FIFA World Cup Group D Focus: Ghana form
The latest news on who to look out for and how the team's been getting on
Ghana is a side sprinkled with stars but also hard working players who never know when to quit. Whilst they don-t have the firepower of many of the African sides, their world class midfield more than makes up for this.
Almost all of the squad members are scattered around the major European leagues, with 5 players in both England and Italy-s top flights.
Chelsea-s Michael Essien is top of the list and versatility is a huge asset of his. He-s an all round midfielder who can play pretty much anywhere on the park.
He-s often been touted as a box-to-box midfielder due to his boundless energy and support play. He also has an eye for goal and has scored important and breathtaking goals in his time at the London club.
It-s no surprise that Chelsea paid over $40 million for his services. On top of winning the Premier League title, he-s also won two FA Cups and a League Cup.
Personal honours include being named French player of the year when playing for Lyon, African footballer of the year, and he-s also been nominated for world player of the year on three occasions. This is a man to watch out for.
Essien-s midfield partners are by no means overshadowed by him though, former Portsmouth and current Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari is another class act whose club career has seen him win trophies in England and Italy.
Nicknamed Tornado due to his dominance in midfield, Steven Appiah is another man who has Italian titles under his belt. His experience and presence will further bolster an already strong heart of the Ghana team.
Forwards worth a mention are Asamoah Gyan, Junior Agogo (who unfortunately suffered an injury and will miss the entire tournament and start of next season) and Matthew Amoah, who have all scored at high levels in the past.
In defence, there are two English based Premiership players John Mensah and John Paintsil who will be keeping things tight in front of Wigan Athletic shot stopper Richard Kingson.
20 year old right back Samuel Inkoom is the next budding star on the horizon though and is definitely one to watch out for come the 20th June. The talented youngster broke into the first team last year and is currently playing for FC Basel in Switzerland.
His Ghana Under 20s side overcame Brazil in the FIFA U-20 World Cup last year in Egypt and others from that talented squad are sure to feature in the tournament in South Africa.
Ghana-s Serbian coach Ratomir Dujkovic is confident Ghana can be the best African side and go further than any other side from the continent has in previous FIFA World Cups.
Recent form heading into the World Cup
Officially ranked at 31 in the latest FIFA World Cup system, it-s a position that-s probably a little unfair as many would back them to beat several of the sides above them in the rankings.
They finished runners up at this year-s African Cup of Nations after qualifying second in their group behind Ivory Coast. However, they were in the group with the unfortunate Togo team who suffered the horrendous terrorist attack and withdrew from the tournament.
They lost to Ivory Coast and beat Burkino Faso before the quarter final match saw them defeat hosts Angola 1-0. They went on to beat a strong Nigeria side and only lost 1-0 to seven times champions Egypt.
Prior to the World Cup they will have a group camp in France where they will prepare for the tournament by playing Latvia (in England), Holland (in Rotterdam) and another European opponent.
Since the African Cup of Nations finished on the 31st of January, they-ve only played Bosnia Herzegovina where they were defeated 2-1. They-re currently ranked sixth in Africa but on their day they-re definitely above this.
Overall, they-re a strong team and if any team from Africa was going to qualify for the second round of the competition and go into the quarter finals or further Ghana would be as good a place as any to put your money.
The Qantas Socceroos will have their work cut out against the Black Stars and to finish above them in the table has to be seen as a good result.