The U.S. beat Ghana, 2-1, on Monday in what was essentially a must-win game. But was the U.S. actually the better team?
Yes, Clint Dempsey’s opening-minute goal and John Brooks’ 86th-minute goal sent shockwaves throughout America, but Ghana had far more possession (60 percent to 40 percent), more shots (21-8), more shots on goal (8-7) and more corner kicks (7-3).
Did the U.S. get dominated despite winning?
“They got dominated,” Wall Street Journal senior editor Geoff Foster said on Ferrall on the Bench. “That’s right. That’s accurate. Look, they scored in the first 30 seconds. No one expected that. The entire time (leading up to the World Cup), Jurgen Klinsmann was saying, ‘We’re going to attack. We’re going to attack. We’re going to attack.’ And then they score within 30 seconds, and he’s like, ‘All right, we’re going to defend. That’s what were going to do.’”
“So they defended, they gave up one goal and then John Brooks came in off the bench, gloriously got a header on the corner and it was good.”
Brooks became the first U.S. substitute to ever score in the World Cup, heading home a brilliantly placed corner by Graham Zusi. Even more impressive, the goal came just four minutes after Ghana’s Andre Ayew tied the game at 1. At that point, winning the game seemed out of the question; the U.S., which had to use two substitutes before the second half due to injury, were just hoping to hang on.
Instead, they earned the three points they so desperately needed.
“I’m all in on Klinsmann,” Foster said. “I believe it. I like what he’s doing. I like his M.O. Look, he’s not coaching a bunch of losers. He wants this team to go to the quarterfinals, and that’s it. This team is supposed to go to the quarterfinals under him, and he’s adamant about that. So he believes in them. I believe in them.”
The U.S. will need at least one point from its remaining two games to have a chance to advance past Group G. The Americans play Portugal on June 22 and Germany on June 26.
Foster believes the U.S. will beat Portugal.
“I don’t think Portugal’s very good, to be honest,” he said. “Portugal barely made it into the World Cup. Portugal had to beat Sweden in a playoff. Portugal got decimated by Germany (4-0 on Monday). I don’t think Portugal’s very good. They have a great player (Cristiano Ronaldo). I don’t think they have a great team.”
Even Germany doesn’t scare Foster – not if Thomas Muller and friends beat Ghana, that is.
“If Germany beats Ghana, they’ll have six points,” Foster said. “They’ll be through. Jurgen Klinsmann will be coaching the U.S. It’ll be the third game. Germany, maybe they won’t be trying. Maybe they won’t care so much.”
Germany wouldn’t throw the game, of course, but they might rest a lot of their best players.
“They’re not going to play their starters,” Foster said. “They could clinch the group, so they’re not going to be playing all out. They’re not going to be playing to win. That’s a good situation for us. That’s a good situation where the United States could maybe get a draw.”