Uruguay and Ghana meet in Johannesburg, on Friday in a match to decide who will be one of the four semi finalists of this edition of the World Cup. Uruguay qualified for the quarter final, for the first time in 40 years, after Luis Suarez scored twice against South Korea in their 2-1 win over the Asians.
Earlier Suarez was the lone scorer against Mexico in Uruguay’s group A encounter with the North Americans. Uruguay have come a long way in International football, after they failed to qualify for the 2006 edition of the World Cup. Apart from Suarez, in Diego Forlan, Uruguay have an exciting talent that gives their attack the solidity to go with their strong defence that has only conceded one goal in four matches.
Playing 3 strikers, including Edinson Cavani, the 2-time champions hold the edge over Ghana who are in only their 2nd World Cup appearance, in South Africa.
Ghana were drawn in a formidable group that had Germany, Australia and Serbia, besides themselves. After a 1-0 win over Serbia, Ghana drew 1-1 against Australia, before going on to lose by a solitary goal to Germany. Considering that both their goals had resulted from penalties, and that Australia were a man short, owing to a red card suspension, Ghana were an unlikely entrant to the big boys’ round of 16.
But any doubts about their pedigree was set to rest by their superior showing against USA. Boateng put them ahead early in the match, and USA had to wait until the second half for a Donovan equaliser, via a penalty. Then Asamoah Gyan came to the party, scoring his third goal of the tournament in extra time, to cement Ghana’s place in the quarter final.
Jonathan Mensah and Lee Addy are young players brought into the team by coach Rajevac to join hands with the core of star players that took Ghana to the African Cup of Nations final. In fact, bigger stars like Stephen Appiah and Sulley Muntari have not always been in the starting eleven.
The youngest team of this World Cup, Ghana were too fast on their feet for the Americans. Apart from Gyan, Ghana must also thank their keeper Richard Kingston who has had an outstanding tournament. Luis Suarez has been Uruguay’s star player with 3 goals in the 4 matches played so far. Apart from his goal scoring ability, Suarez also has great ball skills, and should keep the Ghana centre halves on their toes, in Friday’s quarter final.
Asamoah Gyan has great ball holding skills and his scoring volley in the USA game should have silenced his critics who doubted his ability to score in open play.
No change is likely in the Uruguay team that beat South Korea. The attacking 4-3-3 formation has Forlan offering midfield support to the strikers led by Suarez. Cavani on the right flank will be expected to get the ball ino the box from wide. The back four will be protected by Perez, who has Rios and Pereira for company.
Gyan will be the lone striker of a Ghana squad that will miss Jonathan Mensah and Andre Ayew, both out of the quarter final owing to suspension. Either Lee Addy or Isaac Vorsah could take Mensah’s place as defender, with Muntari in for Ayew. Though Ghana have been determined and shown a competitive streak that most teams would envy, their inability to score goals gives Uruguay the advantage in what should be a positive fast paced encounter.