IT is an experienced Ghana squad which will tackle the 'group of death' in Brazil.


Outright odds: 200/1

To win group: 12/1

To qualify: 11/4


Full squad: Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates), Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars); Samuel Inkoom (Platanias), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege), Harrison Afful (Esperance), John Boye (Rennes), Jonathan Mensah (Evian), Rashid Sumalia (Mamelodi Sundowns); Michael Essien (AC Milan), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan), Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese), Afriyie Acquah (Parma), Christian Atsu (Vitesse Arnhem), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough), Andre Ayew (Marseille), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan); Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Schalke), Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes), Jordan Ayew (Sochaux).

Manager: Kwesi Appiah

World Cup record: Quarter-finals (2010), Last 16 (2006)

How they qualified (most recent first): Thrashed Egypt 7-3 on aggregate in the play-off round of African qualifying - the tie was effectively over after Ghana won the first leg 6-1. That followed the Black Stars topping a group which also included Zambia, Lesotho and Sudan.

v Egypt (away) 1-2 (HT 0-1) Boateng 88

v Egypt (home) 6-1 (HT 3-1) Gyan 4, 53, Gomaa OG 23, Waris 44, Muntari 72p, Atsu 88

v Zambia (home) 2-1 (HT 1-0) Waris 17, Asamoah 60

v Lesotho (away) 2-0 (HT 1-0) Boye 45, Gyan 82

v Sudan (away) 3-1 (HT 1-1) Gyan 20, 57, Muntari 83

v Sudan (home) 4-0 (HT 2-0) Gyan 19, Wakaso 38, Waris 80, Agyemang Badu 83

v Zambia (away) 0-1 (HT 0-1)

v Lesotho (home) 7-0 (HT 3-0) Muntari 15, Adiyiah 24, 49, J Ayew 45, 89, Atsu 86, Akaminko 90+1

Goalscorers: Former Sunderland frontman Asamoah Gyan led the way with six goals, equally split between home and away games. Abdul Majeed Waris and Sulley Muntari both notched three times.

In terms of first goalscorer bets, it's worth noting that they scored first in six of the eight matches - Gyan getting the first in three of them.

Half-time/full-time: Five of Ghana's six wins in qualifying also saw them ahead at the break. While they were good starters, when they did go behind they were unable to muster an equaliser.

Clean sheets: While Ghana's defence was pretty tight - they conceded just three goals in the group phase - they managed just three clean sheets in eight qualifiers. On the plus side, only Egypt (in what was essentially a dead rubber) managed to net more than once in a game against them.

Win to nil: Exactly half of Ghana's six wins were to nil but notably their victories over the better sides - Zambia and Egypt - saw them concede.

Cards: With red cards counted as two yellows, Ghana's games produced an average of 3.75 per game. The team was pretty well disciplined, with just 14 yellow cards (and no reds) in their eight qualifiers.

Other competitive internationals (most recent first): Ghana finished fourth at last year's Africa Cup of Nations, suffering a shock semi-final defeat to Burkina Faso on penalties. Games for this year's African Nations Championship (in which Ghana were beaten finalists) have been deliberately omitted from the following list as that tournament features only players involved in the countries' domestic leagues.

v Mali (neutral) 1-3 (HT 0-1) Asamoah 82

v Burkina Faso (neutral) 1-1 AET, 2-3 pens (HT 1-0) Wakaso 13p

v Cape Verde (neutral) 2-0 (HT 0-0) Wakaso 54p, 90+5

v Niger (neutral) 3-0 (HT 2-0) Gyan 6, Atsu 23, Boye 49

v Mali (neutral) 1-0 (HT 1-0) Wakaso 38p

v DR Congo (neutral) 2-2 (HT 1-0) Agyemang-Badu 40, Asamoah 50

Build-up (most recent first): Two friendlies since qualification was achieved have resulted in two defeats with no goals scored.

v Netherlands (away) 0-1 (HT 0-1)

v Montenegro (away) 0-1 (HT 0-1)


Team verdict: It is an experienced Ghana squad which will tackle the 'group of death' in Brazil.

Many of the players who made the last eight - and were Luis Suarez's hand away from the semis - in South Africa remain, while Michael Essien, who missed that tournament due to injury, will add plenty of know-how to the squad.

He impressed in the play-off win over Egypt and it should be remembered that this national hero is still only 31. Likewise Sulley Muntari, yet to turn 30, still has plenty to offer in the midfield area, while out wide the dangerous Kwadwo Asamoah, who helped Juventus win Serie A this season, will be one to keep an eye on.

The good news for the Africans is that they open with what, on paper, looks their most winnable game - against the USA in sweltering Natal. If they win that, they will have a good base on which to build with their next match, against Germany, also taking place in the north which could well favour them.

However, the defence is the weakest area of the Ghana side and that has to be a worry with matches against the Germans and Portuguese lying in wait. Take out the games against the out-classed Lesotho and Sudan and Ghana conceded in every game in qualifying.

Another concern may be that while Ghana enjoyed a strong home record in qualifying, they lost two out of four on their travels.

Essentially replicating their success of 2006 and 2010 - on both occasions the group stage was successfully negotiated - will be difficult indeed.