David vs. Goliath: Hanover, 12 June, Italy vs. Ghana
The match schedule for 2006 World cup tournament is already out. "For their FIFA World Cup debut, the Ghanaians kick off against Italy, old stagers at football's supreme event, with no less than 16 FIFA World Cup tournaments under their belt." It is under this backdrop that Ghana has been likened to “David.” This is very good because David depicts victory and Goliath defeat.
More grease to the elbows of Ghana's sports executives who have helped brought Ghana Black Stars this far. Ghana is favorably rated although this is her first appearance. Notwithstanding the fact that Ghana is depicted as the underdog in her group, Ghanaians are confident Ghana will soon be glorified when the battle begins.
FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking Italy 12th Ghana 50th Czech Republic 2nd United States 37th
Let us pray that our officials will keep up the morale of our boys and not spoil the fun for all of us. I have every reason to believe that solid plans have already been made to strengthen the Black Stars.
Although FIFA ranking of Ghana in her league/group is pretty low FIFA still sees Ghana as a force to reckon with. It has been admitted by the pros that Ghana's group is very tough. This is what the FIFA analyst has to say about Ghana's first dual with Italy:
“Italy's group, along with those of Argentina and England, is one of the toughest. Despite their seeded status, the Azzurri have drawn the short straw and simply cannot afford to slip up in their opening game against Ghana. The Africans may be newcomers, but pushovers they are not, as Radomir Dujkovic's charges conceded just four goals in all 12 of their qualifying games. But in hungry young wolves Luca Toni and Alberto Gilardino, Italy will feel they have sufficient firepower up front, not to mention a typically unyielding defence.”
This is what Marcello Lippi (ITA coach) has to say about Ghana Black Stars:
” As for Ghana, it would be a big mistake to underestimate them. They're not known as the Brazil of Africa for nothing. That said, a national team coach should not be afraid of anyone, even the best team in the world.”
Czech Republic seems to be the most favored team in this group. This is what Karel Bruckner, CZE coach has to say, "I'm surprised that USA qualified first in their group, but we will not be underestimating them or Ghana."
As of today 12/22/05 this is what the polls rate Ghana when asked about the fate of the new comers: Poll Results: Which of the new boys will go furthest at Germany 2006?
63143 votes to date
Country Selection Percentage Individual Selections
Czech Republic 34% 21469
Ukraine 21% 13260
Ghana 11% 6946
Ivory Coast 9% 5683
Trinidad and Tobago 9% 5683
Serbia and Montenegro 7% 4420
Angola 4% 2526
Togo 4% 2526