USA goalkeeper Tim Howard has reiterated his side are entirely focused on their opening World Cup game against Ghana, as the team trained fully for the first time since arriving in Brazil.
Along with the African outfit, the US also face Portugal and Germany in one of the tournament’s toughest groups, but the Everton player’s immediate concerns are on the June 16 match.
‘Every training session we do now is going to be geared towards that, even tonight,’ Howard said. ‘That’s the important thing now we’re down here. It’s all business and we’re focused on how we’re going to beat Ghana.’
The USA enter the tournament coming off three successive warm-up wins against Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria respectively, but Jurgen Klinsmann’s side are still considered long-shots to progress to the knockout stages.
One of the team’s most respected players and undisputed leaders, Howard earned his 100th international cap in the 2-1 win over Brazil-bound Nigeria, having previously been the backup to Kasey Keller at the 2006 World Cup and first choice in South Africa 2010.
With over a decade of Premier League experience, the 35-year-old first arrived in England in 2003 after signing for Manchester United from MLS side the Metrostars, before being pushed out of the club by the arrival of Edwin van der Saar.
Joining Everton in 2006, the American has gone on to become a club legend on Merseyside as one of the league’s most reliable and consistently solid goalkeepers, signing a contract extension in April until 2018.
With the USA’s inexperienced back-line facing many questions entering the World Cup, Howard should see ample action in Brazil in what could well prove his final international bow, as Aston Villa understudy Brad Guzan waits in wings to succeed the long-time starter.