How Many Points Needed To Qualify For World Cup World Cup 2006 Preview – Ghana

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World Cup 2006 Preview – Ghana

Outright odds: 250/1

Group E winners: 12/1

Having won four African Cup of Nations titles and produced players of the caliber of Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah, the Black Stars have qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time in 10 attempts, stretching back to 1962.

Despite being a force in African football between the 1960s and 1980s, qualifying for the World Cup was never a serious exercise and more recently the country suffered from poor management both on and off the pitch to derail their efforts to reach the 1994, 1998 and 2002 finals.

However, this problem was eliminated under the new manager Ratomir Dujkovic. The Serbs took over in December 2004 after Portuguese coach Mariano Barreto quit four months earlier. Dujkovic enjoyed success with Rwanda, leading a team dubbed as no-hopers to the first African Cup of Nations finals in 2004.

His influence was evident as Ghana won four of their remaining five qualifiers, including a 2-0 away win against South Africa and ended up earning five points from their group at the expense of Bafana Bafana.

Where Ghana excels is in midfield. Chelsea’s Michael Essien is a key player for his country and has also shone at club level, despite criticism of his £24.4 million price tag set by former club Lyon. They are captained by Stephen Appiah, a left-footer who now plays for Turkish outfit Fenerbahce following eight seasons in Italy with Udinese, Parma, Brescia and Juventus. Sulley Muntari also brings Serie A experience with him as he is currently on the books of Udinese.

Ghana have received a boost in defense following the return of Roma centre-back Samuel Kuffo. The former Bayern Munich defender was out of favor following a dispute with the coach but since apologizing he is back in the dispute. Even without him Ghana had a mean defence, conceding just four goals in 10 qualifiers, the fewest of any African nation.

Despite a strong set-up, Ghana enter their World Cup group as unfancied outsiders which could work to their advantage. They are up against one of the tournament favorites Italy on their opening game so there is no real pressure on them. The team has played well under Dujkovic and can cause an upset in the opening game.

Beyond that they could struggle as they don’t have players with real forwardness in attack. Vitesse’s Matthew Amoah and Modena’s 20-year-old striker, Gyan Asamoah, will be responsible for the responsibility.

Recommended Bet:

Ghana can hold off a slow-starting Italy in their first game and qualifying from the group would be a huge success. Further tough games against the Czech Republic and the USA could see the Black Stars narrowly miss out.

Ghana to beat Italy @ 5/1

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