Ghana eye massive shock
26 Jun 2006 - 11:48:48
Surprise package Ghana are targeting one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history when they take on Brazil in Dortmund on Tuesday for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Black Stars enlivened the group stage of the tournament with their brand of aggressive, high-tempo attacking football and booked a place in the last 16 with victories against Czech Republic and the USA, having pushed Italy all the way before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat in their opening match.
Coach Ratomir Dujkovic is delighted with the way his team have performed so far, but admits the holders will provide their sternest test yet.
"For every team Brazil is the greatest challenge for they are the defending champions," said Dujkovic.
"But we have to focus on our own strengths and not worry about them.
"Of course it will be difficult. If you stop Ronaldinho that's great but then there are others who can hurt you like Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Cafu. We just have to treat this game like any other.
"Brazil have more quality of course and more experience but anything can happen in football. We have seen that over the years. Shocks can and do occur."
Ghana will be without inspirational midfielder Michael Essien, who is suspended, but welcome back Sulley Muntari and Asamoah Gyan after they served one-match bans against the USA.
Razak Pimpong and Haminu Dramani have recovered from the knocks they suffered against the USA, but full-back Habib Mohammed is a doubt after limping out of training on Saturday.
Brazil won all three of their group matches, but looked a long way short of their best until the second half of the 4-1 victory against a poor Japan side.
Ronaldo went some way towards silencing his critics by scoring twice during that match, but, like his forward colleagues Kaka and Ronaldinho, he still looks out of sorts.
Ronaldinho admits his performances in Germany have been disappointing, but insists he will improve as the tournament reaches its crucial stage.
The Barcelona star said: "My goal is to do better and the fact that people expect a lot of me is great because I can only improve. I've much more to give."
He added: "Ronaldo will always be Ronaldo. He needs to be respected for what he has done and for who he is. We have a lot of confidence in him."
Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira must decide whether to recall Adriano to the team after starting with Robinho against Japan, although the decision may be made for him if the Real Madrid star fails to shake off a thigh complaint.