Archives » Ghana

Uruguay 1-1 Ghana

Soccer City, Johannesburg, 2/7/10. aet 1-1: pens 4-2

This game had everything.

Both teams going for it, momentum see-sawing, chances at both ends, crunching tackles, neat passing, a surprising long range goal, a superbly struck free kick, a sending-off, a last minute (of extra time) penalty – missed. A game like this is why football can be so enthralling.

Sadly the culmination was a penalty shoot-out; never a satisfactory way for a team to lose.

The first half was one of two quarters. It looked bad for Ghana – not at the races early on. After about twenty minutes there was a stat that said: Corners; Uruguay 4-0 Ghana.

Then Ghana got their first and suddenly it was all them and Uruguay “fell oot it.*”

Ghana deserved their lead at the break. The second half was more even. Ghana were shading it in extra time but Uruguay were never unthreatening.

Btw it took till extra time before the commentators noticed Ghana were stationing two men on the goal line at their attacking corners – something I clocked very early.

I also thought that, since the keeper had come out, Stephen Appiah might have been offside before he hooked the ball towards goal immediately before the handball on the line and that therefore it shouldn’t have been a penalty – but that would have deprived us of the compelling finale.

* (phrase © a schoolmate of mine.)

Denmark 1-3 Japan

Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, 24/6/10

A thoroughly deserved win for Japan. Denmark were turgid, uncreative and pedestrian. The Japanese were quick, bright and incisive, passing the ball delightfully, and in Keisuke Honda had the best player on the pitch – though some of the other Japanese ran him close. If it weren’t likely to be construed as politically incorrect I’d have said the Japanese were nippy. The Danes weren’t at the races.

Their first two were magnificent strikes (goalkeeping aberrations accepted) but Japan’s third goal was a thing of beauty, Honda turning the Danish defender inside out and giving Thomas Sorensen the eyes before laying it on a plate for Okazaki.

(Speaking of un-PC-ness, what was it with the Germans and that black outfit in the Ghana game? I know it’s one of the colours on their flag but a black uniform on Germans has unfortunate resonances. What was wrong with their traditional green second strip?)

And what odds could I have got on New Zealand going through their group unbeaten?

As I thought in game 1, Italy were vulnerable at the back. Buffon’s absence probably didn’t help them. At least they weren’t wearing that sky blue effort – not to mention the brown shorts – they had at the Confederations Cup.

And France went out early as I expected.

More 1966-all-over-again nonsense to endure from the commentariat.

At least until Sunday.

Ghana 0-1 Egypt

Africa Cup of Nations, Final, 11th November National Stadium, Luanda, 31/1/10

A forgettable first half, followed by an upturn in the last twenty minutes as Ghana started to push forward having restricted Egypt and making them resort to handballs and falling over in the penalty area.

The goal when it came was a beauty, though; exquisitely taken by Gedo.

Ghana may be dark horses in the World Cup if they forsake the caution they showed here. They’ll have a fair few experienced players back by then.

Strange that Egypt are so strong in the Cup of Nations and can’t seem to qualify for the bigger event.

World Cup Finals Draw

No sooner had the tedious process finished than Motty was at it again. England willl win it, he said.

At least Alan Shearer and Mark Lawrenson went for Spain and Brazil – though, historically, Spain have an even poorer World Cup record than England. (Not so in European Championships, of course.)

There was a degree of unseemly euphoria at England’s “good” draw and first place in the group was taken for granted. Already it was so-and-so (possibly Germany, though the likely alternatives, Australia – even Serbia and Ghana – could be tough prospects) in the last sixteen and France in the quarter finals.

Let us be clear about this. The USA are no mugs. They could have won the Confederations Cup last summer. If the USA play to form, England will be stretched to beat them. Algeria beat the African Nations champions, Egypt, to qualify and Slovenia may well spring a surprise.

[By the way, judging by how France struggled to qualify, they will only get to the last sixteen if Uruguay and South Africa are mince. I expect at least one of them to be tougher.]

As for the quarter finals, that will be your lot. Overseas it usually is.

free hit counter script