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United States downs Ghana 2-1 in World Cup thanks to Brooks' goal

By Steve Almasy, CNN
updated 2:39 AM EDT, Tue June 17, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Clint Dempsey scored after 29 seconds and the United States led for the next 81 minutes
  • Ghana's Andre Ayew tied the score at 1-1
  • John Brooks, who started the match on the bench, scored the winning goal late on

(CNN) -- Substitute John Brooks' headed goal four minutes from time gave the United States a dramatic 2-1 victory over Ghana in a Group G opening round World Cup match on Monday.

Brooks scored from a corner kick just four minutes after Andre Ayew of Ghana equalized by giving Ghana the goal that had eluded its grasp much of the night.

Clint Dempsey had given the United States a 1-0 lead with the quickest goal ever for the U.S. in a World Cup match.

He netted just 29 seconds into the match, breaking into the penalty area and striking home a left-footed shot past sprawling Ghana goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey. It was the fifth fastest goal in World Cup history.

Read: Germany hammers Portugal 4-0

"We have a great spirit and (we) fight until the last second," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "There is undoubtedly things that we need to improve. At the end of the day we got the three points."

American fans celebrate on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach after the United States beat Ghana 2-1 in a World Cup match Monday, June 16, in Natal, Brazil. Today is the fifth day of the soccer tournament, which is being held in 12 cities across Brazil. See yesterday's best photos American fans celebrate on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach after the United States beat Ghana 2-1 in a World Cup match Monday, June 16, in Natal, Brazil. Today is the fifth day of the soccer tournament, which is being held in 12 cities across Brazil. See yesterday's best photos
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Italy's contest with Brazil at the 1982 World Cup is considered one of the greatest games in the tournament's history. A Paolo Rossi hat-trick ensured Italy won the second round match 3-2 and deprived Brazil a place in the semifinals. Instead, Italy went on to defeat West Germany 3-1 in the final with Rossi on target once again.
Italy's contest with Brazil at the 1982 World Cup is considered one of the greatest games in the tournament's history. A Paolo Rossi hat-trick ensured Italy won the second round match 3-2 and deprived Brazil a place in the semifinals. Instead, Italy went on to defeat West Germany 3-1 in the final with Rossi on target once again.
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The 2-1 scoreline was familiar but a turnaround from the 2006 and 2010 World Cups when Ghana eliminated the United States each time by the same score.

After a frustrating first half, Ghana threatened more often in the second 45 minutes, finally getting the goal that seemed would be their destiny eight minutes from the end.

Ayew finished neatly with the outside of his left boot after a flowing move that saw him collect a back heel from striker Asamoah Gyan.

The favored Ghanaians spent much of the game in the U.S. end. They often knocked the ball around as the Americans sat back on defense, trying not to be beaten by the Africans' speed.

Ghana, the youngest team in the tournament, attacked incessantly down the right side of the field in the first half, only to be undone by poor crosses that sailed high and wide.

The United States chose to rely on counterattacks and in the 19th minute almost doubled its 1-0 lead when striker Jozy Altidore had a good chance that was thwarted by a sliding defender.

It was heartbreak for the young American, who left the match with a hamstring injury two minutes later. He was replaced by Aron Johansson.

The Americans spent much of the second half chasing the ball and only mustered a Dempsey shot in the 79th minute that was easily saved by Kwarasey until Brooks' stunning goal, his first in an international match.

U.S. goalie Tim Howard had four saves. Kwarasey had three.

The United States faces Portugal on Sunday, while Ghana plays Germany on Saturday.

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