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USA Set for Second Round World Cup Clash With Ghana


The second round of the World Cup begins Saturday with two matches in the so-called knock-out stage.

Kicking off the second round in Port Elizabeth will be Uruguay, which finished first in Group A, against South Korea, which was runner-up in Group B.

All second round matches must have a winner, so if games are tied after regulation, 30 minutes of extra time will be played. If teams are still deadlocked, a penalty kick shootout will decide the winner.

The second match Saturday features the United States soccer team, the winner of Group C, against Ghana, the runner-up from Group D. They play in Rustenburg, where the USA played to a tie with England (1-1) in its opening World Cup match.

At a pre-game news conference, U.S. coach Bob Bradley shared his thoughts on Ghana. "A talented team, athletic team, mobile," he said. "We all know the types of players that Ghana has produced, the great youth teams they've had and the fact that they have been able to, I think, do a very good job of turning very good teams at the U-17 and U-20 level into very good teams at the full national team level."

At the last World Cup four years ago in Germany, Ghana knocked the USA out with a 2-1 win in final group round-robin match. U.S. team captain Carlos Boganegra says the make-up of both teams is different, plus this is a second round knockout encounter.

"They have some new players. It's two new teams," he said. "It's a new challenge for us now. We're in the round of 16 so it's a whole new tournament. They are one-off games [win you stay, lose you go home] and we're pretty excited about that. You know last year [at the Confederations Cup in South Africa] we got confidence that in one-off games we can play with anyone, so we'll see how far we can go now."

Landon Donovan, whose stoppage time goal beat Algeria Wednesday to get the USA into the second round, offered his thoughts on Ghana. "They're going to be a very difficult team to play against," he said. "Their athleticism will be difficult to deal with. My guess is that they will have quite a bit of support. Like a lot of African teams they are fairly unpredictable sometimes, which can be a plus or a minus."

England, which finished as runner-up to the United States in Group C, plays its second round match Sunday against Germany in Bloemfontain. Germany topped Group D. That match assures that one of the pre-World Cup favorites will be going home before the quarterfinals.

England goalkeeper David James thinks it's a great match-up. "I'm delighted for England as a nation that we've got an opportunity to play Germany," he said. "I think when the sort of build-up was there that the possibility was something that the people were looking forward to. Now it's a reality, that we are going to be playing Germany. It gives everyone at home an opportunity to hopefully - and I'm confident that we will do it - enjoy what will be a great game of football and a good victory for England."

Sunday's other second round match will be played at huge Soccer City stadium here in Johannesburg. It features Group B winner Argentina against Group A runner-up Mexico. Argentina, under legendary former player and now head coach Diego Maradona, looked impressive in winning all three of its group matches.

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