Brazil 2014: Hope for Black Stars, Super Eagles

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Asamoah Gyan scores Ghana’s_web.jpg

There is still hope for the Black Stars of Ghana and the Super Eagles of Nigeria to qualify for Round 16 of the Brazil 2014 World Cup if both teams are able to manage their next games.

The Black Stars, who shocked the soccer world by turning the tables against favorites Germany, but conceding a corner goal that saved the Germans, will have a decider against crest fallen Portugal.

The Super Eagles, who drew their first game defeated Bosnia & Herzegovina to collect four points which is not enough to clear them for the Round of 16.

For the Eagles to clear that hurdle, Argentina, with star player Messi, whose long shot crumbled stubborn Iran, will have to be tamed by the Eagles.

Already, former captain Austin 'Jay-Jay' Okocha in a BBC interview criticized Coach Stephen Keshi when he said, “Keshi did not do enough work on the team. The tactical play was so bad, I hold Keshi responsible for this."

Examining the last two matches Iran has played, one thing is evident is the team’s unexpected attacks, and since they will exert much effort to beat Bosnia on Wednesday which could throw the tally on goal difference.

The Super Eagles must avoid the above scenario by winning their match against Argentina, an assignment that from their team’s past games, appear difficult. The Eagles failed failed to apply creative ideas to break the Iranian defense, and against Argentina, the likelihood of making it good does not seem obvious.

However, the Super Eagles could rediscover themselves and improve on their chances for Round 16.

For the Black Stars, Coach Kwesi Appiah has admitted, their receding chances, after the 2-2 draw with Germany last Saturday.

"It's not going to be easy to qualify. There are other games to be played in our group (that can determine the outcome)," he told reporters after Ghana picked up their first point in Group G.

"It was a really good, competitive game. Germany, at the end of the day, is among the best in the world. We had some opportunities but unfortunately playing such a big team, if you don't take your chances, you always face a problem."

Defending set pieces proved their undoing as he had anticipated.

"That was one of the major concerns when we were planning tactics against the Germans," Appiah said.

"Most of them are really tall and defending against them is always a difficult situation. It's unfortunate that we conceded one goal out of a set piece.

"Saying that, I had total confidence and belief in my players and the best way to defend was to attack. That was the strategy we adopted."

Ghana must win their last game against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in Recife on Thursday to stand a chance of progressing to the second round.

"Ronaldo's the best player in the world," Appiah said. "Everyone recognizes that. But it's about teamwork, I don't believe in the individual. We will study Portugal’s game.”

 

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