Ghana Africa’s only hope | sports | Hindustan Times
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Ghana Africa’s only hope

sports Updated: Jun 25, 2010 23:50 IST
Ruud Gullit
Ruud Gullit
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The World Cup has gone through to the Round of 16 and many of the traditional powers are already packing their bags. World champions Italy, France, Serbia and Denmark were undone by minnows Slovakia, Mexico, Ghana and Japan.

Players like Cannavaro, Pirlo, Anelka, Henry, Ribery, Tomlinson, Jovanovic, Zigic and Vidic can only rue the ageing process, which inexorably ends players' international careers.

This WC celebrates youth and fitness and the US, South Korea and Japan are proof that fast and fit players can beat better but slower players. South American teams have adapted well to the climate, while African teams, with Ghana being the exception, have faded.

Uruguay will face South Korea. Coach Tabarez has brought a mentally tough team in a 4-3-3- formation with in-form striker Diego Forlan matched with Ajax Suarez and young Edison Cavani.

Behind them Diego Perez, Arevalo Rios and Perreira run the midfield, while captain Lugano leads the defence with Porto's Fucile, Godin and Pereira. It's a tough team that switches its balance quickly. South Korea rely on fitness and captain Park Ji Sung. But Uruguay's defence and forward line should carry the day.

USA’s conditioning is key to their success. Landon Donovan, Micheal Bradley and Clint Dempsey lead this young Yankee team that attacks more in the second half.

Ghana remains Africa's only hope and they will have the crowd behind them. They played very well against Germany with Agymang Gyan, Prince Tagoe and Andre Ayew up front and a solid midfield of K. Boateng, Asamoha, Paintsil and Muntari. If Ghana have a weakness, it's their defence that has looked shaky.

I favour Ghana in this game, but USA have shown resilience and conditioning that could take them through.