Pride of Africa
The World Cup is now just down to eight teams, the very best in the world. Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Ghana, Holland, Paraguay, Spain and Uruguay. The serious business is now in session.
But one team, none of the big boys, I want to see go on even further than they have and there is a very good chance that they can do that. That team is Ghana.
Ghana were the only African team to make it out of the group stages, a fact where South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast all failed (incidently, between those four teams, out of twelve games, only two were won, South Africa against France and the Ivory Coast against North Korea). The hopes of Africa in this African World Cup relies solely on a group of 23 men known as the Black Stars.
It hasn’t been a bad World Cup for them so far, an impressive record of 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat. It was a brilliant start for them as an Asamoah Gyan penalty beat Serbia 1-0, they followed that up with a 1-1 draw of Australia, another penalty from that man Gyan. They lost to eventual group winners Germany 1-0, but showed promise and intent when going forward, it was a good sign.
The Round of 16 game was againt the USA, a team who had taken advantage of a below par England team by finishing top of the group. The perfect start, German born Kevin Prince Boateng scoring after just five minutes taking advantage of a gap left by Timo Howard from range. Jonathan Mensah fouled Clint Dempsey to give the US hope, which Landon Donovan took advantage of from the spot. But as the match moved into extra time, Gyan controlled brilliant before beating Howard to help the Black Stars advance to the Quarter Finals.
Both times Ghana have qualified for the World Cup, they have made it to the knockout stages. In 2006, they fell at the hurdle of the biggest team in the world, Brazil. This year they have went one stop further and face opposition similar to them, Uruguay. Despite deadly attacking from Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan, they are uncertain at the back, an area Ghana are very strong in.
Richard Kingson is third choice keeper at Wigan Athletic, yet he has been unbelievably strong at the back for Ghana. The team have only conceded three goals, one of the best in the tournament. The back four itself has been strong and consistant, the back featuring the Mensah brothers and John Pantsil, its worked well so far, I’m hoping it continues tomorrow.
The winner of this are most likely to be knocked out by the winner of Holland v Brazil, but the semi finals is no mean achievement. Ghana will become the first African team to ever make it this far into a tournament, their records are so far equalling that of Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002. History can be made tomorrow afternoon should they beat Uruguay, and in the world cup labeled as Africa United, it should be history well recieved.
I want Ghana to beat Uruguay tomorrow for many reasons, I don’t want a domination of South American teams in the semi finals, a possible Uruguay-Brazil, Argentina-Paraguay can happen. To me, despite it happening in Germany four years ago with a fully European semi final, will not be in the best interests and for Ghana, a team who were severerly weakend by the loss of Michael Essien before the tournament it would be brilliant if they could go on and win it. For Ghana and for Africa.