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Sixty-four years on, football supporters in the United States of America will be hoping that this summer brings something approaching a repeat of what remains this nation’s greatest single result in the World Cup. In Brazil in 1950, the USA team was unable to get through the group stages of the competition, but they did at least have the supreme consolation of beating England – who were making their first appearance in the World Cup finals, having fallen out with FIFA over payments to amateur players – by a goal to nil in Belo Horizonte, thanks to a goal from the Haitian born Joe Gaetjens. It’s a result that remains, no matter what the unanticipated shortcomings of that England team may have been, probably the greatest surprise in the history of the tournament.

That would be that for the USA and the World Cup finals until 1990, when the team was knocked out in the group stages of the competition without winning a single game. Four years later, however, they hosted the competition and there was no great embarrassment in going out in the Second Round of the tournament against its eventual champions Brazil, but this country’s stuttering form in this competition has continued since then – they lost all three games in 1998, but managed a best ever quarter-final appearance in Japan and South Korea four years later before narrowly losing to Germany. This stop-start performance has continued since then. In 2006, they could only manage one point from three matches and finished at the bottom of their group, before topping their group and being eliminated in the Second Round four years ago.

The flies in the ointment for the USA team in both 2006 and 2010, however, are their opponents this evening. Ghana was the team that eliminated the United States of America in both 2006 and 2010, and American hopes for this summer have already long been tempered by the knowledge that they have to play not only the team that has become their bogey team over the last eight years, but also accomplished and experienced teams in the form of Germany and Portugal after this evening’s match. A little optimism, however, may have returned to the cheeks this evening with news of Portugal’s feeble capitulation at the hands of Germany earlier this evening. There’s still all to play for.

Ghana’s historical record in this competition is a little more consistent than that of the USA, though we have less to go on. Four times winners of the African Cup of Nations, Ghana didn’t qualify for the finals of the World Cup until 2006, and that win against the USA was enough to see them through to the Secound Round of the competition, where they were beaten by comfortably beaten by Brazil. Four years later in South Africa, their involvement in the tournament ended in controversial circumstances. Having edged out Australia and Serbia in the group stages of the competition, they then beat the USA after extra time in the Second Round before losing on penalties against Uruguay in the quarter-finals in a match probably best remembered for Luis Suarez’s deliberate handball in extra time and Asamoah Gyan’s subsequent penalty miss. The last African team remaining in the competition was then knocked out after a penalty shoot-out.

As mentioned above, Portugal’s disastrous result this evening will have buoyed the hopes of both of this evening’s teams that a place in the next round of the competition is possible, to say the least. Join Ian King (and quite possibly some other reprobates) shortly before 11pm (BST) for a live-blog that will most likely have little to do with anything that happens on the pitch.

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Mark June 17, 20141:06 am

Henry reckons Ayew mishit his goal and, do you know what, he’s right. Meanwhile, Klinsmann is sounding all-American on a US TV interview. Well done, all. Iran v Nigeria forgotten. Hope Savage’s head hurts in the morning…

Ian June 17, 20141:02 am

Well, that was quite a finish. Ghana 1-2 USA in the end, and, if I’m honest, it was a match that both teams deserved to win. Ghana’s wayward shooting let them down a bit, but it’s impossible to take anything away from the USA. They kept going and kept going, even though it looked as if their players were just about out on their feet for most of the last half an hour. Many, many congratulations to any passing American supporters.

Rob June 17, 20141:02 am

How do you reckon the BBC Production team has described Danny Mills to Clarence Seedorf?

Mark June 17, 20141:01 am

As Brookes said: “Oh my God…”

Mark June 17, 201412:52 am

Aye sorry. Kwaraseh’s keeping has been pure Richard Kingson in the last 15 minutes.
“Lets get this job done” says an unbiased co-commentator, drunk with emotion…WITH EMOTION

Ian June 17, 201412:50 am

Oh, whatevs :-)

Mark June 17, 201412:49 am

2-1 (NOT 2 to 1) USA, and all from the persistent attacking from full-back Johnson. The man to whom someone screamed “stay in your position” THREE minutes ago. At least someone has slurred an apology

Ian June 17, 201412:48 am

What was I saying about the USA’s inherited sense of drama?

Brooks heads in from a corner and America lead by two to one.

Mark June 17, 201412:47 am

Anyone remember Ray Wilkins commentary on Real Madrid v Spurs in the CL a few years back? “Stay on your feet” Wilko screamed…rather too much. Don’t know why that’s come to mind now…

Mark June 17, 201412:45 am

“Brooks switches off” “Can Tim Howard stand up a bit longer”? Yes, Ghana HAVE scored a great equaliser…

Ian June 17, 201412:45 am

And there it is. Ghana 1-1 USA. Muttoned in at the near post by Ayew (whose name is exactly the noise that American supporters made as the ball hit the back of the net.)

