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Great expectations for U.S.

by Ronald Blum
| June 26, 2010 9:00 PM

RUSTENBURG, South Africa - For other countries, a second-round World Cup match is a big step. For the United States, today's game against Ghana is so much more.

The television audience back home could top the U.S. national team record of 13.7 million, set during the 1994 World Cup loss to Brazil.

With a victory, the Americans would advance to a quarterfinal matchup versus Uruguay or South Korea on July 2 and match the farthest the U.S. team has advanced since the first World Cup in 1930. Confidence is soaring.

"If we continue to build on the successes so far, we can go to the end," coach Bob Bradley said Friday.

The U.S. team made the 2-hour trip Friday northwest from Irene and checked into the Bakubung Bush Lodge, where the bus was blocked by an elephant ahead of the opener against England on June 12. Players have been stoked since Landon Donovan's injury-time goal beat Algeria on Wednesday and lifted them into the knockout phase.

"The way we've been playing, feeling like we've gone undefeated and we've gotten stronger, I think that gives us hope," goalkeeper Tim Howard said.

Former President Clinton attended Wednesday's game in Pretoria and chugged a postgame beer with captain Carlos Bocanegra. Clinton changed his schedule to stick around for the Ghana game.

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