The pain of 2010 is still in the back of Ghana supporters’ minds as the Black Stars try once again to become the first African nation to make the semifinals of the World Cup. 

The Star

Michael Essien remains the key ingredient of a formidable Ghana midfield. Though he’s seen his playing time decrease as of late, the Black Stars will still be relying on his strength and relentless work rate to overwhelm opposing defences. 

Fast Facts

  • World Cup Group: G
  • Nickname: The Black Stars
  • Manager: Akwasi Appiah
  • Captain: Asamoah Gyan
  • FIFA World Ranking: 37
  • Best World Cup Result: Quarter-finals, 2010
  • Qualification Method: 1st in CAF Group D, defeated Egypt in playoff

Road to Rio

Ghana was done no favours by the qualifying draw, which pitted the Black Stars against 2012 African champs Zambia. But Ghana won five matches out of six to book a spot in the playoff, and turned what could’ve been a very tricky tie against Egypt into a rout by winning 7-3 on aggregate to earn a place in Brazil. 

How they Fared in 2010

Ghana had a glorious chance to become the first African nation in history to advance to the semifinals of the World Cup. But instead, the Black Stars were at the centre of the most controversial and heartbreaking moment in South Africa. 

In the final throes of extra time in its quarter-final match against Uruguay, Ghana nearly scored on a corner kick, only to have the ball cleared off the line by villain/hero Luis Suarez with as blatant a handball as you’ll ever see. Suarez was sent off, and Ghana had a penalty kick to win the match. But Asamoah Gyan missed, the match went to penalties, and the Black Stars lost. Four years on people still debate whether Gyan or Suarez are more to blame for the loss. 

Fixtures

Group G

  • Monday June 16 -- Ghana vs. USA, 6 p.m. ET
  • Saturday June 21 -- Germany vs. Ghana, 3 p.m. ET
  • Thursday June 26 -- Portugal vs. Ghana, Noon ET

Outlook

Ghana’s football federation spared no expense to ensure the side was ready for Brazil, but another unfavourable draw can easily see the Black Stars out of the World Cup at the first hurdle this time around. 

If Ghana is to achieve its aspirations of a semifinal berth, it’ll have to survive the Group G trial by fire by overcoming its weak spots everywhere other than midfield. Even a repeat quarter-final berth would be a victory in Brazil, considering the difficult draw the Black Stars find themselves in.