Preview: Black Stars prepare for upcoming World Cup in a friendly test with unknown opponents
Placed in what has been described as this year's "Group of Death" alongside European heavyweights Germany and Portugal as well as familiar foe United States, Ghana will certainly have a tough task ahead to qualify for the knockout stages in their third World Cup appearance.
Hence, in order to prepare for the eagerly anticipated tournament, the Black Stars will be taking on several European and South American teams over the next few months so as to get a feel of what to expect once in Brazil.
All eyes will be on the big event at Costa do Sauipe in Bahia this Friday. World Football will finally get to know how the 32 qualified nations will be grouped at the 2014 FIFA World Cup next summer.
Indeed, the Final Draw is an extremely big event in itself as 2,000 reporters will deliver live coverage in 193 countries worldwide. The ceremony will have as many as 1,300 guests including legends of the Beautiful Game.
During the draw, one team from the all-European Pot 4 will randomly be selected and fall into Pot 2. This process is to avoid having more than two European teams in a same group at the World Cup.
Preview: Blacks Stars and Pharaohs both going for the kill
The first leg of this CAF World Cup Qualifying playoff match staged in Kumasi produced a surprise with seven goals split 6-1 in favour of the hosts. What sort of show will the public witness in the second leg? The Egyptians are facing a daunting task to reverse this humiliating score line. If hopes of reaching Brazil 2014 are almost all gone, the desire to restore pride is very much alive for the Pharaohs.
The home crowd will be expecting an acceptable performance from Bob Bradley’s men whereas the visitors will do everything to delight away supporters as well as fans back home. Last Friday, Egypt warmed up for their upcoming clash with a 2-0 win over Zambia. A repeat of that score line would still deny them a spot at the World Cup but interestingly damage Ghana’s momentum.
Preview: CAF World Cup Qualifying’s first-leg playoffs to close in epic fashion
This Tuesday, Egypt will be united. The political divisions that have put the country into an unsafe place will pause as the national football team will be in Kumasi to fight for World Cup 2014 tickets against African giants Ghana.
The build up to this match has been incredible on both sides. The Black Stars have been promised a bonus fee of $15,000 per player. This massive amount has provoked outrage among a portion of the nation, as Goal.com writer Nana Frimpong reported on Monday.
However, its purpose to serve as maximum motivation for the squad, who finished as runners-up behind champions Egypt at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, has got the majority of fans backing their heroes all the same. The country is truly obsessed with World Cup fever.
American soccer fans will have the opportunity to watch the biggest match of the CAF World Cup qualifying playoffs on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. LiveSoccerTV – your ultimate source for live stream and TV listings of U.S. channels and worldwide sports network – will keep updating the Ghana-Egypt match page with information.
The two giant African footballing nations, Ghana and Egypt, were paired together when the draw for the 2014 CAF World Cup qualifying playoffs took place on September 16. One of these great contenders will suffer the pain of missing out of Brazil 2014.
1) Which countries have dominated the FIFA U-20 World Cup as champions?
The most successful team in the history of the competition is not a European team. Spain has only lifted the cup once in 1999 while West Germany won it in 1981.
Argentina has been crowned a record six times, the most in this competition. They won in 1979, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2007.
Brazil, the current holders, has the second most number of titles to their name with five. Their victories came in 1983, 1985, 1993, 2003 and 2011.
2) What is the United States’ record at the FIFA U-20 World Cup?
UK viewers can tune in to British EuroSport / HD and ITV4 to follow their favourite English Premier League stars of African origins such as Chelsea’s Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel fight to carry the ultimate trophy to Nigeria.
Thanks to ESPN3 and Watch ESPN, soccer fans in the United States of America have been able to watch all matches thus far. The last two fixtures of a total of 32 AFCON 2013 battles will take place this weekend. The huge event kicked off on Saturday, January 19, 2013 with hosts South Africa drawing goalless against Cape Verde. A lot happened since that opening match.
In the knockout stages, the Bafana Bafana lost to semi-finalists Mali on penalties. Cape Verde's dream came to an abrupt end against Ghana, Nigeria stunned Ivory Coast and so did Burkina Faso against Emmanuel Adebayor's Togo.
The semi-final stage provided plenty goals and thrills as the Black Stars suffered a heart-breaking loss to the Stallions while the Super Eagles brushed Mali aside. Watch the Third-place final between Ghana and Mali live at 13:00 EST / 18:00 GMT on Saturday, February 9, 2013. Catch the big final, Nigeria vs Burkina Faso, live on Sunday, February 10 at 13:00 EST / 18:00 GMT. Which country will end up winning the precious trophy?
