Andre Ayew: No way Ghana can lose
Ghanaian midfielder Andre Ayew said that while he expects the U.S. to be prepared for Monday's Group G World Cup match, he sees no way that the Black Stars can lose.
"I think if you are a team and you lose twice vs. a country, say, Ghana, as in 2006 and in 2010, if you have the opportunity to meet them in 2014, I think you do everything to beat them," the Olympique de Marseille winger said of the match set for rainy Natal. "Not just for them but for their pride and for their country."
Ghana and the U.S. have only faced each other twice on the football field, both times in World Cup matches, both times in eliminators, and both times Ghana have won. Ghana-United States is a repeat of a last-16 clash in South Africa four years ago when Ghana edged the States 2-1 after extra time. Having been part of the U.S. side beaten by Ghana in Rustenburg, United States goalkeeper Tim Howard believes Kwesi Appiah's men will pose a physical challenge.
"I think they are very similar [to 2010]. They are strong individually," the Everton goalkeeper said. "Obviously, we know how physical they are so we are going to try to match that. I've said it before, very rarely do we get outmatched physically but this is a team that has the possibility of doing that."
In 2006, Ghana beat the U.S. in a group stage match that saw the Americans exit the tournament. Ayew said both victories bode well for the future.
"But we also are winners. We have won twice. And as we say there is no two without three, so we want to try and beat them for the third time," he said. "We know it is going to be very difficult. They are prepared but we are also prepared. We are not thinking about what the U.S. side can do. I believe in all our players I believe in the group. If we are fit and we are all 100 percent there is no way that we aren't going to win this game."
The match will be Monday's second in Group G after Portugal-Germany meet earlier in the day in Salvador. As well as looking to exact revenge for their World Cup exit four years ago, the United States will also be eager to keep their hopes of progression alive in a tough group. However, Howard sought to downplay the impact of their last meeting.
"Not a word's been spoken [about the game four years ago]," he said. "We've said that all along. That was four years ago. It's ancient history, really, in the way football is looked at. This is a different team, with a different mind-set."