John Brooks headed in a late winner for USA in a dramatic finale to their opening Group G game against Ghana.
Clint Dempsey put USA ahead on 29 seconds with the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history, cutting inside John Boye before sweeping home.
Ghana upped the tempo and equalised when Andre Ayew latched on to Asamoah Gyan’s backheel to fire in a leveller.
USA looked tired but Brooks nodded in from six yards following a late corner to give his side a winning start.
Centre-back Brooks reacted with a mixture of disbelief and delight, the Germany-born 21-year-old marking his World Cup debut and fifth cap in style.
The victory also gave USA a measure of revenge for being knocked out of the past two World Cups by Ghana.
They had looked to be tiring, and a winner seemed unlikely as Ghana dominated the second half and pulled themselves level.
But their tenacity was rewarded to leave the Black Stars precariously placed, with both teams now having to face Germany and Portugal.
Ghana exited the World Cup four years ago in tears, when Gyan’s missed penalty in the last minute of extra-time against Uruguay denied them the chance to become the first African side to reach the semi-finals.
If they were still nursing that pain, they did not show it as they sung and danced their way into the dressing room at the Estadio das Dunas, reports the BBC.
But they fell behind within the first minute. Dempsey collected a Jermaine Jones pass on the left wing, cut inside right-back Boye and shot into the far corner.
Ghana struggled to mount a response as the USA consolidated their lead with a work-rate and organisation that kept their rivals at bay