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FIFA World Cup Quarter-Final Preview – Ghana Vs Uruguay

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 advanced to the quarter-finals for the first time in 40 years after Luis Suarez scored twice against South Korea in their 2-1 win over the Asians.

Previously, Suarez was the sole goalscorer against Mexico in Uruguay’s Group A encounter with the North Americans. Uruguay have come a long way in international football, after failing 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 necessary solidity to their solid defense which has conceded just one goal in four games.

Playing against 3 attackers, including Edinson Cavani, the double champions have the advantage over Ghana which is only in its 2nd participation in the World Cup, in South Africa.

Ghana were drawn in a formidable group which included Germany, Australia and Serbia, in addition to themselves. After a 1-0 win over Serbia, Ghana drew 1-1 with Australia before losing a single goal to Germany. Considering both of their goals had resulted from penalty shootouts and Australia were one man short through a red card suspension, Ghana were an unlikely contender in the big boys’ round of 16.

But any doubt about their pedigree was dispelled by their superior performance against the United States. Boateng put them ahead early in the game, and the United States had to wait until the second half to equalize Donovan, via a penalty. Then Asamoah Gyan came to the party, scoring his third goal of the tournament in extra time to secure Ghana’s place in the quarter-finals.

Jonathan Mensah and Lee Addy are young players brought into the squad by coach Rajevac to join the core of star players who led Ghana to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations. In fact, bigger stars like Stephen Appiah and Sulley Muntari haven’t always been in the starting XI.

The youngest team in this World Cup, Ghana, were too fast for the Americans. Besides Gyan, Ghana also have their goalkeeper Richard Kingston to thank for having an outstanding tournament. Luis Suarez has been Uruguay’s star player with 3 goals in the 4 matches played so far. Apart from his goalscoring ability, Suarez also has excellent ball skills and should keep Ghana’s centre-halves on their toes in Friday’s quarter-final.

Asamoah Gyan has excellent ball-holding skills and his goalscoring volley in the USA game should have silenced his critics who doubted his ability to score from open play.

No change is likely in the Uruguay squad that beat South Korea. The attacking 4-3-3 formation has Forlan providing midfield support to the forwards led by Suarez. Cavani on the right flank is expected to drive the ball into the penalty area. The back four will be protected by Perez, who has Rios and Pereira for company.

Gyan will be the only striker in a Ghanaian side who will miss Jonathan Mensah and Andre Ayew, both excluded from the quarter-finals through suspension. Either Lee Addy or Isaac Vorsah could take Mensah’s place as defender, with Muntari in place of Ayew. Although Ghana were determined and showed a competitive streak that most teams would envy, their inability to score gives Uruguay the edge in what should be a fast-paced positive encounter.

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