Feature: Is Ghana Africa's greatest hope 2014 World Cup in Brazil?

Feature: Is Ghana Africa's greatest hope 2014 World Cup in Brazil?

Are the Black Stars Africa’s biggest hope at the World Cup?

FOUR years ago, the African nations bonded around one country in the World Cup knock-out rounds.

Despite hosting the tournament for the first time in the event’s history, the African nations continued to struggle in the group stage and only saw one of its neighbours manage a berth in the round of 16.

That nation was Ghana and it carried the hopes of a continent. Despite falling short, the run was one of the most impressive in Africa’s history.

Ghana is arguably the best African side at this year’s World Cup in Brazil, but the team is faced with a monumental group to overcome. Can Ghana prove to be among the world’s elite in 2014?

History
Ghana’s first ever World Cup appearance came in 2006 when the team was placed into a group that included Italy, the United States and the Czech Republic.

The African contingent, also known as the Black Stars, lost 2-0 against Italy in its debut but defeated the Czechs 2-0 and topped the Americans 2-1 in a game that determined both teams’ group fates.

Ghana would move on to the knockout rounds where it would have to take on a tough Brazilian side; Brazil won 3-0.

Four years later in 2010, Ghana was back at the World Cup in a group that included Serbia, Germany and Australia. The team topped Serbia 1-0 before tying Australia 1-1.

In the final game, Ghana lost against Germany but managed to qualify due to having a better goal difference than Australia; the Socceroos lost 4-0 against Germany in their opener and possessed a -3 difference while Ghana was even.

In the knockout rounds, Ghana renewed its rivalry with the United States and managed a 2-1 win in extra time. In the quarterfinals, Ghana was tasked with taking down a surging Uruguay. Ghana blew a 1-0 lead and then was handed a penalty in the waning seconds of the match after Luis Suarez stopped a shot into an empty net with his hands.

Asamoah Gyan had a chance to win it in extra time but fired it over the net. On the ensuing penalty shootout, Uruguay eliminated Ghana 4-2.
How they got here

Ghana was placed into a group that included Lesotho, Sudan and Zambia.

The team dominated the entire group with five wins and one loss and became the highest scoring African side of the group stage with 18 goals scored and only three conceded. The team’s lone defeat was away at Zambia.

In the ensuing round, Ghana was tasked with taking on Egypt, the only undefeated team from the first round. Many felt that this knockout round would be the one to watch, but in the opening 90 minutes Ghana made everyone forget about this tie.

The team destroyed Egypt 6-1. Egypt won 2-1 in the second leg, but it was not enough to overcome the opening leg destruction at the hand of Ghana.

Top Stars

Gyan led Ghana with six goals in the qualifiers.

Gyan is undoubtedly the team’s top star, and at 28, he is likely playing in his final World Cup as a starter. He has 39 goals in 78 matches for the Black Stars and will be counted on to score the big goals. The team will also rely heavily on Kevin-Prince Boateng to control the midfield play.

The Ayew brothers Andre and Jordan will also be likely fixtures in their debut tournament. Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien will also likely be called on to the lead the team in the midfield.

Can they get out of the group?

Ghana is a quick side with tremendous offensive potential. The problem in this tournament could be about containing German’s tremendous offense and Portugal’s superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Group G has been repeatedly labelled as the Group of Death because it includes Germany, Portugal and the United States. Ghana and the United States have a history and a favorable one at that for the African nation.

As noted above, these two sides have met in the last two tournaments; Ghana has won both games 2-1. The teams previously met in 1983 when Ghana topped the US in two different tournaments.

Ghana has never lost against the US and could leverage this to its advantage.

But Germany is another issue altogether. The Germans took down Ghana in 2006 and are the favorites in this group. Ghana might have the attacking prowess to take down the German contingent, but its defense is likely to wilt against the European side’s bravura and superiority.

Portugal is not a complete side. Most would point to its lack of quality midfielders and lack of attacking options aside from Cristiano Ronaldo.
The old motto is that, if you shut down CR7, then Portugal has no plan B. But the big issue here is whether Ghana can truly shut down Ronaldo at all. He is playing at his best right now and will be more determined than ever to place his stamp on the international tournament.

Can they win it all?

Negative: Ghana is a terrific offensive side, but it lacks the skill or defense to truly make the run necessary to win it all. A knock-out round berth is possible if Portugal or Germany slip, but that is not likely given the quality of the two sides. Look for Ghana to finish third in this group!?

