This piece examines Ghana and its group opponents at the 2014 World Cup by looking at how they qualified for the tournament, their ranking, their coaches key players as well as history in the tournament.
FIFA Ranking 2
Coach Joachim Low
QUALIFICATION Sealed automatic qualification with nine wins from ten fixtures and scored the most goals in Europe.
History Three triumphs, four seconds, four thirds and made the last two semi-finals. No team has played more matches (99) or scored more goals (222). Super record.
Key Players Ooze class in keeper Manuel Neuer while fullback Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger have over 100 caps. Thomas Muller won the Golden Boot in 2010. Youngsters Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle, Toni Kroos and Mario Gotze are solid and watch Mesut Ozil.
FIFA Ranking 5
Coach Paulo Bento
QUALIFICATION Had to go through the play-offs but then saw off Sweden 4-2 over two legs as Ronaldo got the better of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to guide the Portuguese safely to Brazil.
History Made debut in 1966, and knocked out Brazil on the way to the semi-finals to finish third. Made it all the way to last four in Germany. In South Africa four years later were beaten by eventual champions Spain in Round of 16.
Key Players Cristiano Ronaldo is the go-to man. The central-defensive pairing of Pepe and Bruno Alves are flying. Joao Moutinho is a creative midfielder and Nani will shine. and Bruno Alves is the cornerstone of a very solid rearguard that also features flying full-backs Joao Pereira and Fabio Coentrao. Joao Moutinho is the heartbeat of a creative midfield unit, while Nani can also be relied upon to shine alongside Ronaldo.
FIFA Ranking 24
Coach Kwesi Appiah
QUALIFICATION Survived tough qualifying by winning five of its six matches against 2012 African champions Zambia, Lesotho and Sudan before beating seven-time African champions in Egypt.
History In 2010 it equalled Africa’s best-ever performance by reaching the quarter-finals.
United States of America
FIFA Ranking 14
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann
QUALIFICATION The Americans won an astounding seven of their ten games, scoring 15 goals and finishing four points clear. history The first US team to turn up at a FIFA World Cup earned the dubious nickname of the ‘shot-putters’ and in 1930 finished in third place – the best placing for any team outside of Europe or South America.
Key Players Sunderland’s striker Jozy Altidore has been recalled and partners Clint Dempsey in attack. Landon Donovan and Roma’s Michael Bradley combine well.