Ghana hope to have more than birthdays to celebrate on Saturday when they seek to clinch their passage to the second round with a Group D win over Australia.
After goalkeeper Richard Kingson marked his 32nd birthday last Sunday with a fine display in the Black Stars' opening 1-0 win over Serbia, it was the turn on Tuesday of defender John Pantsil, who was 29.
In a flamboyant display of African joy, the squad partied with hotel staff, enjoyed a cake, a jug of beer and a food fight, before coach Milovan Rajevac ensured normal concentration was resumed. He knows Ghana have an excellent chance to be Africa's most successful side here and could at least emulate Cameroon (1990) and Senegal (2002) in reaching the quarters.
But they must first overcome an Australia team stung by a 4-0 thrashing by Germany and missing talismanic attacking midfielder Tim Cahill, suspended after being sent off.
If that is achieved, with the concentration required to match their talent, it will set up a likely second-round clash back in Rustenburg with the winners from Group C. That would pit them against Slovenia, England, Algeria or the US — presuming Germany win Group D.
Australia must win after their loss to Germany. If Ghana win, they will become the first African team to qualify and Aussies will head back home.
Ghana coach Milovan Rajovac, who helped them improve tactically, will hope his team flourishes as a unit. While the Socceroos need to attack. Pim Verbeek did not name a single attacker in his first match.