Ghana's Andre Ayew celebrates after scoring the 1-1 during the FIFA World Cup 2014 group G preliminary round match between Germany and Ghana at the Estadio Castelao Stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil, 21 June 2014. Photo: Marcus Brandt/dpa/via Getty Images
At Qatar 2022, Ghana will appear at a fourth Fifa World Cup, hoping for more good memories on a stage where they’ve had lots of fun in the past. Ahead of their November 24 kick-off against Portugal at the futuristic Stadium 974 in Doha, Ink & Kicks reviews the 13 goals already in the Black Stars’ World Cup account.
Today, we’re on Goal #11…
En route to winning the 2014 Fifa World Cup, the country’s fourth title, Germany brushed aside a number of pedigreed opponents with varying degrees of ease.
But none of those heavyweights – Portugal, France, hosts Brazil, or fellow finalists Argentina – gave Joachim Low’s would-be champions as stern a test as Ghana, a relatively small side.
The two teams met in the second round of Group G matches, in Fortaleza, with Ghana needing a result more positive than the 2-1 defeat to the USA in the opener days prior; Germany, on the other hand, had thumped the Portuguese 4-0 to start their campaign, and wanted to wrap up qualification quickly.
But the Nationalmannschaft weren’t going to have it all their way. Yes, they got the first goal, through Mario Gotze – the guy whose extra-time strike would settle the World Cup final, weeks later, in Germany’s favour against Lionel Messi and his band of Argentines – but Ghana hit back, boldly and speedily.
It only took them three minutes – the 54th minute, to be specific – to do so, the equaliser set up courtesy of a brilliant cross swung in by one of the best performers on the night.
Harrison Afful had sat out Ghana’s lost duel with the USA, with Daniel Opare preferred instead, but he was reinstated as right-back in the starting XI for the Germany game. With a display that left his opposite number, Benedikt Howedes, almost traumatised, Afful shone and sparkled.
Afful had just watched, from close quarters, Gotze slip past him to score quite a clumsy goal – the German’s attempted header came off his knee before going in – and while he wasn’t exactly at fault for that concession, it must have spurred the former Asante Kotoko man on to make his own mark at the other end.
Collecting the ball near his flank, Afful whipped it with lots of verve and bend and height into the opponents’ box, where Ayew was waiting. And what the latter delivered remains the only headed goal Ghana has ever scored at the World Cup — a real collector’s item.
A giant he isn’t, but Ayew has never been shy to soar and apply that bald pate of his to the ball when a chance to do so presents itself, as he did so effectively in this instance.
He’d levelled, remember, with an altogether different type of goal in the previous game against the USA. And though that goal didn’t inspire the sort of outcome that would have brought Ghanaians any measure of pleasure on that occasion, this one would.