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Sports News of Friday, 26 June 2020


Today in sports history: Ghana beat USA to progress to 2010 World Cup quarter-finals

A file photo of the Black Stars after Asamoah Gyan scored the match winner on the day A file photo of the Black Stars after Asamoah Gyan scored the match winner on the day

On this day 26 June 2010 (Exactly 10 years ago today) Ghana became the only the third African side to reach the quarter-final stage at the FIFA World Cup after Asamoah Gyan smashed an extra-time winner to knock out the USA at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa.

The Black Stars, the only remaining African team in the tournament, emulated Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.

Ghana, who defeated the USA 2-1 in a crucial group match at the 2006 World Cup, appeared to have the measure of Bob Bradley’s team after Kevin-Prince Boateng gave them an early lead in Rustenburg with a low strike.

But the Americans came back strongly after the break and equalised through a Landon Donovan penalty.

They seemed the most likely winners of a contest that had seen Ghana lose the drive and purpose that characterised their first-half play.

Ghana had not scored twice in a match in 2010 and both their previous goals in South Africa had come from the penalty spot, but they were the superior team in extra-time and survived some nervous final moments to seal a famous win.

Milovan Rajevac’s team, playing a 4-2-3-1 system and showing incredible strength and desire, dominated the opening half to the extent that US midfielder Ricardo Clark was substituted after just 30 minutes.

The Black Stars' goal after five minutes was partly the fault of the unfortunate Clark, who had his pocket picked by Boateng deep in his own half.

The Portsmouth midfielder, who made several telling runs from deep positions before fading after the break, closed in on goal before delivering a low left-foot strike from 18 yards that Tim Howard might feel he ought to have saved.

The US, who won their group, continued to create problems of their own making, with Jay DeMerit allowing a long kick downfield from Richard Kingson to reach Kwadwo Asamoah, whose low strike was brilliantly saved by Howard.

Former US president Bill Clinton watched from the stands as Ghana, sporting a distinct red and yellow strip, smothered their opposition, who struggled to retain possession.

But Michael Bradley did get in behind once during the opening half, while a mistake by the uncertain Jonathan Mensah resulted in Clint Dempsey playing in Robbie Findlay, but the striker’s shot was well saved.

Coach Bradley had been decisive in his withdrawal of Clark and replaced striker Findley with midfield Benny Feilhaber at the break, pushing Dempsey into a more advanced position.

It was a decision that almost paid instant dividends when the substitute was played through, but a heavy first touch allowed Kingston to advance from his goal and block Feilhaber’s subsequent shot.

Donovan’s equaliser from the spot went in off the post after Jonathan Mensah ended Dempsey’s surging run into the box with a late and clumsy challenge.

Ghana had gone completely off the boil and might have fallen behind when a ball over the top caught out their high line of defence but Kingson, who had an excellent game, was again quickly off his line to deny Jozy Altidore and, later, a low strike from Bradley.

Altidore tussled with John Mensah as Ghana struggled to deal with a long ball – and despite going to ground the US striker almost scored with a low strike.

The Americans profligacy was punished in the third minute of extra-time when Gyan showed strength and composure to control a long ball forward with his chest and bury his strike from a wide-angle despite the close proximity of two defenders.

Ghana Line-up: Richard Kingson, John Pantsil, Hans Sarpei/Lee Addy, Jonathan Mensah, John Mensah, Anthony Annan, Samuel Inkoom/Sulley Muntari, Kevin Prince Boateng/Stephen Appiah, Kwadwo Asamoah, Asamoah Gyan, Andre Ayew

Manager: Milovan Rajevac

USA Line-up: Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Bradley, Steve Cherundolo, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Jonathan Bornstein, Ricardo Clark/Maurice Edu, Jay DeMerit, Jozy Altidore, Robbie Findley/Benny Feilhaber

Manager: Bob Bradley

Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)

Attendance: 34,976


On this day 26 June 1992 (Exactly 28 years ago today) Denmark beat Germany 2-0 to win their only European Championship at the Ullevi in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Underdogs Denmark took the lead in the first half from a John Jensen right-footed shot into the top right-hand corner of the net from just inside the penalty box. Denmark sealed the victory with a second goal from Kim Vilfort with 12 minutes to go, Vilfort shooting low left footed in off the bottom-right corner of the post and past Bodo Illgner. With this result, Denmark captured their first-ever major championship at the expense of the defending World Champions.

The first big chance of the match fell to the Germans after Matthias Sammer sprang Stefan Reuter into a one on one with Peter Schmeichel. Reuter attempted to chip the keeper who had gone to ground, but the Manchester United keeper raised his arms to deflect the shot.

Denmark took the lead in the nineteenth minute after a move that began by winning possession near the German corner flag, via a crunching tackle on Andreas Brehme by Kim Vilfort. Flemming Povlsen picked up the loose ball, and pulled the ball back to John Jensen just inside the penalty area. Jensen sent the ball into the top corner of the net, with the pace on the shot carrying it past Bodo Illgner.

Jensen almost scored again, after hitting a Brian Laudrup corner on the volley, forcing Illgner into a save. For most of the first half, and early in the second half, Germany had the majority of the possession and shots, but were unable to generate many clear chances, with the Danes blocking several German attempts.

Jürgen Klinsmann had an excellent chance to level the scores late on in the match, but Schmeichel reacted brilliantly to tip the German’s effort over the crossbar.

Denmark sealed the upset in the 78th minute, when Claus Christiansen won a header on the halfway line, Vilfort reacted first, receiving the pass on the run. With his second touch, Vilfort took the ball away from Brehme and Thomas Helmer, and with his third, he sent a low effort toward goal which bounced off Illgner’s post, and into the net.

Denmark had qualified only after FR Yugoslavia (who qualified as Yugoslavia) was disqualified as a result of the breakup and warfare in the country.

Denmark Line-up: Peter Schmeichel, Lars Olsen (C), Torben Piechnik, Kent Nielsen, John Siverbaek (Claus Christiansen), Kim Christofte, John Jensen, Kim Vilfort, Henrik Larsen, Brian Laudrup, Fleming Poulsen

Manager: Richard Moller Nielsen

Germany: Bodo Illgner, Guido Buchwald, Jurgen Kohler, Thomas Helmer, Stafan Reiter, Andreas Brehme (C), Mathias Sammer (Thomas Doll), Stafan Effenberg (Andreas Thom), Thomas Häßler, Karl- Heinz Riedle, Jurgen Klinsman

Manager: Berti Vogts

Referee: Bruno Galler (Switzerland)

Attendance: 37,800

On this day 26 June 2014 (Exactly 6 years ago today) Uruguay striker Luis Suarez was suspended from all football-related activity for four months for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in a world cup match.

In addition, the then Liverpool player, 27, was also banned for nine international matches, ruling him out of the rest of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.