WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Ghana

WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Ghana

COACH – Kwesi Appiah
BEST SHOWING – Quarter Finals 2010
QUALIFICATION – Defeated Egypt in the CAF Playoffs
TOURNAMENT ODDS – 300/1 (Betfair)
FIXTURES
June 16th – USA (2300 BST, Natal, BBC)
June 21st – Germany (2000 BST, Fortaleza, BBC)
June 26th – Portugal (1700 BST, Brasilia, BBC)

 

Button Germany Button Portugal Button USA

 

Ghana came within a penalty kick of being the first African nation to make the last four of a FIFA World Cup in 2010. This time around circumstances are similar to the ones the Black Stars faced in South Africa – a tough group, no expectations from anyone outside Ghana and written off.

The Ghanaians are a tough bunch though and a handful for anyone. Kwesi Appiah led the Black Stars to their easiest ever World Cup qualification but not without hiccups. A surprise loss to Burkina Faso was a low point but Appiah has a nice mix of youth and experience to call upon.

The hapless Richard Kingson won’t return in goal with Fatau Dauda and Adam Kwarasey competing to earn the goalkeeping gloves.

Sammy Inkoom and Daniel Opare will compete for the right back slot with Harrison Afful on the opposite flank, while Jonathan Mensah (not John) and John Boye will be the likely centre-back pairing.

The key to the Ghanaian game is controlling the midfield. If Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien are neutralised, Ghana find it hard to break other teams down and to feed the ball to their wingers Andre Ayew and Christian Atsu.

Asamoah Gyan is still the main man for providing Ghana with a goal threat but Majeed Waris has shown signs he can help Gyan carry the load.

 

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ONE TO WATCH

07 WORLD CUP WARISMajeed Waris has come a long way since featuring in a reserve game for Forest Green Rovers. Eventually Waris moved on to Sweden where he scored five goals in one Allsvenskan game for BK Hacken.

His goalscoring feats in Sweden attracted Spartak Moscow but after struggling to break into the team he was loaned out to Ligue Un side Valenciennes partly in an effort to get into the Ghanaian squad.

He impressed at Valenciennes despite their ultimate relegation scoring nine goals in his brief stint there.

I don’t expect Waris to start but if Asamoah Gyan isn’t firing, he’s a good option to have and arrives to Brazil bang in form.

 

HERE COMES D-JUDGE
D-Judge

Ghana have overcome the odds in the last two World Cups by getting out of their group stage. A third tough challenge awaits but it’s one the Black Stars face with confidence.

The key to Ghana’s fate is the performances of their midfielders. Michael Essien has suffered a marked decline in his play this season but on his day he can be a quality midfielder – those days are becoming fewer and farther between though.

The defence looks like it can be got at and their tactics are predictable. But if Ghana can worm their way into a lead, they’re very tricky to dislodge with an emphasis on using their wingers to counter attack.

Ghana do have problems with focus however and sometimes slack off or concede a sloppy goal. The first game with the USA is key for both sides. If Ghana lose to the USA, it’s hard to see them pulling it back against Portugal or Germany. Beat the States however and things could get interesting.

 

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VERDICT

This group isn’t as straightforward as it appears. Ghana could surprise a few but they must defeat the USA in their first game – anything less and it’s an early exit.

 

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Danny Yeboah (D-Good)
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83


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