Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan reintroduced himself to US Soccer on Sunday evening telling reporters at the pre-match press conference in Natal that “Ghana is the more talented team.”
While those on hand, including Soccerwire’s Charles Boehm, were quick to point out that the comment was made causally and without intent to inflame the pre-match banter, the soundbite nevertheless goes a long way to shedding light on the Ghanaians psyche heading into Monday’s match.
“Ghana is the more talented team. We’ve got young, talented players who are coming up. Talking about the tournament, I think we’ve got the youngest team, and most of the players are playing well in their clubs, they are in great shape.
The United States team, they are a good side. We’ve watched them a couple of times, they are a very dangerous team. But we don’t think about other teams, we think of ourselves first. It’s going to be like they’re coming for revenge. I think mentally, they don’t want us to beat them for the third time, which is going to make the game very, very interesting and difficult for us.”
Ghana have knocked the US out of the last two World Cups. In 2006, they handed the Yanks a 2-1 loss in the final match of the group stage while in 2010, Gyan scored an extra time goal to defeat the Americans 2-1 in the Round of 16. Whether the Black Stars have more talent than the Americans is debatable but there’s hardly any surprise that, as the youngest team in the tournament, ‘talent’ is the adjective Gyan uses to describe the squad.
Arguably the more important sound from the former Sunderland striker is the second bit, which sets forth a keen understanding of the US heading into the game. First and foremost, there’s on-field respect. Secondly, Gyan understands just how huge a match this is for the US, not only to help get out of Group G but from a revenge perspective.
So good on Gyan for playing it cool. Physically and mentally, Ghana will be ready for the US and vice versa. It’s all there for the taking, no additional motivation required.