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U.S. tops Ghana, 2-1, in thrilling World Cup opener (w/video)

  • United States' John Brooks (6) celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the group G World Cup soccer match between Ghana and the United States at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Monday, June 16, 2014. (JULIO CORTEZ / Associated Press)

NATAL, Brazil — Two hours after opening the World Cup, the United States could dream about defeating Portugal and world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Americans' confidence is soaring from Monday's 2-1 win over Ghana, the team that knocked them out of the last two World Cups.

"Anything is possible in football," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.

U.S. vs. Ghana World Cup Soccer

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Trying to reach the knockout stage of consecutive World Cups for the first time, the Americans went ahead when Clint Dempsey scored 29 seconds in. The night ended with another adrenaline rush on 21-year-old John Brooks' 86th-minute goal, just four minutes after Andre Ayew had scored for Ghana.

Fast-paced end-to-end action in between included a broken nose for Dempsey and hamstring injuries to forward Jozy Altidore and defender Matt Besler.

"It showed our resilience. I thought our maturity was awesome," goalkeeper Tim Howard said.

Dempsey became the first American to score in three World Cups; a converted midfielder, he also became the first U.S. forward to get a World Cup goal since Brian McBride in 2002.

Brooks became the first U.S. substitute to ever score in 30 World Cup games over 84 years when he rose to head in Graham Zusi's corner kick from 8 yards. Brooks, one of the team's five German-Americans, fell to his knees and pushed his face into the ground, his hands on his head, overcome by his first international goal.

He thought back to two nights earlier.

"I told some teammates that I dreamed that I scored in the 80th minute and we won the game," he said. "And now it was the 86th minute, and we won."

He dreamed of scoring on a header.

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