USA Eliminated From 2006 World Cup After Disappointing 2-1 Loss to Ghana

NUREMBERG Germany (From USSoccer.com) – Behind a penalty kick goal at the end of the first half Ghana eliminated the United States 2-1 from the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

In the other Group E finale Italy topped the Czech Republic 2-0 to win the group with seven points. Ghana finished in second with six points while the Czech Republic was third with three points.

"U.S. Soccer has a bright future. I think in another group we would have had a better chance to advance said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. "I think we were among the top half of the teams in this tournament. Despite the two losses I think we demonstrated that we can play.

"You see some of the other groups some of the games are very lopsided. This group was a real battle. I’m proud to have been in this group and survived into day three. We’re disappointed and we think we could have advanced today. I’m sure the Ghanian team says the same thing and they certainly did so give them credit."

In the 22nd minute Ghana got on the board when Claudio Reyna turned the ball over and Haminu Draman was in free vs. Kasey Keller and scored.

Reyna injured on the play was taken off on a stretcher but returned to the field in the 27th minute. He would only play another 13 minutes however as he was substituted out in favor of Ben Olsen who was making his World Cup debut.

DaMarcus Beasley created the first chance for the U.S. battling three Ghana players and forcing a bad pass. He dribbled behind the defense and sent an early cross that Clint Dempsey buried first time to even the score at 1-1 in the 43rd minute.

Then in first-half stoppage time referee Markus Merk called a penalty as Oguchi Onyewu won a challenge with Razak Pimpong at the top of the area. Stephen Appiah buried the penalty kick and Ghana took the one-goal lead into the locker room at the half.

"It's extremely disappointing Keller said. "We put ourselves in position to be able to advance in the third game. Obviously we’re disappointed with the decision of the referee but at the end of it we didn't make the plays that we needed to make. It's as simple as that."

The U.S. brought on Eddie Johnson for Steve Cherundolo in the 61st minute and the change sparked the U.S. offense. In the 66th minute Eddie Lewis dribbled to the end line on the left wing before driving a low cross that Brian McBride re-directed off the near post. One minute later Oneywu’s attempt off a Landon Donovan corner kick went just high.

For the remainder of the match the U.S. pressured but Ghana did as well. The game opened up and was end to end but neither team was able to convert their chances.

Notes: Olsen made his World Cup debut … Jimmy Conrad made his first World Cup start …. The U.S. was without Pablo Mastroeni and Eddie Pope who were suspended for their red cards earned vs. Italy on June 17 … The U.S. is now 0-1-0 vs. Ghana all time … The U.S. has an overall 6-16-3 record in the World Cup including 2-4-2 under Bruce Arena.

-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match-up: USA vs. Ghana
Date: June 22 2006
Competition: 2006 FIFA World Cup – Group E
Venue: Frankenstadion; Nuremberg Germany
Kickoff: 4 p.m.
Attendance: 41000
Weather: 72 degrees mostly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
GHA 2 0 2

GHA – Haminu Draman (unassisted) 22nd minute
USA – Clint Dempsey (DaMarcus Beasley) 43.
GHA – Stephen Appiah (PK) 47+

Lineups:

USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 6-Steve Cherundolo (9-Eddie Johnson 61) 13-Jimmy Conrad 22-Oguchi Onyewu 3-Carlos Bocanegra; 10-Claudio Reyna (14-Ben Olsen 40) 8-Clint Dempsey 21-Landon Donovan 17-DaMarcus Beasley 7-Eddie Lewis (15-Bobby Convey 74); 20-Brian McBride
Subs not used: 1-Tim Howard 19-Marcus Hahnemann 2-Chris Albright 5-John O’Brien 11-Brian Ching 12-Gregg Berhalter 16-Josh Wolff
Manager: Bruce Arena

GHA: 22-Richard Kingson; 15-John Pantsil 5-John Mensah 13-Habib Mohamed 7-Illiasu Shilla; 8-Michael Essien 9-Derek Boateng (20-Otto Addo 46) 10-Stephen Appiah 23-Haminu Draman (12-Alex Tachie-Mensah 80); 14-Matthew Amoah (18-Eric Addo 59) 19-Razak Pimpong
Subs not used: 1-Sammy Adjeu 16-George Owu 2-Hans Sarpei 4-Samuel Kuffour 6-Emmanuel Pappoe 17-Daniel Quaye
Head Coach: Ratomir Dujkovic

Misconduct Summary:
GHA – Michael Essien (caution) 5th minute
USA – Eddie Lewis (caution) 7.
GHA – Illiasu Shilla (caution) 32.
GHA – John Mensah (caution) 81.
GHA – Stephen Appiah (caution) 91+

Officials:
Referee: Markus Merk (GER)
1st Asst.: Christian Schraer (GER)
2nd Asst.: Jan-Hendrik Salver (GER)
Fourth Official: Toru Kamikawa (JPN)