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 #12…
Germany – for a while – were dazed, unsure from just where this blitz had come.
Only 12 minutes after opening the scoring in their second Group G game at the 2014 Fifa World Cup, against Ghana, the would-be champions were a goal down – the result of their African opponents firing two quick strikes of their own.
If the first of those was an exhibition of Ghana’s aerial ability, the second showed just how well that team could play on the deck – and it involved Sulley Muntari, a man many may have written off.
Muntari was in the twilight of his career, not as essential to the national team as he had been in his younger years. That assessment was pretty fair, but not just because Muntari was already close to his 30th birthday.
At the previous World Cup, he’d been shunted to the periphery, despite scoring in Ghana’s ill-fated quarter-final clash with Uruguay. Disciplinary issues had Muntari cast as a pariah for some time after South Africa 2010; he’d be exiled, eventually, for a while.
By the time he returned to the setup, with Ghana on the verge of qualifying for the next World Cup, the feeling was that the team had moved on quite a bit, and that Muntari could be well out of sync.
He wasn’t, and that much was obvious when Ghana lined up for their first game at Brazil 2014, against the USA. Muntari started and was his usual feisty self despite Ghana losing 2-1, even picking up a yellow card for his troubles.
He got another in the next match, but also showed he retained some of the impeccable technical ability that has always been such an understated part of his game.
Proof of that was his assist for Ghana’s second goal. Nine minutes after Andre Ayew had drawn the Black Stars level, Muntari got his moment — and he took it perfectly.
Muntari had the ball at his feet in a central area and progressed a short distance with it, before slipping it expertly between two German defenders – one of whom slid in a vain attempt to cut out the delivery – into the path of a lurking Asamoah Gyan.
There wasn’t much between Gyan and the goal. Just grass, plenty of it, which Ghana’s captain went ahead to gobble up. Oh, and the imposing frame of Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, too, but Gyan only had to smash the ball right across him: 2-1, Ghana (though, of course, that’s not quite how the story ended).
For Gyan, that goal was of immense personal significance.
With it, he matched Roger Milla’s record of being Africa’s all-time top-scorer at the World Cup.
And with his next — the last in this 13-goal series — Gyan would claim that distinction outright.
Enn Y. Frimpong – Ink & Kicks