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Top 10 Similarities Between USA-Ghana and England-Germany


The similarities between England’s devastating loss to Germany Sunday and the United States’s loss to Ghana on Saturday are remarkable.

Here are ten similarities:

  1. Both games featured incredible goalkeeping performances. Neuer for Germany. Kingson for Ghana.
  2. In both games, the winning team completely outplayed their opposition.
  3. Both teams committed disastrous defensive mistakes.
  4. Both Tim Howard and David James could have done better to prevent one of the goals scored by Ghana and Germany respectively.
  5. In both the United States and England games, the opposition displayed much better technical and ball-handling skills.
  6. Both the United States and England are at a crossroads regarding the future of their youth development systems.
  7. Both coaches, Bob Bradley and Fabio Capello, made key tactical mistakes before each game. Bradley should have started Benny Feilhaber and Maurice Edu (and possibly Edson Buddle). Capello should have dropped Barry and Upson in favor of Joe Cole and Ledley King (and should have given Peter Crouch a chance).
  8. Both England and the United States had to overcome horrible refereeing decisions. The United States suffered from the lousy calls in two first round games. England suffered a terrible call against Germany when Frank Lampard’s goal was disallowed. The big difference is that the United States recovered from the adversity. England didn’t.
  9. Fans will call for both Bob Bradley and Fabio Capello to be fired. The sad fact is that neither decision would improve the situation for England or the United States. The soccer deficiencies of both countries ran far deeper than that.
  10. Both countries are nowhere near winning a World Cup trophy in the next four to eight years.

Can you think of any more similarities between both games? If so, post them in the comments section below.

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  1. anane

    September 2, 2010 at 10:36 am

    how many hours when traveling from USA to Ghana

  2. Cricketlover

    June 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I agree with you that Ledley King should have started in place of Upson. But Cole for Barry would still have left the formation as 4-4-2 which was the problem. Cole for Defoe would have made more sense as it would have moved Gerard behind Rooney with Cole on the left and Barry as defensive midfielder. England were overwhelmed in midfield and Ozil had a free reign since Barry had to go forward to support the other midfielders. Even teams in the EPL, except Spurs, play a 4-5-1 formation for good reason and at international level playing 4-4-2 is a recipe for disaster. Especially with the type of talent that England have. So I would have started with a 4-5-1 and if things didn’t work out then later go to a 4-4-2 by bringing in Defoe or Crouch. All this is hindsight but I believe the game was lost in the midfield.

  3. US Fan

    June 28, 2010 at 11:39 am

    It was a close game which means we were not outplayed by Ghana. They had the one thing that we lack, an efficient/world class striker. The USA will never make it in international competition until we get a good striker. Altidore looked pathetic and somewhat lazy while Robbie Findley is all pace and nothing else. Edson Buddle should have come on in the Ghana game but was left to rot on the bench. Charlie Davies could have added alot to the team but sadly he is/was hurt. Bob Bradley is not in the hotseat at all. He should be given another crack at the World Cup like they gave Bruce Arena. If Bradley cannot get us past this point in 2014 then he should be let go.

    • MarylandBill

      June 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm

      The game was close on the scoreboard, but I think in the first half and in extra time, Ghana definitely seemed to control the pace of the game.

      I agree, give Bradley another shot, since despite loosing in the round of 16, I think it is clear that the USA actually played better than they have in the past. Assuming that Bradley and the team shows signs of progress in the next year or two, he might get us to the quarter-finals in 2014!

  4. Dave C

    June 28, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Gaffer, I mentioned on another post that this website seems to have descended into shocking naivity and troll-baiting in recent weeks, and this is unfortunately another example.

    Even with the benefit of hindsight, you still think the two tactical errors Capello made were not changing Cole for Barry and Ledley King for Upson in the starting line up???

    Think about that for a second. Arguably England’s main problem of recent years is that it has no defensive midfielder (and no left sided midfielder either). Barry is not really a defensive midfielder (and certainly not a good one), but at least he has some positional sense to sit back and fill that space, while also allowing A Cole to get forward and compensate for the lack of a left sided midfielder.

