Sports

Shootout misery is hanging over Gyan

GHANA

Ghana were one of the stand-out stories of the 2010World Cup in South Africa: the tournament was billed as a celebration of African football and the Black Stars certainly came to the party, only missing out on the semi-finals by the most upsetting of margins.

Luis Suarez's handball on the line and Asamoah Gyan's subsequent penalty against the crossbar denied them a spot in the last four as Uruguay progressed.

Gyan (above) recovered from that miss - he actually fluffed a penalty twice during that tournament - and was the joint-leading scorer in African qualifiers with six goals.

He is currently playing for Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates so may not be at his sharpest, but a lot will rest on him.

If Gyan does not fire, they can at least hope for back-up from midfield. AC Milan workhorse Michael Essien should keep them moving one way or another, while the likes of Kevin Prince-Boateng and Sulley Muntari will also have big roles to play.

What may work against them this time around is that in 2010 they were expected to do little, whereas they will be paid more attention in Brazil.

Their secret in 2010 and indeed 2006 was winning the games they were not expected to, such as against the Czech Republic and United States in Germany and Serbia in South Africa.

That suggests a pedigree and, with a number of players surviving, they have the tools to make a name for themselves all over again.