstring in the 23rd minute that appears to have brought a premature end to his World Cup. Had missed one chance before going off, but was looking fairly spritely. (6/10)

Clint Dempsey: Took his goal extremely well and made his usual important contribution throughout. Had less joy in the second half due to Ghana's dominance, but looked to get up in support of the attack whenever possible. (8/10)

Substitutes

Aron Johannsson: Replaced the injured Altidore in the 23rd minute but failed to live up to his potential. Was never really in the game and was comfortably dealt with by Ghana's defence. (5/10)

John Brooks: Made a shaky start having replaced Besler at half time, but proved to be the match winner with his late header. Then made some important contributions in his own box to keep the late Ghana siege at bay. (8/10)

Graham Zusi: Came on with just over 10 minutes remaining and didn't really have much time to show what he is made of. (6/10)


Clint Dempsey celebrates scoring for the USA in the first minute of their encounter with Ghana on June 16, 2014.
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