Ghana has eliminated the United States from World Cup play the last two tournaments. The Americans might have landed the knockout punch this time.
John Brooks came off the bench to score the game-winner in the 86th minute and give the Americans a much-needed 2-1 win over Ghana in the World Cup opener for both teams. Graham Zusi (ZOO'-see) sent a corner kick toward the net and watched as Brooks headed it in, four minutes after Ghana tied the score. Brooks became the first substitute to score a goal for the United States in World Cup competition.
Brooks had appeared in just four U.S. national matches before entering this one at halftime.
The Americans got off to a quick start as Clint Dempsey put them ahead just 29 seconds into the game. It was the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history, and the fastest by a U.S. player.
Dempsey also became the first U.S. player to score in three different World Cups, and the lead held up until Andre Ayew (ay-OO') beat Tim Howard in the 82nd minute.
The Yanks closed out the win without forward Jozy Altidore (JOH'-zee AL'-tah-dohr), who was carried off on a stretcher after his left hamstring gave out in the 21st minute. He awaits tests that will determine whether he can return for this World Cup.
Also in World Cup play:
-- Thomas Mueller scored a hat trick as Germany ripped Portugal 4-0.
-- Nigeria and Iran played to a 0-0 stalemate, the first draw of the World Cup.