WORLD CUP HISTORY: Ghana did themselves proud in their World Cup debut in 2006, qualifying for the knockout stage. But wins against the United States and the Czech Republic confirmed a new player was in town on the world soccer stage. Ghana were the youngest squad four years ago in Germany, which bodes well for them in this tournament.
QUALIFICATION: The Black Stars struggled early in qualifying, barely making it out of the opening phase in Africa. However, the team found their groove when it mattered most, motoring through their group in the final phase. Ghana won their first four matches without conceding a goal en route to a second straight World Cup qualification.
KEY PLAYER: Sulley Muntari. It’s never easy when a top player goes down through injury, and Ghana can certainly attest to that upon hearing the news that Michael Essien will not be fit for the World Cup. Fresh off a Champions League victory with Inter Milan, Muntari returns to Ghana after a falling out with Milovan Rajevac prior to the African Cup of Nations. The midfielder has big shoes to fill, but a renewed dedication to the Black Stars will help ease the pain of Essien’s absence.
EXPECTATIONS: While Group D may not be the group of death, it’s not far off. Germany, Serbia and Australia provide formidable opponents in one of the most open groups at the World Cup. Playing on their home continent, Ghana can realistically expect a shot at the knockout stage, and from there look to cause a few surprises.