Saturday, June 21, 2014
Folks, the much-anticipated clash with Germany is over and without mincing any word, let me say that our Black Star players have made Ghana really proud. I had nursed serious doubts about their ability to contain a well-organized and tactically efficient German side; but they proved me wrong.
The 2-2 scoreline is respectable (four goals scored in a span of 20 minutes), even though I thought that our defence was sloppy in not preventing the German equalizer. By this feat, our players have posed a huge challenge to Germany because it hasn't qualified to progress to the next stage. It needs a victory over the United States for that purpose.
Ghana plays Portugal next and all lies in the womb of time. All said and done, a huge round of applause for our BOYS!!
Our team showed today that it has quality and talent, which should have earned us victory; but at least, in drawing with the almighty German team, we have proved that our team is the best in the tournament representing Africa. Having already watched how the other African teams have performed, I can easily say that the Ghanaian side has really endeared itself to hearts, judging by the standards raised today.
I saw how sloppy the Cameroonian side is and wondered how that team ever qualified for this tournament. The Algerians too. Nigeria’s draw with Iran could have been turned into victory but the Nigerian players didn't know what they were doing. In the match with Bosnia-Hercegovina, though, Nigeria did better and might as well move on. The Cote d’Ivoire did well in their first match but disappointed me in the follow-up one.
And one good thing to note is that the Germans are also sitting on thorns as of now because their fate is hanging in the balance despite their win over Portugal in the first match. This group, indeed, is living up to its pre-tournament characterization as “the group-of-death”.
At a critical moment when Ghana was leading 2–1, Jordan Ayew made a good dash from the left and tore German defence apart but chose to try his luck instead of releasing the ball to the well-positioned Asamoah Gyan to do damage and move Ghana further ahead. He may be criticized by some for being “selfish”.
True, one expected Jordan to release that ball to the better positioned player with a possibility to score. I didn't like it that he hung on to it to deliver a personal one that didn't give us the moment of joy; but that is soccer. Once we can't be certain that passing the ball to Asamoah Gyan at that crucial moment would definitely lead to a goal, we should tone down our criticism of Jordan. He did his best in the circumstance.
One thing I didn't like, though, has to do with Sulley Muntari, who I thought was too fond of dribbling and losing the ball to the opponents. Then, he was too physical and temperamental, especially whenever he committed a foul to attract the referee's attention. No wonder he was shown a yellow card that would prevent him from playing the match against Portugal.
Although Ghana has a Herculean task in fighting to qualify for the next stage, if it plays with as much competence and dedication as happened a short while ago, it should overcome Portugal (which relies on only one man—Christiano Ronaldo). The Ghanaian players should just take him out of the match with good marking and tackles; and they should be on top.
From what our boys demonstrated in this match—and with the hope that they will do so again against Portugal—I am optimistic that Ghana won't die soon!! Its flag will flutter in the Brazilian skies until it qualifies for the next stage. Portugal will fall. Once again, congratulations to our players and technical team. All hopes aren’t lost yet.
I shall return…
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