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Ghana ready to teach England a lesson

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Piers Edwards | 11:48 UK time, Monday, 28 March 2011

England have never lost to African opposition but countless Ghanaians will tell you that this is because they've never played the Black Stars.

Already confident, fans of last year's World Cup quarter-finalists will be even more so after the withdrawal of a high-quality chunk of England's first team - Terry, Cole, Lampard, Rooney and Dawson - and the pledge to field a different XI to the one that beat Wales.

Although England's lack of respect for the fixture has left a sour taste for some Ghanaians, it will make no difference to players who are treating this game as a cup final.

Their real concern is its timing, coming 48 hours after Ghana's 3-0 win in Congo as the Group I leaders stayed on course for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations - thanks to goals from strikers Prince Tagoe, Dominic Adiyiah and Sulley Muntari.

There had been fears, especially from coach Goran Stevanovic, that the excitement of the England friendly would disrupt preparations for Congo, which Ghana left on Sunday night to fly overnight via Kenya to London.

In the absence of Essien, at least one current Black Star, Sunderland's Sulley Muntari, knows what it's like to triumph at Wembley, having won the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008

But the reason the Ghanaian Football Association (GFA) accepted the fatigue-inducing schedule is the overwhelming delight and pride that the Black Stars have finally been handed an opportunity to play the country that taught them the game.

In fact, they've been waiting for this match for years - primarily because it pits Ghanaians against the country that colonised them although, more recently, it's also because the Premier League has become so enormously popular in the former Gold Coast.

And the West Africans aren't letting the occasion go to waste.

With strong links between the countries and a sizeable expat population in the UK, Ghana are bringing a record 20,000 fans to the 'new' Wembley, including the chairmen of all the country's league clubs.

Although poor in one sense, the timing of the match is perfect in another given that the Black Stars will step out at Wembley with considerable confidence given their exploits of recent years.

Until the mid-noughties, they were largely living on former glories - the last of four African titles having come way back in 1982 - but the arrival of coach Ratomir Dujkovic seven years ago changed that.

The Serb swiftly amended history, qualifying Ghana for their first World Cup where they then reached the second round at the first attempt.

Two years later, under another Serb, Milovan Rajevac, the Ghanaians reached their first Nations Cup final in 28 years despite missing injured Michael Essien, Stephen Appiah, John Mensah, John Paintsil and Muntari (the latter dropped for indiscipline).

Five months later, the Black Stars came closer than any African side to the World Cup semi-finals, denied by an infamous handball and a wayward penalty that broke the continent's heart.

As with the Senegalese in 2002, the World Cup made Ghanaian footballers highly-prized - with top scorer Asamoah Gyan moving to Sunderland, Kevin-Prince Boateng joining AC Milan, Dede Ayew joining Marseille and, among other moves, Anthony Annan leaving Norway for Schalke.

And though much of the World Cup side is intact, there are some changes.

In defence, Paintsil, Sunderland's John Mensah and the indispensable Isaac Vorsah (of Hoffenheim) have a new man at left back, with Portugal-based David Addy having replaced Hans Adu Sarpei.

The competition for midfield places is intense as the highly-rated Ayew, Muntari and playmaker Kojo Asamoah (pulling the strings for fourth-placed Udinese in Serie A) fight for a spot alongside the diminutive Annan, Agyemang Badu (also of Udinese) and Boateng, who misses Tuesday's game with injury.

Up front, Gyan - suspended for the Congo game but who still joined up with the squad (having, admirably, flown at his own expense) - will return to partner in-form Tagoe, whose Partizan Belgrade comrade Adiyiah is likely to start on the bench.

There is of course one big name wholly conspicuous by its absence - Essien.

After suffering two significant injuries while on Ghana duty (with a knee injury picked up at the 2010 Nations Cup ruling him out of the World Cup), the Chelsea star is on a self-imposed break from international football.

This is to get his club career back on track and although he's not quite the force he once was, his value is still enormous - with the Blues having failed to win a Premier League match without him this season.

Contrary to what you may think, Essien is not hugely popular in his homeland where many fans believe he sees playing for the national team as coming second to his club but Stefanovic is certain he'll back for next year's Nations Cup.

"To win the Nations Cup, I need players who know what winning is like - like Essien and [Champions League winner] Muntari," he says. "In the next one to two years, Ghana will be one of best teams in the world."

At youth level, they already are - becoming, in 2009, the first Africans to win the under-20 World Cup, spanking none other than England 4-0 in the group stages.

