World Cup 2014 Team-by-Team Guide: Ghana all huff but no puff
Past tournaments: 2006, 2010
Previous Best: Quarter-Final, 2010
How they got here:
Easily progressed through the second round of the CAF qualification process as group winners. The Black Stars won five of their six games while conceding just three goals to seal their spot in the final round.
Once there, they dismantled Egypt 6-1 in the third-round first leg, rendering the 2-1 defeat they suffered in the second leg meaningless.
Star man: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain)
The side’s captain and main hope for goals, Gyan led the Black Stars’ scoring charts through the qualification process with six strikes.
Al Ain’s hitman – who has 81 goals in just 65 appearances for the UAE club – is 5/2 to be his country’s leading scorer in Brazil, which is a good punt considering his goals took the nation to the quarter-finals in 2010.
Watch all of Gyan’s Sunderland goals below
Under the radar: Mohammed Rabiu (Kuban Krasnodar)
Any player that can break the Ghanaian midfield duopoly that is Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari has to be taken note of and Rabiu is that man.
Tasked with providing the engine and defensive screen to whichever of the two superstar central men he plays alongside, the 24-year-old can catch the eye in Brazil and earn himself a big-money move – although it would be his seventh club since 2010 if he does.
Team nutcase: Kwesi Appiah (Ghana manager)
Perhaps the most “out there” of the Ghana squad is their manager, James Kwesi Appiah, who does not believe in football formations, preferring his players to take the field free from the chains that a system puts them in.
The approach may have seen the Black Stars qualify in eye-catching fashion, but in a group containing the formidable Germany and the world’s best player, taking that same approach would be madness.
How far can they go?
The Black Stars faced two of their Group G rivals in South Africa four years ago and will be encouraged by their performances, making eventual bronze medalists Germany work for their 1-0 win before toppling the USA in the round of 16, albeit after extra time.
However, in a tight group that also contains Portugal, an experienced Ghana squad will need to upset at least one of the two European fancies to book their third-consecutive place in a World Cup knockout. Unless Portugal’s bottling tendencies resurface it could be just too tough a task.
To win the World Cup: 200/1
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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