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Crystal Palace (A) Sat 31 Jan 2015, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Howard In Action Today

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Tim Howard is counting on the fearlessness of youth to help the USA past Ghana.

The African nation knocked America out of the last two World Cups so the Everton man says having a squad full of players who didn’t have to experience those nadirs is a benefit.

"Sometimes experience is a hindrance," said Howard. "You have that baggage, that worry of expectation. We don’t have a ton of World Cup experience. We’re a hard-working team.

“The other teams in the group feel they can (advance) but look at our team and feel we’re a tough challenge. Physically, we’re better, faster and stronger than most of the teams we play, so that’s going to pose a challenge for them.

“Half these guys (on the team) may not have even seen that game, let alone eight years ago. It’s not a problem in terms of revenge."

With matches against Portugal and Germany to follow, the importance of an opening match victory isn’t lost on the USA squad.

"The first game is vitally important. We need to win that game to set us up to get out of the group, and we think we can.”

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