Ian June 17, 201412:42 am

The words “missing”, “Jozy” and “Altidore” often appear in sentences, of course, but not usually in that order.

Mark June 17, 201412:41 am

And there it is. The 100th “they’re missing Jozy Altidore.” From the man who said “no wonder he only scored one goal last season,” at about 11.15…

Ian June 17, 201412:41 am

Ooh! Ooh! World Cup players you’ve seen playing non-league football…


(I’ll come back to you if I think of any)

Mark June 17, 201412:39 am

Cracking second half. Huge effort from both sides. Some quality. And now, with the introduction of Albert Adomah, a Harrow Borough old boy…

Ian June 17, 201412:38 am

Thirteen minutes for the USA to hold out, now, and I’m getting nervous on behalf of the Americans that I follow on Twitter.

Ian June 17, 201412:30 am

And as soon as I say all that, they start to compose themselves and launch a couple of attackettes of their own.

Ian June 17, 201412:27 am

I think I know what it is about the USA team that I like. It’s always tense. I don’t think it’s a character trait they’d much *want* to keep hold of, but they seem to have an almost inherent sense of drama about them.

Ian June 17, 201412:19 am

Ghana starting to get on top, now. Looks like it might be a long thirty-three minutes for the USA.

Ian June 17, 201412:18 am

Apparently, Asamoah Gyan has the number 3 etched on one side his head, and the number 100 in Arabic on the other.

(I have no idea whether this is true or why he would do this, by the way)

Mark June 17, 201412:14 am

Robbie Savage had a tattoo on his brain????

Ian June 17, 201412:11 am

I guess the problem that the USA have got in this half is keeping up that sort of pace in the middle of a rainforest. I should imagine that half of the faces of the American team will match their shirts quite vividly within about twenty minutes from now.

Mark June 17, 201412:06 am

Five minutes? Where would they get the other…you know the rest. I see Besler’s hamstring has gone too.

Ian June 17, 201412:04 am

Anyway, it’s half-time and the USA still leads by a goal to nil. Just spent five minutes hiding behind the sofa in case the BBC got it into their heads to show highlights of the Iran vs Nigeria match again.

Mark June 17, 201412:00 am

In the studio, they don’t seem to think its been too bad a game. Now lets ponder who to believe…
Right…no more about Robbie Savage. Sorry.

Mark June 16, 201411:53 pm

Dave Boyle tweet: “Robbie Savage is right about things being too predictive. My phone wanted to put. ‘Utter bellend’ instead of his name.”

Ian June 16, 201411:50 pm

Ha ha ha, Mark. You are *really* angry about Robbie Savage this evening.

Richard June 16, 201411:50 pm

On air sacking would be more entertaining.

Ian June 16, 201411:48 pm

Brief discussion in this room on the subject of why hamstrings “twang.” As someone who has done this more times than I care to remember, I can confirm that “twang” is exactly the right word for it. It feels like someone has snapped an elastic band inside your leg.

Mark June 16, 201411:48 pm

He’s drunk. Savage is drunk. Or deliberately taking the piss. Either way, he should be sacked. At half-time.

Mark June 16, 201411:46 pm

As he says, “its all too predictive.” Still, on the subject of “stupid tackle…ridiculous” who else could speak with such authority and experience?

Ian June 16, 201411:45 pm

As an aside, the USA’s best performance in the World Cup was not, as I erroneously said above, in 2002. They reached the semi-finals in 1930, beating Paraguay and Belgium in their group, before getting hammered 6-1 by Argentina in the semi-finals.

Richard June 16, 201411:45 pm

He has no right to say ‘that is a stupid unnecessary tackle’

Richard June 16, 201411:41 pm

I like Savage best when he’s off screen and silent.

Richard June 16, 201411:39 pm

Even if this was 3-3 Savage would think it was dull.

Ian June 16, 201411:39 pm

(I didn’t, by the way, but only because I thought he might headbutt me)

Ian June 16, 201411:39 pm

I saw Robbie Savage in a bar in Chiswick once. I was drunk enough to consider going over and sitting on his knee.

Mark June 16, 201411:38 pm

I’m sorry, but is Robbie Savage being sponsored for being a c**t tonight? Gyan hits a fine shot, Howard makes a really good save but “shouldn’t be a goalkeeper” if he lets it in. Then, Klinsmann claims an elbow when Dempsey’s nose is splattered after a forearm flicks his face. Savage says “it was clearly his boot”. Yes. Only after two replays. I’m getting annoyed with this talentless tw*t

Richard June 16, 201411:34 pm

I’d like to think my comment about his floppy performance, and hair, had something to do with that particular traffic.

