GROUP D STANDINGS AFTER WEEK 1

13 Jul

Group D            W            D            L            GD            PTS

Germany              1            0            0              4              3

Ghana 1            0             0              1              3

Serbia                   0            0            1            -1              0

Australia              0                  0            1            -4              3

Black Stars VS Serbia

Ghana is my tip for African glory in South Africa this year. An emergent, force to be reckoned with, the young team have had to make do with what anyone else would deem a makeshift outfit, due to the absenteeism of a number of influential senior players following long lasting injuries. The Black Stars have simply got on with the job at hand, promoted their juniors players and have shown unshakable unity and determination to reach the finals with each player grabbing the opportunity thrown his way with both feet. Made up hugely of youngsters who have seen it all already having won the Under 21 World Cup 2 years ago the World Cup will simply be the next challenge for the Ghanaians. The Black Stars added to their accolades in January, finishing second in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Ghana came out strong and displayed why they are still considered African heavyweights. Keeping the Serbs on the backfoot, Ghana shot forward time and time again with Gyan leading the charge. In fairness there was a lack of clear cut chances for Gyan to latch onto but his presence was undeniable and the Serbian back four simply didn’t know what to do with him.  Serbia too had their chances, but were happy to go into the break honours even after an exciting, high tempo match up that had draw written all over it. The second half saw Gyan and captain Mensa squander chances, while at the other end Asamoah had to come to his keeper’s rescue to keep a Zigic header out. Serbia’s main strength lay in their ability cut out crosses lead by the ever-impressive Vidic. But even he was eventually left stranded and Ghana should have taken a lead when Ayew headed onto the outside of the post. Delight for the Black Stars when Serbia were reduced to ten men for a second yellow for Lukovic. The Ghanaians made the extra man tell, continuing to flood forward and eventually forcing the error from Kuzmanovic who delibaratly controlled with his hand when attempting to clear his lines. Up stepped Gyan to take the resulting penalty, finishing with aplomb to wrong foot the keeper and gain Africa its first win of the 2010 World Cup. 1- 0

Gyan had the opportunity to inflict further damage on Serbia late on when he made a mockery of the defence and slammed the ball deftly passed the flailing keeper. The ball hit the post and bounced kindly into Stojkovic’s gloves.

Having seen Germany’s emphatic triumph over Australia soon after this match, this narrow victory will go a long way to boost confidence in the Black Stars camp, not to mention puts a foot in the door to the final 16. A little favour from the Serbs when they play the Germans wouldn’t go amiss either.

Final Score: Ghana 1 – 0 Serbia

Man of the Match: has got to be Gyan, looked the only player on the pitch likely to score and very nearly claimed his brace with immaculate technique.

Talking point: I’m really looking forward to watching the young teams in the tournament – Ghana and Chile. Both sides have risen through the ranks together from under 21 level and will be very entertaining as the tournament progresses.

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