    And your proposal is to switch him for J Cole? I presume you would suggest playing J Cole on the left, and thus the tried-and-tested (and consistently failed) pairing of Gerrard and Lampard in the middle. England’s midfield would have been over-ran even worse than it already has been! Plus, since neither Gerrard or Lampard have the discipline/common sense to sit back and cover, A Cole would have been pinned back. So we’d have even less left-sided threat that we do already.

    Secondly, sure in hindsight Upson had a horrible game (as did Terry). He has consistently played alongside Terry in qualifying, and hence the lack of understanding between the two of them was shocking. But we can all play a what-if game. What if Ledley King had started, and pulled a groin after 45 mins again. We don’t even know if he was in contention to start – it might just have been a smoke screen.

    All in all, I think I’m gonna stop reading this website before you stoop to writing articles like: “Why soccer should have 10-ft tall goals and time-outs” or “What if America’s best athlete’s played soccer…”

    • The Gaffer

      June 28, 2010 at 11:38 am

      Dave, we’re obviously not going to agree on everything. And I wrote this article because it was my honest analysis. Love it or hate the article, I still believe Capello should have started Ledley King and Joe Cole instead of the line-up he put out there.

      Just as my article has a lot of what-ifs, so does your post. I’m not criticizing your analysis. I read it, absorb it, may not agree with it, but I move on.

      The Gaffer

      • The Gaffer

        June 28, 2010 at 11:48 am

        Dave, and let me add that if you think I’m going to write stories about “Why soccer should have 10-ft tall goals and time-outs” or “What if America’s best athlete’s played soccer…”, you’re wrong.

        I think the majority of EPL Talk readers know me better. I write from my heart and what I believe in. I see lots of ways that the sport can be improved, but I don’t stoop that low.

        The Gaffer

      • Dave C

        June 28, 2010 at 1:24 pm

        Gaffer, thanks again for the reply. Don’t mean to sound like the grinch today, so I’ll hold back on the criticism…but your reply doesn’t address how you could have accomodated J Cole into the team. I think it might have made for a more interesting article if you had expanded on that – e.g. suggested playing Milner as a DM, or a midfield 3 with Rooney, Cole and Defoe up front. As it is, I think simply stating that Barry should have been swapped for J Cole doesn’t carry much weight without further explanation.

  5. A Gutted U.S. Nat Fan

    June 28, 2010 at 10:52 am

    The U.S. was “completely outplayed”? Hardly. In the first 30 minutes, OK. But we outplayed Ghana in the second half.

    Also, U.S. fans aren’t calling for Bob “to be fired.” Look at Soccer By Ives today; most fans think that Bob did a solid job during the last World Cup cycle. We merely believe in getting fresh blood for the next cycle—that is nothing against Bob, who probably will be offered and want to take a chance to coach in Europe anyway.

  6. Tim

    June 28, 2010 at 10:47 am

    The team Mick Jagger was cheering for in both games lost.

    • Gaz Hunt

      June 28, 2010 at 10:53 am

      Hah! That’s it!

      Mick Jagger lost the game for both teams.

  7. wjb13

    June 28, 2010 at 10:33 am

    The game between Argentina and Mexico was much more similar to the England-Germany game than the US-Ghana game. That’s painfully obvious. MEX and ENG were both completely ripped off by horrific officiating. But they were also both outclassed by superior teams in those games. The results are unfair, to be sure…who knows how those matches turn out if FIFA’s referees were competent.

    The US-Ghana game, meanwhile, featured two very closely matched teams in a game that went back and forth. Ghana played better for a while, then the US played better for a while, etc. It took extra time to determine a winner. Obviously, that is not at all similar to a 4-1 thrashing that could have been even worse by the end.

    I think the author and some of the English fans/writers should take a second look at things. Do you really think Ghana outplayed the US as bad as Argentina and Germany outplayed Mexico and England? Because they clearly, clearly didn’t.

    I think there is a bit of panic and desperation here. We just finished up group play where the US was the top team in the group. England had the better of play in the opening match, but couldn’t get the breaks to do better than a draw. After that, the referees were the only thing keeping the US from easily winning the group. At the end, the US and ENG weren’t all that far apart and the US was tops in the group. And then you have the Germany debacle.

