What an amazing result for Ghana! I missed the match entirely, listening to the Turkish minister of finance list statistics on economic growth rather than watching the best African performance in the World Cup thus far… clearly my priorities are in the wrong place. But I’m relying on the BBC’s excellent coverage… and emails and SMSs from friends around the world to get a sense for just what transpired.
(Obi’s got a good post on the game, and I hope someone will take his suggestion on overturning Asamoah’s yellow card… GhanaWeb has a wonderful story which reads, in its entirety: “YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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I got back to our hotel in Istanbul in time for the last bit of the US/Italy game. After DeMarcus Beasley’s offside goal was called back, I ran down to my room to throw on my circa-1994 Ghana jersey, which got me some congratulations from African friends and confusion from basically everyone else.
The US looked pretty bad, but playing 9 on 10, it’s hard to play anything other than a very defensive style. Props to McBride for playing on with what looked a lot like a broken nose… and no doubt that Kasey Keller deserved man of the match. Thursday’s game should be amazing. Ghana will be missing Gyan and Muntari, but they’ll have Essien and Appiah and should give the US midfielders fits. (The US will be missing Pope and Mastroeni, which is also a serious setback – Pope lends a lot of stability to the defense, who will be tested hard against Ghana.)
So, as promised, I’ll be pulling for Ghana on Thursday. To advance, the US needs a victory and an Italian victory – because of goal differential, a Czech victory or draw knocks them out, unless they’re able to shell Ghana. A Ghana win guarantees they go through, making them the only African team in the second round… and that’s an easy thing for me to root for.