18
Jun
Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual USA defender John Brooks is mobbed by teammates after scoring a goal in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

In the humid beach city of Natal, Brazil Team USA took on Ghana in their opening match of the 2014 World Cup. It was a game that experts were saying they had to at least finish in a tie or their chances of advancing to the next round would be next to impossible with their upcoming games against powerhouses Portugal and Germany. Well instead of tying and getting 1 point in their rankings, USA went out and won the game to take 3 points. Continue on to see all the images from the exciting match!

For the 7pm game, the USA media group I travel with departed our hotel at 12:30 for the 10 mile drive to the stadium. Sounds plenty early right?

What I’ve learned in my first week here is that travel never stays on schedule.

Despite following the FIFA provided media transport map to the stadium, several of the roads that we were supposed to take were blocked off. That always leads to some fun!

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/640th, Aperture Priority Brazilian soldiers stand guard with guns on a street corner in the city of Natal prior to the World Cup match between USA and Ghana.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/640th, Aperture Priority
Brazilian Army soldiers stand guard with guns on a street corner in the city of Natal prior to the World Cup match between USA and Ghana.

Finally can see the stadium! That must mean we are minutes away from arrival right?

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/6400th, Aperture Priority Overall view of Estadio das Dunas prior to the game between USA against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/6400th, Aperture Priority
Overall view of Estadio das Dunas prior to the game between USA against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup.

After getting redirected multiple times we finally arrived at the stadium 40 minutes after the above photo.

It was welcoming to be at a game with so many Americans around. Almost felt like I was shooting a game back home.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 4000iso, f4, 1/800th, Manual A USA fan with a painted face in the grandstands prior to the match against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 4000iso, f4, 1/800th, Manual
A USA fan with a painted face in the grandstands prior to the match against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Ghana had a big section filled with their excited fans dressed up and waving flags and banners around.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 4000iso, f4, 1/400th, Manual Ghana fans wave a flag in the grandstands prior to the match against USA during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 4000iso, f4, 1/400th, Manual
Ghana fans wave a flag in the grandstands prior to the match against USA during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

While waiting to do the USA team shot I had a perfect angle to shoot USA coach Juergen Klinsmann smiling on the sidelines.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 5000iso, f5.6, 1/640th, Manual USA head coach Juergen Klinsmann smiles prior to the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 5000iso, f5.6, 1/640th, Manual
USA head coach Juergen Klinsmann smiles prior to the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

While the group shots in my opinion are typically a waste of time, I still had to get it at the request of my editor.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 4000iso, f5, 1/1000th, Manual USA poses for a team photo prior to the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 4000iso, f5, 1/1000th, Manual
USA poses for a team photo prior to the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Ok game time!

Anyone who has shot soccer before knows there is a lot of time with nothing important going on. The beginning of the game is usually like that as the teams slowly get started and begin to feel each other out.

With that in mind, what better time to send that group shot right?

Wrong!

While I was captioning the photo, Clint Dempsey would score a goal just 30 seconds into the match. Dammit!

Thankfully I was able to grab my camera and get a couple shots of the celebration.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual USA forward Clint Dempsey is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
USA forward Clint Dempsey is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual USA forward Clint Dempsey (left) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
USA forward Clint Dempsey (left) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual USA forward Clint Dempsey reacts after scoring a goal in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
USA forward Clint Dempsey reacts after scoring a goal in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

The stadium roared with excitement by the USA fans as they started to chant, “I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!”

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f5, 1/500th, Manual USA fans cheer in the grandstands after a USA goal in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f5, 1/500th, Manual
USA fans cheer in the grandstands after a USA goal in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

After the quick goal, the game settled into the normal soccer action I’m used to.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual USA midfielder Jermaine Jones (13) goes up for a header in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
USA midfielder Jermaine Jones (13) goes up for a header in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual Ghana forward Jordan Ayew (13) controls the ball against USA defender Matt Besler (5) in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
Ghana forward Jordan Ayew (13) controls the ball against USA defender Matt Besler (5) in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

A few minutes into the game, USA vice president Joe Biden arrived.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/320th, Manual United States vice president Joe Biden (center) in attendance during the match between USA against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/320th, Manual
United States vice president Joe Biden (center) in attendance during the match between USA against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

A few moments later USA forward Jozy Altidore would fall to the ground with a leg injury. Republicans would quickly blame the presence of Biden for the injury…

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual USA forward Jozy Altidore (17) grabs his leg as he falls down after suffering an injury in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
USA forward Jozy Altidore (17) grabs his leg as he falls down after suffering an injury in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual USA forward Jozy Altidore (17) grabs his leg as he falls down after suffering an injury in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
USA forward Jozy Altidore (17) grabs his leg as he falls down after suffering an injury in the first half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual Ghana midfielder Mohammed Rabiu (left) heads the ball against USA midfielder Kyle Beckerman during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
Ghana midfielder Mohammed Rabiu (left) heads the ball against USA midfielder Kyle Beckerman during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Midway through the first half, Clint Dempsey would take a foot the face breaking his nose.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual USA forward Clint Dempsey (left) is kicked in the face by Ghana defender John Boye in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
USA forward Clint Dempsey (left) is kicked in the face by Ghana defender John Boye in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual USA forward Clint Dempsey (left) is kicked in the face by Ghana defender John Boye in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
USA forward Clint Dempsey (left) is kicked in the face by Ghana defender John Boye in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

A little work by the team doctor would have Dempsey back into the game a few minutes later.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual A trainer cleans the blood from the nose of USA forward Clint Dempsey (left) as head coach Juergen Klinsmann watches the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
A trainer cleans the blood from the nose of USA forward Clint Dempsey (left) as head coach Juergen Klinsmann watches the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual Ghana forward Jordan Ayew (13) and USA defender Matt Besler (5) battle for the ball in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
Ghana forward Jordan Ayew (13) and USA defender Matt Besler (5) battle for the ball in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

A rough play between USA midfielder Jermaine Jones and Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari nearly sparked off a fight between the two.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual USA midfielder Jermaine Jones (13) collides with Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
USA midfielder Jermaine Jones (13) collides with Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual USA midfielder Jermaine Jones (13) collides with Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
USA midfielder Jermaine Jones (13) collides with Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Before it could turn into the all out brawl that would have made for some awesome photos, the head referee would run in and break them up.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari (left) scuffles with USA midfielder Jermaine Jones as FIFA referee Jonas Eriksson attempts to break them up during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari (left) scuffles with USA midfielder Jermaine Jones as FIFA referee Jonas Eriksson attempts to break them up during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Surprisingly, neither player received a yellow card.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual USA goalkeeper Tim Howard jumps in the air against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual
USA goalkeeper Tim Howard jumps in the air against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual USA defender Fabian Johnson (23) lands on top of Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual
USA defender Fabian Johnson (23) lands on top of Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual USA defender Fabian Johnson (23) falls after contact with against Ghana midfielder Andre Ayew (10) during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual
USA defender Fabian Johnson (23) falls after contact with against Ghana midfielder Andre Ayew (10) during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Midway through the second half, blood is still seen coming from the broken nose of Dempsey.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual Blood comes from the nose of USA forward Clint Dempsey against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual
Blood comes from the nose of USA forward Clint Dempsey against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

USA held onto the 1-0 lead for most of the match but in the closing minutes Ghana would get on the board.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual USA goalkeeper Tim Howard gives up a goal in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual
USA goalkeeper Tim Howard gives up a goal in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

GOALLLLLLLLLLLL!

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual Ghana midfielder Andre Ayew (10) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the second half against USA during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual
Ghana midfielder Andre Ayew (10) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the second half against USA during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

The Ghana fans went wild. My question is where the hell did that giant flag come from?!

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/640th, Manual Ghana fans display a large flag in the grandstands after a second half goal against USA during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/640th, Manual
Ghana fans display a large flag in the grandstands after a second half goal against USA during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

With the clock winding down on the match it looked like a draw would be the result.

That was until substitute player John Brooks would become the hero of the country with a header to score!

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual Ghana forward Jordan Ayew (13) and USA defender Matt Besler (5) battle for the ball in the first half during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
USA defender John Brooks celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Ghana.

The celebration happened right in front of me, too bad he just flopped onto his face.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual USA defender John Brooks is mobbed by teammates after scoring a goal in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
USA defender John Brooks is mobbed by teammates after scoring a goal in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

He would quickly be joined by his happy teammates.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual USA defender John Brooks is mobbed by teammates after scoring a goal in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
USA defender John Brooks is mobbed by teammates after scoring a goal in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

The rough night continued for Dempsey as he would go flying after contact with a Ghana player.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual USA forward Clint Dempsey flies through the air after being upended in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
USA forward Clint Dempsey flies through the air after being upended in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

USA player Michael Bradley did not like the hit and tried to confront Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari (11) but was stopped by the referee before he had a chance to.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual USA midfielder Michael Bradley (4) attempts to confront Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari (11) as forward Clint Dempsey (8) lays on the ground after being upended in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
USA midfielder Michael Bradley (4) attempts to confront Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari (11) as forward Clint Dempsey (8) lays on the ground after being upended in the second half against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas.

A few minutes later the final whistle blew, signaling the USA’s victory over Ghana.

USA was happy.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual USA defender John Brooks (center) is congratulated by teammates after hitting the winning goal against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas. USA defeated Ghana 2-1.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
USA defender John Brooks (center) is congratulated by teammates after hitting the winning goal against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas. USA defeated Ghana 2-1.

Ghana was not.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual Ghana defender Daniel Opare reacts following the game against USA during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas. USA defeated Ghana 2-1.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
Ghana defender Daniel Opare reacts following the game against USA during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas. USA defeated Ghana 2-1.

For the next few minutes the team celebrated on the field.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual USA midfielder Graham Zusi (19) sprays water in the air as he celebrates following the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas. USA defeated Ghana 2-1.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
USA midfielder Graham Zusi (19) sprays water in the air as he celebrates following the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas. USA defeated Ghana 2-1.

And as is customary in soccer, most of the players were half naked by the end of their celebration.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual USA midfielder Kyle Beckerman celebrates without his shirt following the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas. USA defeated Ghana 2-1.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual
USA midfielder Kyle Beckerman celebrates without his shirt following the game against Ghana during the 2014 World Cup at Estadio das Dunas. USA defeated Ghana 2-1.

Next up for USA is a difficult matchup against, Portugal, the fourth best team in the World.


 
Posted in Brazil, Soccer, Sports, World Cup   1 Comment

One response to “USA defeats Ghana in World Cup opener”

  1. earle3 says:

    Great shots Mark!! And the surrounding detail/descriptions are interesting to read and add to the viewing experience. Keep up the blogging mate, I’m always left on the edge waiting for more.
    Enjoy the experience!

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