READERS COMMENTS

  1. zagga swagga says:

    Its a good side,but honestly i doubt if they can go past the group stage.ivory coast will go into the quarter finals bcoz they have the easiest group.all the best Ghana.

  2. lee says:

    Article contains errors.
    Interesting reading though.
    Nigeria has best chance in a group with Iran and debutants Bosnia.
    Ghana Team has surprises in it… and equally good Subs on bench.
    Weak link is in Goal Keepin department…and defence is not at Ghana’s usual level with absence of Vorsah and Mensah.
    Midfield we pray for Essien +Muntari to have good day.
    Being highest scorers in qualifies was no fluke the upper half of the team are good goal scorers name the.. K. Asamoah, Essien, D. AYEW TO the two attackers.
    J. AYEW May miss out on the final 23 to D. Accam.

  3. craky says:

    please djan isn’t ghana’s top star. if essien & kpb click, that will be ghana’s triump card.

  4. Mumbi says:

    Ghana is not the best african team @ the WC. Those Apes will return back to ghana in shame with no single point.

  5. Okedi says:

    CIV and Nigeria will take Africa to a higher level this time…Cameroun,Senegal and Ghana Hv reached the last 8 but this time is All the way for CIV n Nigeria. Watch out for Bony ‘the Ironman’.

  6. TK Z says:

    No Ghana ain’t, this time the onus is on CIV n Nigeria.

  7. citizen ernie says:

    True talk but Ghana can still seal through only if they take their changes well and are tatically desciplined.

  8. Nigga says:

    Germany 7points,portugal 6 points ,Usa 4. points ,Ghana 0 points …..

  9. kuukuphilly says:

    Only sons of witches,lizards,ay3 loofolo will think mighty Ghana will fall.

  10. Eric says:

    Kuukuphilly u are really there. We are making it at all cost in Jesus name. God bless u God bless Ghana

  11. Tamale man says:

    I am just being honest….our chances of progressing is next to zero.sorry folks but the truth always hurts.

    • Askantwi says:

      The truth is Ghana has a better team than Germany and Portugal. People don’t see it now, but they’ll see it sooner than later. Ghana wins the group of death, followed by Germany.

  12. Benito says:

    We have always proved the skeptics wrong,and we’ll do it again and again.those who are wishing our failure would bow down their heads in shame again ,Ghana is even topping this group…mark my words and if you wanna bet call me 0019739799270.
    Go Ghana!!!

  13. Kibes' says; says:

    Ghana with million of coaches analyses,but ll’ go trugh the group stages with 5pts potgal 4pts germ 7pts and us 0pts.
    may the lord lead them into victory.

  14. Obed Game says:

    Well Ghana wasn’t like those days.we have come a long way and we ain’t going back.Germany and Portugal are shaky teams but not worth dying for..even if we don’t make it up to the finals we will surely get out of that group and if you get out of that group stage we will surely make it to the finals

    God Bless GHANA

  15. Ras O says:

    Dem a guh ovarate wi but trus mi, Black Stars gonna show dem seh yo, dem hav futbal spirit.
    Fi real, yuh mus cum tideh-tideh fi bet, Ghana a guh top dem all. A tru tru Ghana hav di spirit.
    Run weh Germany!
    Run weh Portugal!
    Run weh USA!
    Run weh Babylon!
    Go Ghana Go Afrika

  16. kilx says:

    oooo…..black men with black senses u fink Ghana can’t mk it ryt…jx watch out n see…God bless our homeland Ghana..

  17. ginger says:

    I’ll give a great salute for ghana if dey make it out of dis group, remember they have been having it good at group stages in their two previous world cup appearance in 2006 they were group alonside italy,scech nd serbia which was easy group if u ask me, in 2010 they were grouped alongside germany, australia nd serbia they managed to qualify with four points… Ivory coast has not been place in any fovourable @all since 2006 where they were groped alonside argentina,holland nd serbia in 2010 they were alongside brazil,portugal nd korea tell me if ghana found themselves in any of dis group would they have been able to go trough?? So it time for ivory coast nd naija, but if ghana can make it out of dis tough group they will unstopable

  18. apostel says:

    NIGERIANS LIKE TALKING TOO MUCH..GH ALWAYS KEEP QUITE BUT DELIVER..SEE WHAT HAPPENS AGAIN IN BRAZIL…GO GH

  19. Teejay says:

    You all can say what you like but d rejected stone can be d chief corner stone