FIFA World Cup 2014: Ghana vs USA - Preview

AFP| Updated: Jun 16, 2014, 10:54 AM IST

Ghana skipper Asamoah Gyan believes his young stars will prove too strong for the United States when the sides meet in Natal on Monday in what could be a key Group G clash.

The Black Stars beat the United States at the past two World Cups including a knockout round victory in South Africa four years ago when Ghana narrowly missed claiming an historic semi-final place.

While warning against complacency ahead of meeting Jurgen Klinsmann`s side, Gyan, the Black Stars` record goalscorer, feels technical supremacy will trump the Americans` reputation for grinding out results.

"They`re coming for revenge. Mentally they don`t want us to beat them for the third time, so it`s going to make the match very difficult," said Gyan.

"The USA are a good side, they`re a very dangerous team. But we think of ourselves first. We`ve got young, talented players who are coming up and playing well in their clubs. They`re in great shape.

"I think we have the youngest team at the tournament."

Ghana only made their debut in the competition in 2006 when they were eliminated 3-0 in the last 16 by Brazil. In South Africa, they made the last eight under Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac, with Kwesi Appiah as assistant.

In South Africa, Ghana were cruelly denied a place in the last four when Gyan failed to convert from the spot following a handball on the goal-line by Uruguay`s Luis Suarez. Uruguay went on to win a penalty shoot-out.

Appiah is now head coach and the first Ghanaian to take the Black Stars at a World Cup.

Although his aim to take the team in the semis will be tempered by later Group G matches against Germany and then Portugal, the former Ghana international said they are ready to meet the biggest challenges the tournament throws their way.

"If you`re going to the World Cup and you`re afraid of meeting the big teams like Brazil, then there`s no point in going," said the 53-year-old, who steered Ghana to fourth place in last year`s African Nations Cup and a 6-1 thumping of Egypt in the World Cup qualifiers.

"We have prepared very well, we`ve not had many injuries, which has been good. And there`s unity and discipline within the squad.

"The boys are totally focused and looking forward to tomorrow`s game."

Appiah recently welcomed Abdul Majeed Waris, who scored nine goals in 16 French Ligue 1 appearances for Valenciennes during a six-month loan spell from Russian side Spartak Moscow, back to his squad after he suffered a muscle injury.

He was to be assessed after Sunday`s final training session although Gyan is being tipped to spearhead his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

Ghana`s driving force is expected to come from the likes of Juventus wingback Kwadwo Asamoah, AC Milan midfield pair Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari and Schalke forward Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Essien and Prince-Boateng have both returned from international exile in the past, and Appiah added: "These are big players for us, they have really good experience."

Although Essien had a patchy end to the Serie A season with Milan, Asamoah has come on leaps and bounds with Juventus in the past two campaigns and is likely to prove a handful on the left side and in and around the box.

After the feats of 2010, the pressure is one for Ghana to go a stage further.

But Gyan said: "The expectation is high back home, everyone is expecting us to prove ourselves. Ghana have been rated as underdogs everytime.

"But we`ve seen a lot of surprises in the tournament so far. And we enjoy being the underdogs.