Ghana and United States will meet on Monday at Arena das Dunas for the third time in a row in the World Cup, a rivalry that so far has been dominated by the Black Stars.
In 2006, the African side won 2-1 in their last game of the group phase, making it to the second round in the process and sending the Americans home. Four years later, it was again a 2-1 in aggregate time in the round of 16.
A defeat won’t mean elimination this time for either side but, considering they have Germany and Portugal as next opponents this is a game both need to win to have a chance of surviving what many consider the Group of Death.
A USA team without Landon Donovan seems unthinkable but the man with 157 caps and 57 goals was axed by Jürgen Klinsmann ahead of the finals, so a new era beckons.
Well, not really. The squad still includes three players with a century of caps and that trio – Tim Howard, DaMarcus Beasley and captain Clint Dempsey – will all feature against Ghana.
The rain has not stopped for days in Natal, and that could have a say in the game’s outcome.