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USA vs Ghana Pick – World Cup June 16th

Ghana: +162
Draw: +225
USA: +220

A third straight winner tonight, as our over 2.5 goals comes in on Argentina/Bosnia.

Although Ghana have question marks over the goalkeeping and defensive departments, they are strong in midfield and attack. Central midfielders Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari have experience, power and technical ability, while Juventus left-winger Kwadwo Asamoah is quick in attack and diligent in defence. Kevin-Prince Boateng is coming off a good season with Schalke, and the Ayew brothers Andre and Jordan (sons of Ghana legend Abedi Pele) both carry a goal threat. Indeed, Jordan Ayew recently scored a hat-trick in a friendly win over South Korea.

USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann has rubbished suggestions that his side can win the World Cup. Those comments have polarised opinion in the States, as did the German coach’s decision to leave iconic forward Landon Donovan twiddling his thumbs at home. Omitting a man who has scored more World Cup Finals goals for the USA than anyone else suggests that Klinsmann is building for the future, and some of his young charges may be about to learn some harsh lessons. Although Donovan’s absence does reduce the USA’s firepower, skipper Clint Dempsey is still an experienced and classy forward, and attacking midfielder Michael Bradley is arguably in the best form of his career. The patchy form of Dempsey’s strike partner Jozy Altidore is a concern – although he scored twice in the recent 2-1 friendly win over Nigeria, he netted just one goal in 31 Premier League appearances for Sunderland, and I’ve seen brick walls with a lighter first touch. The big problems are in defensive midfield and in the back four. Full-backs Fabian Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley are good going forward but potentially vulnerable against good wide players, and centre-back Matt Besler lacks experience and can be a bit clumsy. In front of the defence, Klinsmann has chopped and changed his formation, and he effectively used two holding players (Kyle Beckermann and Jermaine Jones) against Nigeria.

Klinsmann is a great motivator but I don’t think he knows what his best formation is, and I have questions about his tactical nous. His players are athletic and will cope with the heat, but I can’t see them resisting Ghana’s power going forward. I can’t look beyond the +162 on offer for a Ghana win. While the over 2.5 goals market may offer some value at +156, I feel USA may struggle to find the back of the net, requiring Ghana to score 3. Backing Ghana for the win I feel is the better option.

Recommendation:

Ghana to win +162

 

Tournament P+L:

+3.92 units (3-1)