World Cup team preview: Ghana
16 days to the World Cup and 16 teams left to preview. Today it’s Ghana and the Black Stars will face serious challenges to emerge from Group G.
Group G – Germany, Portugal and United States
Tournament odds: 200/1
Four years in South Africa Ghana narrowly failed to become Africa's first semi-finalists when they lost on penalties to Uruguay in the quarter-finals, having missed a spot-kick in the last moments of extra-time.
While they possess a strong squad, the group draw was not kind, arguably the toughest draw for any African side in Brazil.
The Black Stars will open their campaign against the USA on 16 June, then play Germany and finish their group fixtures against Portugal. A bad start would heap the pressure on Ghana and some critics have suggested they may not be up to the task.
Midfield is an obvious strength, where they have a glut of excellent options. Michael Essien is the most familiar of these names and since his return from injury and will look to put behind him a disappointing club season.
He will be ably supported by the likes of Juventus’ Kwadwo Asamoah, Milan’s Sulley Muntari and FC Schalke’s Kevin-Prince Boateng, so expect plenty of energy and invention in the middle third.
Essien in particular has been bullish about their chances, targeting a semi-final spot, but if they can emerge from the group they will be a handful for anyone.
How they got there
Ghana were convincing qualifiers, conceding just three goals in six goals, two of those away to Egypt in their only defeat.
The Black Stars were on the goal-trail, hitting 18 goals in their group.
Key player Kwadwo Asamoah
After an eye-catching season for Juventus, Asamoah offers the same energetic presence in this Ghana side. His tireless running whether on the flank or in central midfield has been absolutely crucial to the Biaconeri’s unprecedented recent success and will look to translate that on the international front.
The former Udinese man is capable of forming a dynamic middle three with Muntari and Essien, but with Ghana’s plethora of exceptional central midfielders, expect him to line-up on the left-hand side.
Something you didn’t know about Ghana
Ferdi Ato Aboboe of Ghana holds the world record time for running 100 yards backwards, clocking in a time of 12.7 seconds, while his world record time of 100 metres backwards was equalled in 2007.