    England fans are understandably still reeling from these results. So we are getting a lot of these articles trying to re-write history. Yes, England should have done better, and if the breaks went differently they could be on their way to the quarters and eventually the semis. I always root from them after the US. I was at a pub rooting for them on Sunday morning. But the suggestion that the US was, “completely outplayed,” in similar fashion to England (who were playing a much tougher opponent than the US was facing) is ridiculous. And it reeks of desperation.

    It is true that Ghana may have more technical talent and were better on the ball for parts of the match, but overall it was a very even, back-and-forth match. The England match looked like it might be that way for a while, but England were completely undone by Germany—they gave up 4 goals in 90 minutes.

    The US, meanwhile, didn’t get a great game from their normally great goaltender and still was achingly close to advancing. They gave up 1 goal over 93 mins, and shut out Ghana for 88 straight minutes after Ghana’s opening goal before giving up the winning goal. The US had more quality chances late in normal time and in extra time than Ghana—Ghana just cashed in on a hopeful long ball and some less than stellar defense. After that they were playing keep away and feigning ill. How is that completely outplaying? They just deservedly won a very close game.

  8. David

    June 28, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Sorry Gaffer. Both the scoreline and stats elsewhere on the park show USA/Ghana was a contest well England/Germany was a schooling.

    One game went to ET and was decided by a one goal margin. Not to say US deserved a win or anything, but least they made a game of it.

  9. dontcallmepaddy

    June 28, 2010 at 10:22 am

    The key difference is that the US at the very least met expectations in this tournament, while the English leave with their heads hanging in shame, with only the catastrophic French and Italians keeping them from being the biggest disgrace in it.

  10. jason

    June 28, 2010 at 9:58 am

    USA certainly saw value in the Confederations Cup. So the Gold Cup 2011 is going to be a big tournament. There won’t be a B squad like there was in 2009.

  11. Dave B.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:39 am

    It’ll be interesting to see if the US is able to take the relative success of this World Cup and finally take a couple of big steps forward. If you think about it the team has been in pretty much the same spot for a while now … a powerhouse in CONCACAF that ultimately can’t hang with the big boys consistently.

    I think the Confederation’s Cup showed the potential the US has. Now the trick will be to produce a team that plays like that regularly without the big swings in quality on the pitch.

    If we do so we can start rubbing elbows with the European and South American sides and perhaps start really threatening to make some noise in the World Cup.

    Don’t get me wrong, finishing top of the group over two European qualifiers is a big deal. Just would have been a bigger deal ultimately if we didn’t get beaten (again) by Ghana.

    • Sergio Lima

      June 28, 2010 at 4:49 pm

      Once is going to take a while for the USA to build a really professional and strong Soccer League. The short cut for real improvement would be the integration between CONCACAF and COMEBOL, the confederations from North and Central and the Confederation from South America. If instead of dividing the American continent in two, the American soccer politics could push for one body governing the three Americas, it would sure be a great step towards improvement. Imagine American teams playing the “copa liberatdores de America” and being able to face every single year the soccer power houses from south America? Imagine the American national team disputing a full continent tournament, a real “copa America”? You can only improving your game when you play official tournaments against the best in the business and today, the only opportunity for the Americans is in the world cup every four years, your dead. Concacaf has no soccer power house teams and probably will never have. USA and Mexico are in deep trouble and should stop suporting the Concacaf as their home. The integration is the answer and I know, because I already had a chance to ask, that the countries in South America would welcome and embrace the central and north American countries into their competitions. There is no reason not to integrate. But we know the Mexican federation would be against. They have their own issues with the Americans because of this immigration debacle. And because they want to be the only ones integrating somehow with the south. As it is today, the Mexican teams are already disputing the “Copa libertadores de America”. The USA soccer federation should start playing hard ball and take hard positions. FIFA won’t like it but, they can’t hurt you more than you already hurting yourself.

