After 90 brutal minutes of end-to-end action, the United States emerged with a thrilling 2-1 win over Ghana and coach Jurgen Klinsmann praised his team’s fighting spirit.
“We fight to the last second,” Klinsmann said. “It was a grind but a wonderful win at the end of the day. There are undoubtedly things that we need to improve on. The U.S. team always has a great spirit.”
U.S. fans were screaming for revenge Monday after the Black Stars eliminated the Americans from the last two Cups.
They got it. At a price.
Clint Dempsey scored a shocking goal a half-minute in, but the U.S. couldn’t make it stand up. Andre Ayew tied the score in the 82nd minute after a brilliant back-heel pass from Asamoah Gyan, who had eliminated the U.S. four years ago.
And then, just four minutes later, 20-year-old John Brooks rose to head in Graham Zusi’s corner kick from eight yards — the first substitute to ever score for the United States in 30 World Cup games over 84 years.
The defender, an unexpected addition to the American roster, was so overcome he fell to the field and was unable to move even after teammates climbed off the dog pile. He had made his national team debut only last August, and Brooks hadn’t scored in four appearances.
“I told my teammates that I had a dream two days before that I scored. My dream came true,” Brooks said.
Klinsmann said he put his faith in Brooks.
“We coaches always try to read the players coming into the youth system and how can this player be developed over time,” Klinsmann said. “With John Brooks, his passing is amazing; he’s calm for his age and strong in the air. And he rarely fouls. We had the feeling he’s ready for the World Cup. We knew that if we had the time to work him through every training session, then he’s willed to take that on quickly. Now we have to keep him consistent with his performance from today.”
U.S. players ran onto the field to celebrate at the final whistle, jumping as supporters chanted “U-S-A! U-S-A!” Now the Americans are in good position in Group G, where Germany opened with a 4-0 rout of Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.
“It’s what we expected,” said Klinsmann. “We got the three points that we wanted and we can move on.”
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SOURCE: ESPN FC
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.