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 #7…
Long before he even kicked a ball in Ghana colours, there was a lot of love going the way of Kevin-Prince Boateng from these shores.
If some had been skeptical about the sincerity of this born-and-bred Berliner’s motives in switching to play for his father’s homeland just in time for a chance to be at the 2010 Fifa World Cup, Boateng — then with English side Portsmouth — quickly endeared himself by injuring Chelsea star Michael Ballack in the 2010 FA Cup final, denying the talismanic German captain a place at the impending World Cup… where, as it happened, Germany and Ghana had a group fixture to contest.
Not a few Ghanaians found some pleasure in the misery visited upon Ballack — a classic case of what Germans, I believe, call schadenfreude.
Joachim Low’s team, though, would have the last laugh, beating the Black Stars with a Mesut Ozil beauty. Still, four points from their first two group games were just about enough to see Ghana squeeze through behind the Nationalmannschaft as Group D runners-up.
That brought a date with the USA, a team they’d defeated a stage earlier at the previous World Cup. The Yanks were out for revenge, but Ghana were in no mood to afford them that luxury; if the Round of 16 had proved a bridge too far for the Black Stars in 2006, they were now determined to force their way through that barrier on the second attempt.
And it was Boateng who delivered the opening argument in this adversarial contest, five minutes in. American Ricardo Clark lost the ball in the middle of the park, and Boateng picked it up, gliding past opponents and advancing towards the edge of the box, before driving low a shot through goalkeeper Tim Howard’s near-post – Howard, it must be said, was nowhere near that ball.
As debut goals come, it would be tough to match this Boateng strike in excellence and in significance. He had already shown impressive signs of how committed he was to the cause; with this fine finish, that statement now sounded loud and clear.
American nerves were rattled, not really settling at all until a 62nd-minute penalty was converted by Landon Donovan to level the score and send the game into extra-time – where Ghana would deal the mortal blow.
Enn Y. Frimpong – Ink & Kicks