Ghana Camp Focus – More discipline and authority needed against Germany

Ghana can be somewhat disappointed with their 1-1 draw against Australia on Saturday. The Black Stars failed to beat the Socceroos after Harry Kewell was sent off after just 24 minutes when he handled on the goal line. Coach Milovan Rajevac said after the draw: “The result is quite good – even if we had won we would have needed a point against Germany.” He went on to say: “It shows that there is no game won in advance at the World Cup, all we can regret is having so many chances but not scoring. But that is football.

The straight-talking Serb gives a very fair reflection on his team’s performance and the Ghanaians now know they have to up the tempo against Germany to progress. Undoubtedly the injuries to John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah proved harmful to the Black Stars chances but it was in attack they were ineffective. Restricted to long-range efforts and therefore becoming increasingly frustrated in their quest for a winner. Ghana lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation with a different central defensive pairing of Jonathan Mensah and Lee Addy vying to halt any Australian onslaught.

However it was Wigan Athletic’s Richard Kingson who gifted the Socceroos their opening goal on 11 minutes. In what is becoming a theme of this year’s World Cup, Kingson inexplicably fumbled a long range effort from Mark Bresciano and straight into the path of Brett Holman who did not need a second invitation, duly prodding home from close range. Now it was a question of how Africa’s only winners of this year’s tournament would pick themselves up from going a goal behind and they found the answer in former Leeds United and Liverpool winger Kewell. He handled a shot on the goal line from Mensah which was flying in beyond the reach of Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer. Kewell protested his innocence but to no avail. Rennes striker Asamoah Gyan stepped up to stroke home his second goal of the tournament and reinstall the belief back into the Black Stars.

Nevertheless, Australia persevered and kept playing with the belief they could actually gain something from an expected Ghanaian onslaught. The Socceroos were hammered 4-0 by Germany in their opening game and Ghana perhaps thought the Australian back four would dismantle with such ease. They were proved wrong and easily frustrated as Australia began to play with a dogged determination. Ghana had once again left captain Stephen Appiah on the bench and this may well have been their downfall. As the game wore on the Black Stars frustration became clear for all to see and even the introduction of treble winner Sulley Muntari could not help the Africans find a winner.

It must be acknowledged Ghana played some lovely free-flowing football and stretched the Australian full backs time and time again but they never looked like they had a plan B. Even with the 1 man advantage Ghana’s inexperience glowed somewhat and they need to keep focus and discipline if they are to go far in this year’s tournament.

With just a point needed against Germany in their last group game, it will be interesting to see how they react to this draw. Rajevac needs to prepare the team in a way that sees them keep level-headed and regimented-easier said than done. Possibly the re-instalment of captain Appiah will see the law and order restored to the midfield which at times looked lacklustre with the inexperienced Kevin-Prince Boateng. Wingers Andre Ayew and Prince Tagoe play such a pivotal role in the Ghanaian attack and Gyan is more than capable of being a handful to even the best defenders in the world. Do not be surprised to see Rajevac name the same side as Saturday’s team-maybe with John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah returning after their injuries. Muntari must be chomping at the bit to start against the Germans and Kingson will have better days.

It will be a fascinating few days in the Ghana camp as Rajevac has a question or two he needs to answer in order to achieve a positive result against the Germans. Does he include experienced midfielders Muntari and Appiah? Will John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah be match fit? How do Ghana cope if a lack of discipline begins to set in? These all need to be answered by the Coach if they are to gain the desired result and move into the second round.

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