Bronze is not what these two contenders from Group B – especially Ghana – aimed to play for. Before traveling to Nelspruit to play Burkina Faso at the Mbombela Stadium in the semis, the high-flying Black Stars had vowed not to return to Port Elizabeth where they were based for their first four matches.
The mission was to go from Port Elizabeth, to Nelspruit and then ultimately to Johannesburg for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final. The reality turned out differently to what the Ghanaian team and its millions of fans wished for. Despite falling on the favoured side of appalling officiating by Tunisia referee Slim Jedidi against Burkina Faso, the Black Stars lost 3-2 on penalties to the Stallions after a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes.
The Black Stars play as if they have understood and mastered one major guideline: it is not how well you perform that counts but how good you are at finding your way out.
In their quarter-finals, for example, only two of their eight shots were on target; they converted these two strikes to win the match 2-0. Confidence is high in Ghana’s camp thanks to the influence of names like striker Wakaso and goalkeeper Dauda.
With three clean sheets and eight goals in their four Africa Cup of Nations matches, the Black Stars look free from headaches at the back or upfront. Remarkably, they have done that without the help of the influential Ayew brothers whom coach Kwesi Appiah controversially excluded from the AFCON 2013 squad.
Both sides met in a friendly match played in Portugal last November. Barely three months since then, they are vying in the AFCON 2013 Last 8.
How Ghana qualified from Group B
The Black Stars were the first side to hit the back of the net at this 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. Goals from Agyemang Badu and Kwadwo Asamoah seemed to have given a sure victory for Ghana but opponents Congo DR had other ideas. Mputu reduced the deficit before Mbokani cut the Ghanaians’ points through a 68th minute penalty goal.
In the previous round of fixtures, Niger gave Congo much space but both teams were too wasteful and unlucky at times so the match ended goalless. It could be a mistake for the Menas to approach Ghana with a positive style.
The Black Stars boosted their confidence thanks to a 1-0 win over Mali in their second game. The absence of penalty goal scorer Wakaso, through injury, may not harm Ghana much as captain Asamoah Gyan will be looking to steal the spotlight at last.
History was made last Sunday as Mali became the first side to win a match at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. An 84th minute goal from national hero Seydou Keita settled things at the disappointment of Niger. What motivates the current Group B leaders is the war back home. The Malians will be confident of beating Ghana for the second time in 13 months.
The pressure on the Black Stars to deliver is intense after their opening match against Congo DR produced an unconvincing outcome. The Ghanaians squandered a 2-0 advantage as the match ended all square.
Thanks to convincing victories in warm-up matches against Egypt and Tunisia, the Black Stars are in positive mood ahead of their big AFCON 2013 opening fixture. The Ghanaians, often criticized for netting a few amount of goals in contrast to their number of chances per game, have now started scoring from set pieces.
Midfielder Agyemang Badu and defender John Boye both scored with headers from free-kicks against Egypt and Tunisia. On a rather ironic note, confidence seems higher among Ghanaian fans due to Asamoah Gyan’s promise to never take penalties again – after he squandered crucial ones at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2012 AFCON.
British Eurosport will broadcast LIVE high definition coverage of all 32 games from the 19th January – 10th February.
Ivory Coast will boast a star-studded line-up and will again be among the favourites for the title. Among them include their all-time top scorer Didier Drogba now of Shanghai Shenhua. Joining him up-front will be Arsenal’s Gervinho, as well as Wigan’s Arouna Kone. In the heart of the midfield will be Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Newcastle United’s Cheick Tiote.
Ghana are likely to be one of the other stand-out performers, as they also possess players such as Al Ain forward Asamoah Gyan and Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah. Bristol City’s Albert Adomah will also be making his first appearance at the tournament.
It is believed that the Ghanaian national team has suffered from clashes of egos for too long and bad results always cause divisions within the FA, the squad, the media and the fans.
This time, suspense surrounds the camp of the Black Stars ahead of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Cup. This is because of the composition of Kwesi Appiah’s squad. The coach made a very bold move by choosing to leave out the influential Ayew brothers – Andre and Jordan.
Chile's Argentine boss Claudio Borghi will field a close to full-strength side against the Africans, which include the likes of exciting Barcelona winger Alexis Sanchez, Matias Fernandez, Humberto Suazo, Gary Medel and recent Napoli signing Eduardo Vargas.
But Borghi will be unable to count with the presence of five key players who are completing…