20 June 2014

Ghana: Black Stars Face Daunting Match-Up With Germany

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Asamoah Gyan celebrates his and Ghana's only goal in the match with Brazil.

Ghana's hopes of reaching the second round of the World Cup depend on getting something out of a match-up with an in-form Germany.

OVERVIEW

Ghana's task could scarcely be more daunting as they prepare to face a German side fresh from a 4-0 mauling of Portugal and with world-class players all over the pitch.

The match is a repeat of their meeting four years ago in Johannesburg when a nervous Germany edged their final pool game 1-0 to see both sides advance to the knockout stages.

Joachim Low's side are unlikely to be as hit with the jitters this time round as they are in free-scoring mood and will tell themselves simply to carry on where they left off against the hapless Portuguese.

Ghana will present a totally different proposition to the Portuguese though - less direct play but more physicality and pace.

They have any number of match-winners themselves, but coming off a desperately disappointing 2-1 loss to USA in their opener, the mood in the camp is low.

The Ghana Football Association were forced this week to deny reports that the players had, depending on where you read the story, either mutinied against the tactics of coach Kwesi Appiah, or gone on strike in a bonuses row.

Their seems little truth in either of those tales, though Kwadwo Asamoah did berate his coach publicly this week for selecting him as a left back and not his usual left wing position, which is an unusual breaking of the ranks.

Ghana should at least have veteran Michael Essien fit for the game after he sat out some training sessions this week with a toe problem.

The Black Stars need at least a point from this game to keep their second round hopes alive, which would then require a victory in their final game against Portugal.

The latter scenario seems more plausible with the Portuguese in complete disarray, but those chances will lengthen even further if they cannot get something from Germany.

KEY PLAYERS

Thomas Muller (Germany) - Muller just loves World Cups> He has now scored eight goals in seven finals appearances and, coming off his hat-trick against Portugal in the last game, his confidence will be sky high. When in the mood he is a clinical finisher and a clever forward, with enough guile to create major problems for the Ghanaians.

Kevin-Prince Boateng (Ghana) - Boateng will be coming up against the land of his birth and the team in which his half-brother, Jerome Boateng, plays. The midfielder has vast experience in the European game and the ability to create something out of nothing, adding extra flair to the Black Stars' midfield. He will be up for this one and has the quality to hurt Germany.

WHAT THEY SAY

Per Mertesacker (Germany defender) - "They [Ghana] want to shine and excel in every one-on-one situation. We've got to stay tight as a unit and get the fundamentals right as we did against Portugal. I think the most important thing is that physically, Ghana are even stronger than the Portuguese. It'll be a fiery match, not least because of the heat in Fortaleza."

Kwesi Appiah (Ghana coach) - "It's not going to be easy... the Germans have got a very good team but we will do our best to give them a very good game. It's not going to be easy to qualify from the group, but we'll give everything to do just that."

MATCH FACTS

Date: Saturday, June 21

Kick-off: 19h00 (GMT)

Venue: Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza

Referee: Sandro Ricci (Brazil)

GHANA HEAD-TO-HEAD VS GERMANY

P W D L GF GA

2 0  0  2  1   7

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