IRENE - The United States believe they have a huge opportunity to do something special in this World Cup and forget the sense of finality and pain from 2006 when they lost at the hands of their next opponents, Ghana.
The U.S., who went out four years ago after losing to Ghana in the last game of their group stage, will face the African nation on Saturday, after topping their group on Wednesday night with a dramatic goal against Algeria in added time.
"That was not a good day for me or for the team and what I remember most personally was my tentativeness and the immediate feeling afterwards of the finality of it and how disappointing that was," Landon Donovan told reporters, referring to the match four years earlier in Germany.
"I've already put it behind me but this is a chance to do something very special.
"Ghana is next, we are aware that if we were to win that game it would be Uruguay and South Korea. I can't emphasise how big this opportunity is and we need to take advantage of it."
Donovan, who scored the late winner on Wednesday night, said the players would in many ways feel less pressure in their next game after achieving their first goal of getting out of the group stage.
"In a lot of ways it becomes very simple," he said, surrounded by a growing number of reporters. "There's one game, you lose, you go home. There's no ramifications of other games, other results.
"So the pressure is off and we can just go and enjoy it and I think we'll play really well under the circumstances."
Coach Bob Bradley said his team now had the opportunity to test themselves against stronger opposition and said they would take great heart from the way they handled their first round.
"There's pressure to deal with it and find a way to move on," he said. "And when you do that then that's a good feeling and you're ready to get on to the knock out phase."