Ghana were incredibly close to reaching the World Cup semi-finals for the first time ever four years ago, yet Asamoah’s Gyan missed penalty against Uruguay eventually saw their dreams end in dramatic fashion.
This summer’s tournament in Brazil was the perfect way to make amends and banish the demons from memory. Things went differently, though.
With experienced players such as Asamoah Gyan, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Kwadwo Asamoah and Sulley Muntari, combined with talented youngsters like Christian Atsu and Abdul Majeed Waris, the Africans seemed to have the weapons at their disposal to challenge the world’s top nations.
Yet their tournament was marred by matters off the pitch that eventually saw them stumble at the first hurdle. Their opener against USA ended in a disappointing 2-1 loss as they failed to take their chances, making a round of 16 spot a seemingly impossible mission with games against Germany and Portugal coming up.
A 2-2 draw against Joachim Low’s side combined with Portugal’s draw versus USA with the same scoreline on matchday two got them back in contention, though.
A win by two goals over Portugal at the Estadio Mane Garrincha on Thursday would have been enough, so long as Germany would defeat USA. Low’s men did what they had to do. Ghana, however, failed to keep their end of the deal – and they only have themselves to blame.
In the end it was Cristiano Ronaldo that sealed their fate, netting his 50th international goal and could have had more in a second half dominated by the Seleccao.
However despite scoring in his third World Cup tournament, Ronaldo is heading home with his team-mates, exiting to the USA on goal difference. With the Real Madrid superstar turning 30 next year, it will be interesting to see if he has the desire to lead his nation into another tilt at glory in Russia in 2018.