Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ghana 1 –1 Australia: Player ratings + video match highlights + POLL

Ghana 1-1 Australia
Stadium: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, South Africa
Attendance: 34,812
Match Time: 14:00 GMT, June 19, 2010

South Africa Soccer WCup Ghana Australia
Panstil sustained a horrible injury at the end. Getty Images

22 shots on goal
6 corners
50% possession

Two points dropped, one point gained. That's what it was.

Ghana lost a chance to potentially get out of Group D. No matter what anyone says, we should have won. Ten men in the first half for your opponent means that you go for the kill, not sit and be composed. That said, a draw is better than a loss and we go into the Germany tie with another draw or win on our minds...

Now that you've seen Ghana's two games, let's ask again:

See full match report here. Ratings and video highlights below:

Ghana 1-1 Australia - Highlights

Simão | MySpace Video


Richard Kingson – 6 - Started the game by making some errors and capping it with being ‘Jabulanied’. Made some crucial saves in the final parts of the second half, though. Admittedly, Ghana’d have gone down had Kingson not covered for poor defense.

John Pantsil – 6 – Like in the first game with Serbia, this is not the right-full back we know. Doesn’t surge forward with dangerous plays these days and allowed the Aussies to use his side in the second half. Maybe Inkoom will be used against Germany, with the unfortunate injury he sustained at the end.

Jonathan Mensah – 6 – Being thrown at the lions in the middle of the World Cup is no joke and for all his obvious inexpererience, handled himself well. Don’t forget this is his third cap for the senior side but Ghana clearly need Mensah and/or Vorsah back quickly. Did well to give Ghana the penalty, though.

Hans Adu-Sarpei – 6 – When Ghana had the man advantage, Sarpei was expected to use his side as an attacking option, but didn’t. Defensively made few, if any, mistakes but was tactically out of touch with the rest of the game.
Anthony Annan – 6.5 – Holding the midfield seems to come natuarllay, but he takes the blame for the foul and subsequent goal scored by the Aussies. Apart from that and the (harsh) yellow, he was solid.

Lee Addy – 5 – Disappointing, for someone who went the whole nine yards with Ghana at the Nations Cup, his touch at centre-back wasn’t assured. Needs to be calm and his yellow card was totally unnecessary.

Kevin-Prince Boateng – 6 – was not impressive on the whole. Yes, had some deft touches but couldn’t keep the pressure on the Aussies as he was expected to be the driving force once they went a man down. Substitution in second half was spot on.

Prince Tagoe – 5 – Woeful. His replacement did not come soon enough. Shooting instead of passing, unable to run at the ’Roos, could not play his role on the right well. Where is the old Prince Tagoe?

Kwadwo Asamoah – 7 – The creative hub of Ghana’s play, he was not allowed to do much damage. Also started trying long shots even when he had to pass. However, he set the pace of the game till he went off, although by his standards, did not sparkle. Wasted a fair few freekicks, too.

Andre Ayew – 7 – Hard to find a player better than him in the last two games. Tireless, was the main architect of Ghana’s penalty. Interplay with Asamoah was good but got tired in the middle of the second half. Definitely Ghana’s brightest spot so far.

Asamoah Gyan – 7 – converting only penalties may not be enough for strikers, but he’s getting Ghana precious points. Harassing the Aussies from start till finish but Gyan needs to improve his final touch and scoring. Ghana needs goals from open play, not just gifted penalties.


Quincy Owusu Abeyie – 5 – Stepovers were nice - and useful - this time! Did not have a lot of time to impose himself but definitely played better than Tagoe. Still, his output does not equal his efforts.

Sulley Muntari – n/a – Was on for just 12 minutes. Provided two good passes that could have caused damage. That aside, time was too short to make an impact.

Mathew Amoah – n/a – Even shorter time to do any damage, makes you wonder why he was brought on at the time.

Coach Milovan Rajevac – 7 – He’s got Ghana 4 points, but you feel he could have done better with tactics especially when Kewell was shown the red. Should have piled on the pressure, not sit back and hope. Changes were a bit too late, just like in the Serbia game. That said, he may yet get the Stars into the second round.

Your own ratings are, as always, welcome.

Or follow me personally @garyalsmith

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

International reaction Ghana win vs Serbia

I've been looking to see if the Serbian media would hound Ghana's coach Milovan Rajevac for, perhaps, being unpatriotic.

It's happened before

Although it is an issue largely ignored by other media outlets, Milovan's situation does recall the ugliness that followed the heavy defeat suffered by then Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) at the hands of Yugoslavia when the two countries met in the 1974 World Cup in West Germany.

The 9-0 thumping in Gelsenkirchen remains a low point for African football and had life-changing ramifications for the players, who went from hero to zero, unpaid for their exploits and denied cars and properties promised them by dictator Mobutu Sese Seko as a reward for World Cup qualification.

Many of the surviving members of that side today live in poverty.

Serbia seething

Serbia’s national newspapers, thankfully, left their 56-year old son alone. But they declared a period of mourning after the national team’s 1-0 defeat to Ghana.

They must now win twice to guarantee qualification for the last 16. That seems unlikely if the mood of the Belgrade press pack is anything to go by.

Sportske’s Boris Jovanovic declared the defeat a missed opportunity and appeared to blame the players’ desire.

“I now feel empty, somehow denied. We are accustomed to experiencing it as a matter of life or death and in this we are not alone but looking to happier folk will not help.

“You cannot go to the supermarket shelves and buy some new DNA.

“Our footballers are no different. But listening to their comments I realized that I do not understand in football. Because I think our fight was desperate and it has nothing to do with luck.”

Interesting. I wonder if Ghana's Daily Graphic would have been so harsh. Maybe 90 Minutes.

The national daily, Blic, labelled the defeat self-destruction, blaming manager Radomir Antic’s failure to impose an attacking philosophy on his team’s play in the country’s first World Cup finals match as a fully independent nation.

“Antic was not even close to imposing a rhythm, [the team] mostly missed out the midfield and the main weapons did not function,” declared a Blic sport editorial.

Jovanovic and especially Krasić were harmless, and the most prominent players were no better.”

Injured Serbian striker Bosko Jankovic moaned in the same paper, saying:

“The Germans are a terrible team [to play next].

“They clearly demonstrated that they are the big favourites to win the group. They play excellent and effective football. Ozil is a great player, and Germany do not feel the absence of Ballack.

“It would be better to play against Germany at the end. This match with them comes at the worst time.”

National daily of record Politika got in on the act, disagreeing with Antic’s analysis that Serbia did not play poorly in the match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

“Our national team coach Radomir Antic was unable to hide his expression of dissatisfaction after the loss in [Serbia's] début game at the World Championships,” said Politika’s sports editor Đ. Smiljanic.

“With the name and emblem of Serbia, however, he did not agree with opinions that team played poorly or that his selection was wrong.

“In France ['98] the national team ended with a 2-1 defeat to Holland, and four years ago SCG [Serbia and Montenegro] suffered a debacle, as it again lost to the Netherlands 1-0, Argentina 6-0 and Ivory Coast 3-2 and finished last in the World Cup.

“Unfortunately, this World Cup has started 1-0 defeat to Ghana, so it is the fifth defeat in a row with a 3-13 goal-difference.”

Ghana's glee

Ghana saw a different wave of nationalism get round the nation. Many here also felt the Serbian would be caught in some weird complicity and the relief after the win was something like this.

Meantime if you don't wanna forget the scores and keep track of stuff, you can download a free ESPN Wall Chart here

Till then.

Or follow me personally @garyalsmith