RECIFE, Brazil – The United States have caught a break in their quest to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup thanks to wild unrest on the Ghana team that's led to the dismissal of two prominent players.
If the U.S. should lose Thursday (noon ET) to Germany, Ghana is in best position to qualify for the second spot in Group G instead if it can defeat Portugal soundly. Goal differential would determine the tie breaker. Ghana, however, will be without veteran star Kevin-Prince Boateng after he was kicked off the team due to "vulgar verbal insults targeted at coach Kwesi Appiah," the team announced Thursday.
"Boateng has since showed no remorse for his actions which has resulted in the decision," the Black Stars said in a statement.
Also thrown off the team was star Sulley Ali Muntari, who engaged in an "unprovoked physical attack on an Executive Committee member of the [club]" during a meeting on Tuesday. Muntari even chased the committee member around the team hotel while wielding a broken bottle, according to Ghanasportsonline.com.
Muntari was already sitting out the game against Portugal after amassing two yellow cards, but the fight suggests mass anger within the team.
The dismissals are perhaps related to players demanding that Ghana bring its World Cup pay, in cash, to Brazil after fears they would get cheated. The Ghana Football Association flew more than $3 million into Brazil this week.
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The Black Stars' state of mind and motivation heading into the Portugal game are uncertain. For the U.S., eager to keep all avenues of advancement possible, however, the fights, arguments and suspensions can't be a bad sign.
Ghana and Portugal will play simultaneously as the U.S. and Germany.
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