Will the U.S. beat Ghana in World Cup opener?


Arena das Dunas, on the eve of the U.S.-Ghana match. (By Steven Goff — The Washington Post)

Morning reading material:

My preview of the U.S. national team’s long-awaited World Cup opener against Ghana in Natal.

How Americans are watching the World Cup — without cable TV.

I’ll report from Arena das Dunas tonight, while Post colleague Rick Maese is in Salvador for the Germany vs. Portugal, the other Group G match.

Standard TV:

Germany vs. Portugal, noon ET (ESPN, Univision)

USA vs. Ghana, 6 p.m. (ESPN, Univision)

USA-Ghana referee: Jonas Eriksson of Sweden. International since 2002. No concerns about him being bought by gambling syndicates; he is reportedly a millionaire.

Weather in Natal: After biblical rain for several days and a mostly dry Sunday, it’s brightening up. Still, very humid and a chance of rain tonight, with the temperature in the upper 70s.

Jurgen Klinsmann says the Americans are prepared for any conditions, including snow:

“If it’s raining, if it’s snowing, if it’s thunder and lightning, whatever, this is about football. We’re not worried about that stuff at all. No matter what the circumstances are, we are going to embrace them and make them work.”

Ghana attacker Majeed Waris, who left last week’s friendly against South Korea in the sixth minute with a muscular injury, trained the past three days and might be available. Klinsmann says all of his 23 players are healthy.

How the U.S. has fared in World Cup openers since 1990:

1990: Lost to Czechoslovakia, 5-1.

1994: Tied Switzerland, 1-1.

1998: Lost to Germany, 2-0.

2002: Defeated Portugal, 3-2.

2006: Lost to Czech Republic, 3-0.

2010: Tied England, 1-1.

My U.S. lineup prediction: Howard; Johnson, Besler, Cameron, Beasley; Bedoya, Beckerman, Jones, Bradley; Dempsey, Altidore.

My score prediction: 2-2.

How do you think the match will turn out. Please vote:

 

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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