USA-Ghana Passing Stats

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 26: Landon Donovan of the United States looks dejected with Andre Ayew of Ghana during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Officially, the US had 51% of the ball possession in this game, but nothing could be more misleading. We essentially saw the US play from behind for an hour, followed by 35 minutes where Ghana pushed them around, followed another half an hour of playing from behind. The passing stats table bears that out:

/90 mins USA USA Ghana Ghana
Score Minutes Pass/60 Weighted Pass/60 Weighted % of Passes % of Passes
0-0 4.9 386 82.7 478 91.8 44.7 47.4
0-1 57.8 354 76.6 358 75.2 49.7 50.5
1-1 34.2 292 54.4 334 75.8 46.6 41.8
1-2 31.3 293 83.6 264 59.8 52.6 58.3

All passing totals are per 90 minutes of game play - remember that the cup-wide average is 350 passes per game. When the US was down a goal the first time and supposedly had Ghana on the defensive, they could barely get 50% of the territory. And once they equalized the game, Ghana did a tremendous job of getting the ball into the American end.

If we combine the passing stats by game state, we get:

/90 USA USA Ghana Ghana
Score Minutes Pass/60 Weighted Pass/60 Weighted % of Passes % of Passes
Total 128.2 324 73 333 72 49.3 50.1
Tied 39.1 304 58 352 78 46.3 42.7
Down 1 89.1 332 79 325 70 50.5 53.1

Overall, the US may have owned approximately 50% of ball possession, passing and territory, but they were significantly outclassed when the game was tied. They weren't as bad as South Korea, but we shouldn't have expected them to win.

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