FIFA World Cup Group D focus: Ghana
Official FFA Group D Preview of Australia's Opponents. First up, Ghana
HOW THEY GOT THERE:
The African Cup of nations and World Cup have qualification groups that are linked, so for the first rounds they-re all as one.
This meant that despite South Africa actually being the hosts and therefore qualifying, they did take part in the qualification process as they were aiming to get into the African Cup of Nations.
For Australia's immediate concerns, African footballing powerhouse Ghana await. The Black Stars were the only African side to get out of the group stage at the previous tournament in Germany.
Despite early jitters in the first qualification stage, they breezed through the second stage becoming the first African team to qualify this time round.
They're sure to be a very tough, physical and fit side and present a real challenge for our Socceroos.
Here's how they did it!
Group 5 in 2nd qualification round (Ghana didn-t compete in first round)
Ghana 3-0 Libya Ghana kicked off their dual campaign in style as they swept aside Libya in front of an expectant home crowd. Former English league star Junior Agogo (who also made a few Premiership appearances) was on the scoresheet and was impressive throughout.
Lesotho 2-3 Ghana Agogo was again in dangerous form and it was thanks to a brace from him that Ghana managed to stave off a late fight back that saw Lesotho score twice in the final minutes.
Gabon 2-0 Ghana A surprise defeat to Gabon opened up the group as far as qualification was concerned and Ghana knew that they had to avoid any more defeats if they were to get through to the next round.
Ghana 2-0 Gabon Former Premiership and Italian Serie A star Sulley Muntari was on the score sheet in his team-s 2-0 victory over Gabon. The result seemed to put Ghana on the verge of qualification and a draw and a win would see them through.
Libya 1-0 Ghana Another shock result saw Ghana struggling to make the second round of the qualifiers and one of Africa-s football powerhouses were on the verge of going out.
Ghana 3-0 Lesotho Luckily for Ghana, Gabon and Libya were playing each other in the final match and this meant that a win for Ghana would see them through to the next round. As it was Gabon beat Libya and this meant that after winning, Ghana only qualified by having a better goal difference than the other two teams.
3rd round of qualification
Ghana 1-0 Benin Africa-s third ranked team on the official FIFA rankings scale weren-t going to make the same mistakes again and a solid start to their campaign kicked off in perfect fashion as a first minute goal was enough to separate the sides.
Mali 0-2 Ghana Ghana kept the movement going with an away win as the Udinese star Asamoah got on the scoresheet. The result saw Ghana top the group and forget any of the jitters present in the last round.
Sudan 0-2 Ghana Another victory on the road and more goals for Dutch Eredivisie player Amoah ensured that Ghana needed one more win to secure a place in Africa-s first ever FIFA World Cup.
Ghana 2-0 Sudan That win came in front of another full house when the team-s star men Muntari and Chelsea-s Essien were on target to send the fans into celebration mode at the final whistle. The result meant that Ghana had qualified for two consecutive world cups and would go into the tournament as one of the top African nations.
Benin 1-0 Ghana A shock last minute goal from Benin inflicted the first group stage defeat on Ghana but the result had no effect on Australia-s World Cup opponents as they were already through.
Ghana 2-2 Mali A full house hoped to see their side win in the last competitive match before the African Cup of Nations but Mali proved that they were no pushovers by twice taking the lead and holding Ghana to a 2-2 draw.
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