Group D-Day

 

Black Stars train on eve of match against Germany

 

War analogies are often misused when it comes to sports but today’s Ghana vs Germany match will be as close to a battle as one is going to see on a football pitch.

Tonight at soccer city, all the expectations and predictions for Group D are going to be reduced to one 90 minute football match. Ghana has a chance to inflict the soccer equivalent of D Day on ze Germans and plant its red, gold, green on the turf at soccer city while proclaiming, “This is our house. This is our territory.” It is arguably the biggest game in Ghana’s history. After the exit of three African teams and the almost certain exit of a fourth in Cote d’ Ivoire, we have the opportunity to put the continent on cloud billion. I can just see it in my mind’s eye, the kind of joyous scenes that will play out if we manage to join our Senegalese and Camerounian brothers in making history. It would be the biggest upset in this year’s World Cup if we beat the Germans and knocked them out of the competition. So yes, I can imagine it. In those rare moments where I let myself be wildly optimistic, I can even feel it.

But it is Germany and they rarely lose. Make no mistake about it, it will be one of the hardest matches Team Ghana will endure. We go against a formidable foe with an incredible history of success at this competition. We go mano e mano against a team that when it gets going scores goals for fun. We will face a tough opponent that lost a painful one against the Serbs and is eager to redeem themselves. As Coach Milovan Rajevac pointed out in his final press conference before the game yesterday, “Germany is ranked better than us on the paper” but paper never played football for which we thank God.  

Add our own limitations to the equation, foremost among them our inability to put away our chances and the prospect of facing Germany is at times frightening. Our goal scoring situation has even been comically reduced to a tag line, “One Goal Project.” But one goal or not, I share Milo’s philosophy that all we want is the result. For him, if we do not concede a goal, we are through. To that end, the injuries we had before the match against Australia in John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah must not be present for this match. Certainly, both missing this match would create some problems. Fortunately or unfortunately, Milo did not touch on injuries or on who he would play, simply saying he had 23 players to choose from. 

As for us fans, it is likely to be a game where the heart beats to levels it has rarely known and the nerves do not react normally. Knees will feel like jelly when the storm clouds gather (Germans on attack). If you are going to soccer city bring all the warm clothing you can because whatever the thermometer says, when the nerves set in it will feel like you are in a freezer!!! 

Hopefully, we will not be left out in the cold. Go Black Stars.

Other nuggets from Milo’s press conference yesterday

MILO ON GERMANS WITHOUT KLOSE AND POSSIBLE WEAKNESSES

“This ejection of Klose will have an impact on the tactics of the German team. We know the German team relatively well. It’s an excellent team. It’s a strong football power and we’re sure they will have an excellent pace until the last minute of the game. We don’t think they have weaknesses. The only thing that I might mention is that they might have psychological problems because it is a decisive game for the Germans. It’s so to speak a final game for Germany and I will have to see how these weaknesses will be reflected on the pitch but it is one of the best teams worldwide.”

MILO ON SULLEY MUNTARI ISSUE

“We  are no longer focused on this.”

MILO ON PRESSURE ON KEVIN PRINCE TO SHINE AGAINST GERMANY ESP IN WAKE OF BALLACK INJURY AND POSSIBLY FACING HIS BROTHER

“The media created this problem and even if it was a problem it is behind us… I think he will play without any pressure.” 

PRINCE TAGOE ON A QUESTION ON WHETHER THERE ARE ANY SPECIAL PREPARATIONS THE STARS DO. THE JOURNALIST ACTUALLY ASKED WHETHER THEY PRACTICE JUJU. 

“We pray to the almighty God.” “We have some kind of unity in the team and that is what is keeping us going.”

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