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Ghana looks light afoot

MIAMI — In its final exhibition before facing the United States in the World Cup, Ghana practiced celebrating.

Captain Asamoah Gyan scored a breakaway goal in a 4-0 victory against South Korea on Monday at Sun Life Stadium, then launched into the azonto, a two-step dance popular in Ghana. Soon he was joined by a cluster of teammates as their hands, hips and feet moved in impressive synchronicity.

Past World Cup matches against the United States have given Ghana plenty to celebrate. The rivalry will renew Monday in Brazil, and the Black Stars want to be ready.

"The United States are a very, very good team," coach James Appiah said. "It's not going to be easy. We have to make sure our players are playing their roles well. We hope to give them a very good game."

The Ghanaians have the azonto cued up, and other dances too. "We've got different styles — three or four," Appiah said.

Ghana has reason to be confident — it defeated the United States in group play in 2006, and in the round of 16 in 2010.

"Bring them on, the United States," a reporter from Ghana shouted with a grin in the press box at halftime of the exhibition. "America, we are coming."

Subway strike: With a subway strike put on hold in Sao Paulo, traffic in Brazil's biggest city returned to its normal, congested nature. But there was no guarantee service would be on for Thursday's World Cup opener.

Subway workers in Rio de Janeiro, meanwhile, held an assembly late Tuesday to vote on whether they would strike to demand higher wages, threatening to disrupt transportation there.

Both situations are deeply worrying for World Cup organizers. Union workers in Sao Paulo suspended their strike for two days, but planned to vote again today to decide whether to renew it.

On Thursday, host Brazil opens the tournament against Croatia.

Ronaldo back: Cristiano Ronaldo returned to start and played 65 minutes as Portugal beat Ireland 5-1 in East Rutherford, N.J., in its final exhibition before the World Cup. Ronaldo, the FIFA world player of the year, had been sidelined with knee and thigh injuries since May 24.

Opposing Blatter: In a stinging rebuke for Sepp Blatter, European soccer leaders told the FIFA president he should leave the scandal-hit governing body next year. Blatter has sought support for a re-election bid in 2015 and faced a hostile UEFA membership, which bucked the trend of overwhelming backing from FIFA's other five continents.

Ghana looks light afoot 06/10/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:55pm]
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