After a week full of rain, it looks like the skies will be clear when Team USA will open its 2014 World Cup campaign against Ghana on Monday. Both teams are gunning for the three points from a competitive group that also includes Portugal and Germany.
A two-day downpour has flooded some streets in the northeastern Brazilian beach host town. Yesterday the skies began to clear, but the forecast is still unsettled for Monday night’s game.
Can the Americans avenge their previous two World Cup losses to Ghana tonight?
— Sunil Gulati (@sunilgulati) June 15, 2014
Both teams have their round of 16 matchup from the 2010 World Cup fresh on their minds, when Ghana needed extra time to escape with a 2-1 victory. Team USA’s scars do run deeper as Ghana was also responsible for their departure from the 2006 World Cup as well.
FIFA World Cup 2014: United States vs. Ghana Odds
Our number crunchers believe the Americans have a 22 percent chance to beat Ghana, or about a 4-to-1 shot, so we’re certainly not getting a bargain line at the +185 World Cup money line odds. The smart value bet would be to bet on Ghana at +170, but how would you sleep at night?
This game is about exorcising demons for the US. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who has come under a lot of fire on his comments about the chances of the US team in Brasil, said that it’s a must-win.
The 49-year-old footballer has been on the international soccer scene since the 80s. He was a star player for West Germany and won the 1990 World CUp. Later he coached the German squad, where they finished third in the 2006 World Cup.
Earlier he caused a ruckus saying that "I think for us now, talking about winning a World Cup is just not realistic." but his demeanor shifted this week. "It’s raining. If it’s snowing. If it’s – what else? – thunder or lightning … field wet, field dry, heat, humidity, whatever," he said Sunday. "We’re not worried about that stuff at all."
According to AccuWeather, a total of 3.11 inches of rain fell Friday and 2.95 more Saturday. By late Saturday night, cars had to navigate at least 18 inches of standing water. Natal’s City Hall declared a flood alert and evacuated dozens of residents as a precaution in the Mae Luiza neighborhood in the city’s west.
Tonight the forecast calls for a temperature of about 80 degrees (27 Celsius), a small chance of showers and high humidity in the host town of Natal which is 400 miles south of the equator.
For a quick history lesson, Ghana beat the Americans by identical 2-1 scores in the final group-stage game at Germany in 2006 and in the second round at South Africa four years ago.
The Americans will wear their red white and blue road uniforms.