  12. Angry Trey

    June 28, 2010 at 9:05 am

    To compare the two countries in soccer is pretty stupid in my opinion. England is/was a soccer power. They are supposed to be returning to greatness but failed. The U.S. is just another team trying to elevate their team to new levels. The United States is still trying to grow soccer while soccer is all England has and still isnt good at it….

    If the U.S. was ran off the field by Ghana, then England was much worse. England failed to show up if thats the case.

    • dlink09

      June 28, 2010 at 6:39 pm

      ” England is/was a soccer power” — right now there is no “is”

  13. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    June 28, 2010 at 8:44 am

    For what it is worth, the US in the final ranking of teams 1-32 will finish ahead of both England and Mexico. However, as I have said for years if the countries we aspire to top are England and Mexico, we will never be relevant in world football.

    BTW, a place where Poker et al were right about the Americans is in terminology. I read in numerous places the US lost in “overtime to Ghana,” on Saturday. Their is no such thing as overtime in football. It is called extra time. It has always been called that. We need to get the terminology right to be taken seriously. This is different than terms like “side, pitch, etc” which are English colloquiums and can be termed differently elsewhere. Extra time is the actual term used in the sport by FIFA and other governing bodies. The term “overtime” is an American creation that should only apply to American sport.

    I think the English fans attacking us on this site go way too far, but it is little things like that which give them ammunition.

    • Gaz Hunt

      June 28, 2010 at 10:51 am

      “I think the English fans attacking us on this site go way too far…”

      Look at the comments on this post and the last few posts put up (So Much For Three Lions, 5 Reasons Why England Aren’t Good Enough…, etc). English fans attacking the US?

      Pot, kettle, black.

  14. Patrick

    June 28, 2010 at 7:35 am

    The USA where the better team for much of the Ghana match. They should have won. The entire second half Ghana was under pressure, and only till dead legs took over in extra time did Ghana pull out out of a hat.

    The only thing the same about the USA and England is they where in the same group.

    England had the talent to get to the semis if they had just won the group.
    The US played liked they cared, like it meant something to them. England went through the motions as if it was owed to them.

    Frankly as a supporter of US Soccer, this post is borderline offensive. I get that you are just connecting a few dots in similar spots. but for the most part these two teams are headed in totally different directions. The US is getting better and better supported. England is becoming irrelevant on the world stage and fans are now becoming club over country… Just check out the forums at footymad….

    England was a disgrace this world cup and they will hang their head when they return to England Tuesday. The USA team will be celebrated….thos dots don’t connect.

    • Sergio Lima

      June 28, 2010 at 10:01 am

      I agree with you one hundred percent.

  15. Annamaria

    June 28, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Both are english-speaking countries. Maybe if they made french their first language. OK, never mind. That won’t work either. Spanish, maybe? 🙂

    • Patrick

      June 28, 2010 at 7:26 am

      Ghana is also an English speaking country. just sayin…

  16. erik the viking

    June 28, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Sorry mate but Germany played England off the park.
    Men against boys. Disgraceful performance by England.
    Ghana and the USA was a much tighter game and you could argue that after the first 25 minutes the US were the better side.

    • The Gaffer

      June 28, 2010 at 7:29 am

      Erik, I agree that Germany played England off the park. When did I not say that? As for Ghana, they played the US off the park during the first half, during some of the second half and all of extra time. Over the course of the entire 120 minutes, Ghana outplayed the United States.

      The Gaffer

      • Nate

        June 28, 2010 at 10:24 am

        USA Outplayed Ghana for the second half and much of extra time.. The two matches don’t even compare.

  17. sucka99

    June 28, 2010 at 6:23 am

    both countries’ economies are headed for a double dip recession which will hamper the ability for their domestic leagues to spend the kind of money the fans want them to.

    • MarylandBill

      June 28, 2010 at 9:33 am

      I kind of disagree with the notion that the U.S. Side was completely outplayed by Ghana. Did Ghana play the better game? Absolutely, and they deserved to win. But the U.S. definitely outplayed them through much of the second half (At least until they got the goal).

      In regards to youth development, I think both countries have the basic problem that more kids these days would prefer to play soccer on their video game systems than in the field with friends.

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