Ghana vs USA: Jermaine Jones admits Brazil heat could favour African side in Group G opener
USA star Jermaine Jones admits that the heat of Natal could favour Ghana when the two sides meet on Monday.
The former Schalke midfielder is expected to start in the engine room alongside Michael Bradley for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side, and knows much swings on their Group G opener.
“It will be really hot,” said the 32-year-old. “Maybe that gives Ghana a little bit more of a chance or better rhythm because they already play in Africa, all the qualifying games.
“We know it will be a tough game. They are a physical team and have good players. We have a lot of respect for them, but we are not scared. We try to go there and win this game.”
Jones feels that it will be key for the USA to shut down the Black Stars’ dangerous attack at the Arena das Dunas, but is confident of sealing a positive result.
“I would say the key players are all in front,” continued Jones. “They are really good up front. But when everybody does his work and has the trust in themselves and trust in the team, I’m 100 per cent sure that we can beat them.”
Goalkeeper Tim Howard, meanwhile, is under no illusions over the importance of the USA’s first game, branding it a must-win if they are to progress to the knockout stages.
“It’s crucial for any team to get something from that first game,” admitted the Everton stopper.
“The importance can’t be overstated. You win that game and you get a feel-good factor working, get some momentum. We don’t want to play catch-up in the group stages.
“We don’t want to be biting our fingernails in that third game and hoping some other team can do us a favour.”
Meanwhile, Ghana forward Jordan Ayew is excited at the prospect of appearing alongside brother Andre when Ghana get their World Cup campaign underway in Natal.
Jordan, the younger of the two, spent the latter half of the season on loan at French side Sochaux, but is hoping for a profitable reunion with Andre, a former teammate at Marseille.
“It’s a good feeling to be in the Ghana team with my brother,” said the 22-year-old. “I haven’t played a big tournament like the World Cup before: in 2010 I watched him at home. Now I am here with him in the same team.”
Ahead of the Black Stars’ opener against the USA, Andre suggested that being in a ‘group of death’ could favour his side.
“The tough group just makes it more exciting to play in the tournament,” said the winger. “We are not favourites in the group, but when we come out of it, we will make Ghanaians happy. We have the quality and the mentality.
“All the teams are tough and we cannot underestimate any of them. Everyone says we are going to beat the USA. We beat them in 2006 and 2010 and you can be sure they will want to avenge those defeats now.”