IRENE - The United States
believe they have a huge opportunity to do something special in
this World Cup and forget the sense of finality and pain from
2006 when they lost at the hands of their next opponents, Ghana.
The U.S., who went out four years ago after losing to Ghana
in the last game of their group stage, will face the African
nation on Saturday, after topping their group on Wednesday night
with a dramatic goal against Algeria in added time.
"That was not a good day for me or for the team and what I
remember most personally was my tentativeness and the immediate
feeling afterwards of the finality of it and how disappointing
that was," Landon Donovan told reporters, referring to the match
four years earlier in Germany.
"I've already put it behind me but this is a chance to do
something very special.
"Ghana is next, we are aware that if we were to win that
game it would be Uruguay and South Korea. I can't emphasise how
big this opportunity is and we need to take advantage of it."
Donovan, who scored the late winner on Wednesday night, said
the players would in many ways feel less pressure in their next
game after achieving their first goal of getting out of the
"In a lot of ways it becomes very simple," he said,
surrounded by a growing number of reporters. "There's one game,
you lose, you go home. There's no ramifications of other games,
"So the pressure is off and we can just go and enjoy it and
I think we'll play really well under the circumstances."
Coach Bob Bradley said his team now had the opportunity to
test themselves against stronger opposition and said they would
take great heart from the way they handled their first round.
"There's pressure to deal with it and find a way to move
on," he said. "And when you do that then that's a good feeling
and you're ready to get on to the knock out phase."
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