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United States kick off FIFA World Cup campaign tomorrow, news and notes

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The United States kick off their World Cup campaign tomorrow against Ghana in Natal, Brazil at the Estadio das Dunas. The match kicks off at 3:00pm Pacific on ESPN and Univision, with both networks also providing streams of the match.

Kevin C. Cox

The United States kick off their World Cup campaign tomorrow against Ghana in Natal, Brazil at the Estadio das Dunas. The match kicks off at 3:00pm Pacific on ESPN and Univision, with both networks also providing streams of the match.

It'll be the third straight World Cup where the US and Ghana face off. Ghana eliminated the US in the round of 16 last World Cup, and beat the US in the final match of the group stage in 2006 eliminating the US from the tournament. Those two matches give the US a 0-2-0 record against Ghana, losing 2-1 in both fixtures.

The opener will mark the 30th World Cup match for the United States, the 10th for Ghana. The Yanks have gone 7-17-5 all time.  This is the seventh consecutive World Cup that the US has qualified for, and the tenth overall tournament. Ghana has qualified for the last three consecutive, the only three Ghana has qualified for in its history.

Appearing on the roster for the US are just five players with prior World Cup experience: Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, DeMarcus Beasley, and Jozy Altidore. Beasley is the third US players to appear in four World Cups, having come up with Landon Donovan and debuted at the 2002 World Cup. Kasey Keller and Claudio Reyna are the other two.

News and notes:

*This is also the twentieth anniversary of the moment that got the US where it is today, hosting the World Cup in 1994. FIFA has grown up a lot since then, and the United States has grown their program right along with it. As LA was also the birth of the modern Olympics in 1984, full of sponsors and turning a profit, it's not hard to see how the current excitement over the World Cup in the states isn't random but a long climbing upward trajectory.

*I wrote earlier about the relative unfairness of the World Cup qualification process. That same publication has an article about how FIFA's leadership has been chosen.