Ghana’s time at the 2022 FIFA World Cup comes to an end after a 2-0 loss to Uruguay.
In 2009, Ghana becomes the first African nation to win a FIFA tournament by attaining the under-20 FIFA World Cup in Egypt.
The next year, they almost become first African nation to reach the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup, unfortunately they falter to Uruguay on penalties. It seems like a new golden era of Black Stars soccer is on the horizon.
Twelve years later, and Ghana is back to square one.
Heading into their final Group H match against Uruguay, the Black Stars were in the driver seat to advance. A win would have guaranteed their place in round of 16.
A draw would have worked if Portugal had beaten South Korea.
Prior to the match, media and fans are describing the showdown as a revenge match but the players downplay those claims.
Prior to the match, a Ghanaian journalist tells Luis Suarez about his poor reputation in the West African nation due to his handball in 2010.
“I don’t apologize about that, I did the handball, but the Ghana player [Asamoah Gyan] missed the penalty, not me.
I could apologize if I injured a player with a tackle and got a red card, but in this situation, I take a red card and the referee says penalty.”
When Tinkering Goes Wrong
Head coach Otto Addo made two changes to his starting lineup. He replaced fullbacks Gideon Mensah and Tariq Lamptey with Baba Rahman and Alidu Seidu.
The latter were the worst performers in Ghana’s 3-2 loss to Portugal.
For them to return to the starting lineup in the most important game of their campaign was confusing.
Also, another formation change takes place as the Black Stars lineup in 4-2-3-1 with Mohammed Kudus serving as the lone striker.
The plan looked effective as Kudus drew a penalty early in the match. After a thorrough VAR check, captain Andre Ayew approaches to takes the spot kick for Ghana.
Goalkeeper Sergio Rochet blocked the attempt. In the 26th minute, a cross goes into the 18-yard box.
Daniel Amartey and Seidu are unable to clear the ball. Suarez shoots the ball. Goalkeeper Lawrence Ati Zigi blocks the shot, but Giorgian de Arrascaeta heads the ball into the net with a simple header.
Another Seidu positional error leaves de Arrascaeta unmarked, and the midfielder completed a brace.
At halftime, Addo subs off Ayew and his younger brother, Jordan. It may mark the end of an era. Andre is a member of the Black Satellites team that makes history in 2009 and he is on the 2010 team that loses to La Celeste in South Africa.
Many consider the siblings to be symbols of nepotism because their father is arguably the greatest Ghanaian soccer player of all-time in Abedi Pele.
In 2013, they shockingly retire from international soccer. The Ghana FA successfully convinces them to return shortly.
Afterwards, they are always selected for national team duty even if they are not in form at their respective clubs. The substitutions bare no fruit as Ghana are unable to score and fail to take advantage of an golden opportunity.
Following the match, Addo steps down from his role. The former Black Stars international is focused on his assistant coach job at Borussia Dortmund.
Moving forward, the Black Stars must be built around Kudus. The Ajax attacker is a prodigious talent with the ability to become a world class player.
As the youngest team in the World Cup, there is plenty of talent to develop. Time together will only bring chemistry. Hopefully, this loss can service as a launchpad to a successful period.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Sports Press Photo
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