Richard June 16, 201411:32 pm

Great promo for 200% that. Shame we didn’t get an Etch A Sketch picture of his disappointment to help this lonely traveller.

Ian June 16, 201411:30 pm

That’s from the referrals page. Somebody wound up right here (well, on the Portugal vs Germany live-blog) from searching Google for that.

Richard June 16, 201411:29 pm

Choc Ice… not even SPL quality compared to a Premier League Fab.

Who provided you with that moment of brilliance?

Ian June 16, 201411:29 pm

See what you did there, Mark.

Guy Mowbray tells us that Leonardo diCaprio and Katy Perry are at the match tonight. Not sure what to do with that information. Break into one of their houses, perhaps?

Mark June 16, 201411:25 pm

With that last header, John Boye never looked more like a Walton…and Hersham player…

Ian June 16, 201411:25 pm

What sort of ice cream was it, Dickie?

In other news, I trust we all saw this earlier:

Richard June 16, 201411:23 pm

You’ve made me eat 11pm ice cream. I had to eat it now to ensure I don’t become a Gremlin should I have left it another hour.

Sadly I can’t drop imagines for proof via my mobile so you’ll all have to make do with that description.

Ian June 16, 201411:22 pm

I’ve started rhyming “Savage” with “Farage” in my head.

Mark June 16, 201411:22 pm

Savage’s comparison of Rooney’s and Altidore’s chances is just plain rubbish. “Just hit the target.”?? He DID. His shot was blocked.

Ian June 16, 201411:20 pm

If you’re tuning in for the first time, you’re watching the “Ice Creams I Vaguely Remember From My Childhood” live-blog.

Richard June 16, 201411:20 pm

I’m surprised he hasn’t rumoured that Clint Dempsey is Arsene Wenger’s preferred strike partner for Giroud.

Ian June 16, 201411:20 pm

On a similar theme…

Ian June 16, 201411:18 pm

The peerless Daniel Harris on Twitter:

Ian June 16, 201411:16 pm

FAB lollies – apropos nothing – came about as a result of a tie-in with Thunderbirds in the mid-1960s, but were so popular that they decided to stick with them. Fifty years on, and still going strong. I can’t imagine what could have made me think of that.

Richard June 16, 201411:14 pm

Robbie Savage doesn’t even understand standing tackles.

Ian June 16, 201411:14 pm

So, America’s away kit, as moddled by The Invisible Man:

(Maybe there is someone there, but the kit is so loud that we just can’t see him)

Mark June 16, 201411:12 pm

I hope that every…EVERY SINGLE…person who complained about Phil Neville on Saturday has already done the same about Robbie Savage.

Ian June 16, 201411:11 pm

It is a contractual obligation of all American national team goalkeepers that they have to shave their heads. If he wasn’t in the squad, he’d look like a member of ZZ Top.

Richard June 16, 201411:09 pm

Not with the BBC Ian. They love a bit of Ghana.

Richard June 16, 201411:09 pm

Howard’s beard is a magical thing. That’s a “Beard I’d Like to Fondle”.

Ian June 16, 201411:07 pm

Oh, one other thing. I have a bit of a thing for Jurgen Klinsmann from his time with Spurs and I really, really want him to succeed as a manager. I understand that he’s not universally popular, but I should imagine that he’s a little more popular than usual right now.

Mark June 16, 201411:06 pm

John Boye never looked more like a Walton…

Richard June 16, 201411:05 pm

This American kit is an assault on the senses.

Ian June 16, 201411:04 pm

So, the USA. Thing number one: that away kit is just AMAZING. I absolutely love it to death. Thing number two: I really, really enjoy watching the USA team play. There’s something about the way they play – high tempo, physical, and you never quite know what they’re going to do or how they’re going to perform – that I really enjoy.

Richard June 16, 201411:04 pm

Far too early.

Mark June 16, 201411:04 pm


Richard June 16, 201411:04 pm

Don’t feel sad Ian the fans still love you!

Richard June 16, 201411:03 pm

My nil-nil is out the window. Better game already than the Iran/Nigeria match.

Ian June 16, 201411:02 pm

I’m really good at this, aren’t I?

Ian June 16, 201411:02 pm

Oh balls.

Richard June 16, 201411:02 pm

Crikey, Ian isn’t even here yet and there has been a goal. Clint Dempsey, who my girlfriend loves from his days with Fulham, gives the USA an incredible start.

Mark June 16, 201411:02 pm

Dempsey 30 seconds

Mark June 16, 201411:01 pm

ER 1-0 USA everybody

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