Americans take momentum into rematch

US v Ghana, Today, 7.30pm, ITV1, Rustenburg

There are nearly 600 miles separating Pretoria from Port Elizabeth but news of Landon Donovan's stoppage-time goal in the Loftus Versfeld travelled with the speed of a thunderclap. It meant that, of the two teams who were swapping shirts on the pitch, Slovenia were now out of the World Cup and England suddenly found themselves thrown towards Germany's cold embrace.

It was, however, appropriate that Bill Clinton should have been in Pretoria to see the United States overcome Algeria at the death. To borrow his own nickname, Bob Bradley's boys have become the Comeback Kids of this World Cup.

When Donovan went to collect his man-of-the-match award at the Loftus Versfeld, he dissolved into an emotional speech in which he mentioned two of his great hurts; his divorce from his wife, the actress Bianca Kajlich, and the United States' elimination from the 2006 World Cup. However, if his marriage did not permit Donovan a second chance, football did. This evening, Donovan will come face to face with the Ghana side that four years ago in Nuremberg dumped America out of the World Cup. In a very different stadium and in a very different town, they meet again.

For the good of the tournament, many might hope Ghana prevail. The front cover of Fifa's brochure for this World Cup features a photograph of Nelson Mandela holding the trophy next to a headline that reads "A Time for Africa". Africa, partly though its own incompetence, partly by the ill-fortune of Ivory Coast once more being thrown into a "Group of Death", has missed its time.

The argument put forward by Ghana's manager, Milovan Rajevac, that Africa from Cape Bon to the Cape of Good Hope will be rooting for his side suggests a unity to the continent that barely exists within its own football squads. The South African team was said to be split between those from Natal and players from Soweto.

And although Ghana have not been as chaotically riven as Cameroon, Sulley Muntari, whose move from Portsmouth to Internazionale must count as one of football's great escapes, admitted he had rounded on Rajevac after Ghana had failed to overcome an Australian side reduced to 10 men in the same Royal Bafokeng Stadium where they will meet the United States tonight.

"I fought with the coach because I was nervous," Muntari admitted. "We had let a winnable game slide through our hands. We have now made peace for the good of Ghana."

However, Ghana, who knocked out the United States with a Stephen Appiah penalty in Nuremberg, have yet to score a goal from open play in South Africa, while the United States have had no such difficulty. Had they not hit Robert Green's post, and seen what appeared two perfectly good goals from Clint Dempsey and Maurice Edu disallowed against Algeria and Slovenia, they would have topped Group C by an even greater margin. Emotion may be with Ghana but momentum is with the Americans.

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Life & Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the Peak District National Park
tech
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
News
Ethical matters: pupils during a philosophy lesson
educationTaunton School's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal