United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was proud of the determination his side showed in their late Group G win over Ghana.
Having lost to the African side in the past two World Cups, the Stars and Stripes managed to exact revenge with a 2-1 win in Natal.
It looked like it would be an easy USA win when Clint Dempsey scored after just 29 seconds, but Ghana upped their game and deservedly levelled through Andre Ayew’s classy 82nd-minute strike.
However, four minutes later, the Black Stars left substitute John Brooks unmarked and the 21-year-old defender duly headed home to secure victory in their group-stage opener.
“This is definitely the start that you want,” Klinsmann said. “They worked hard for it and it is just a good feeling to have the first three points.
“All over the field it was a very dynamic game, a game where chances were created on both sides.
“But I always saw opportunities coming as we played quickly in transition. Obviously when a set piece comes like a corner kick we have more hope because we are good at that.
“We train for those things and have determined players that go in for those balls.
“I think it a big moment for John Anthony Brooks coming into this game at half-time. It is a special moment for the boy. He did well.”
Brooks was only on the field after Matt Besler complained of soreness in his hamstring at half-time.
That was not the only injury the USA sustained during what was an entertaining match, with man-of-the-match Dempsey breaking his nose and Jozy Altidore pulling up with what could be a tournament-ending hamstring strain.
“It was not easy to swallow the first pill of Jozy coming off the field,” Klinsmann said. “He is very, very important for us.
“At half-time, with the soreness that Matt Besler had, we just decided not to risk him and maybe have a second player going out then so we were precautions.
“John came in, played in his first World Cup game and scored in it, so it is quite a special day for him.”
While the United States celebrated, Ghana counterpart Akwasi Appiah was left to rue what could have been after his side let a point slip away from them.
“What I can say is that it was a very tough game,” he told the post-match press conference. “Playing at this high level, any little mistake can cost you dearly.
“We didn’t deserve the first goal against us and, as for the game itself, we did possess and create a lot of chances.
“Unfortunately we could not take our chances and the US took their chances.
“Any loss of concentration can cost the team big time. I believe the first goal unsettled us a little bit but I never expected it to end this way.”