Dream debut for Brooks
United States match-winner John Brooks admits his World Cup debut could not have gone any better.
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The 21-year-old was applauded back into the dressing room by team-mates after his late goal secured a 2-1 win over Ghana in Group G in Natal.
Brooks, making only his fifth senior appearance and first in a competitive match, emerged from the tunnel at the start of the second half to replace the injured Matt Besler as a relative unknown but returned a national hero.
"I couldn't imagine a better first goal for the team, and the fact it won us the game makes it even better. It's simply wonderful," he said.
"That (being applauded in the dressing room) was a really emotional moment.
"I wasn't expecting it and it shows the great atmosphere we've got in this squad. All I can do is be very thankful to them all."
With the extent of Besler's injury yet to be determined there is a chance Brooks might not only start against Portugal on Sunday but could also face Germany, the country of his birth.
Brooks, the son of an American serviceman from Chicago and his German wife, was brought up in the capital and currently plays for Hertha Berlin.
"It's still a long way off," he told fifa.com of the prospect of facing Germany.
"First of all we need to keep preparing, stay focused on Portugal and then we'll see."
Forward Clint Dempsey scored the USA's opener after just 29 seconds and went on to put in a man-of-the-match performance despite sustaining a broken nose after being kicked in the face by Ghana's John Boye.
"I think my nose is broken. I didn't consider coming off, I just wanted to go on for as long as I could, but I had trouble breathing," he said.
"I was coughing up blood a little bit from the back of my throat but I felt fine and that I could keep going.
"I did feel a little bit tired towards the end but hopefully I'll be able to start breathing through my nose again before the next game."
Ghana have the task of facing Germany next and captain Asamoah Gyan knows after their 4-0 demolition of fellow European heavyweights Portugal it will be a tough prospect.
"Germany won by four goals so their confidence is high, we have lost and want to come back strongly. We have to stay focused," he told AllSports.com.gh.
"The confidence is still there even though we have lost. We still have the quality. We don't have to give up for no reason at all.
"I think we did well. We dominated the game but we were a bit nervous in the beginning.
"We lost concentration and the early goal made us even more nervous. When we equalised, we did not concentrate and then conceded from a corner kick which was not good."