Though even the most optimistic Ghanaians aren't expecting that scoreline, many are awaiting the same result.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Should be a good match, wouldn't be suprised if they spanked us to be honest. On the other hand, I expect that of every team England plays against.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 4.

    This is going to be historic match between Ghana and England and every should try possible to watch this match. and we are all going to enjoy good football across Africa, Europe, America, Asia, and cross the world, tomorrow every one should enjoy the best and good football match between and giants of Africa and legends of Europe.
    and promise you will never regret of watching this match.

  • Comment number 5.

    I reckon this game will exciting. Ghana play good football and have some very good players. They will not be inhibited and will have alot of support. England should be careful - it is a team that can easily take on England they have players plying their trade at the highest level in club football and proved how good they are in the last world cup and we all know how poor england were !!

  • Comment number 6.

    Ghana could well win tomorrow, and I think it will be a very interesting game. England will have players keen to shine, though whether they will be able to remains to be seen.

    Ghana will not fear anyone based on their recent approach to the game.

    As far as Essien goes, I have a recollection that he was 'made' to play whilst carrying an injury. Given how much time he missed in the previous two seasons after getting injured, perhaps he is right to be cautious. However, when your country comes calling, I think he should play.

  • Comment number 7.

    Pantsil, not Paintsil.. it shouldn't be hard....

  • Comment number 8.

    looking forward to this way more than the Wales game.
    Been impressed with Ghana. Did well in the world cup and were one of the few entertaining sides.
    Hopefully this will be a good open game.
    Not sure about Barry being captain! strange one that...prefer Parker tbh

  • Comment number 9.

    i am in accra , ghana and i firmly believe that we will beat the three lions. with or without those 5 players who have been sent home(as a sign of disrespect of the tie)

  • Comment number 10.

    #9 ekpodo

    I don't think it's a sign of disrespect to the tie. Afterall, friendlies are for experimentation as much as anything so if Capello wanted to try something different and had no intention of playing those players then it's not disrespect to Ghana.

    However, with there be a school of thought among international managers that they only get a short amount of time to spend with players, then sending them home early seems like a wasted opportunity.

    More amusingly though, what if England pick up injuries in training before the match and then have to ask players that have been sent home to come back. I think that would make them look a bit silly.

    Good luck to Ghana. You might actually force England to play well!

  • Comment number 11.

    Ghana will present much more serious opponents for England (with all due respect) than Wales, albeit in a friendly fixture. A 'right thinking' England manager would have perhaps considered that he would get more information about his teams progress by swopping his two teams around, i.e. the team to face Ghana on Tuesday should have been the one to face Wales and the team that did face Wales should be taking on Ghana!
    However Mr Capello is not 'thinking right', as recent events have shown, he has IMO seriously 'lost the plot' and assuming he is staying in the England job, in order to help restore his personal reputation, rather than just for 'contractual reasons'; it has to be said that his team selections, over the two games, are making matters worse, not better!

  • Comment number 12.

    @mr blue burns,

    i seem to agree with u. what i dnt get is,why didnt he just keep them in camp but on the bench? afterall as u said they dont get to spend much time with the players.

    but i am looking forward to a good match where of course,Ghana will triumph.

  • Comment number 13.

    9. At 16:15pm on 28th Mar 2011, ekpodo wrote:
    i am in accra , ghana and i firmly believe that we will beat the three lions. with or without those 5 players who have been sent home(as a sign of disrespect of the tie)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I dont believe it is disrespect at all. If anything the exclusion of these palyers may be a hinderence to you as they have hardly set the world alight and will be replaced with players who are out to make a case for themsleves.
    It is, after all, a friendly and Capello is using it to try some new players. Hardly disrespect. Most England fans will see Ghana as very decent opponents.

  • Comment number 14.

    This is possibly the least anticipated match in England's recent history.
    Mid week, mid season, and with not another serious match for months, I have to seriously question the reasons why the FA have arranged this fixture.

    I am a member of the England fans club but I won't be paying 30 quid to attend a game where Gareth Barry is the star attraction.

  • Comment number 15.

    Is capello's approach to team selection and the captaincy supposed to follow some sort of Logic? i am totally bemused. The Welsh approach in handing the captain's armband to Aaron ramsey was bothe courageous and far sighted. i would not be at all surprised to see Barry substituted and the armband passed to A.N.Other!

    Hopefully this game will be played over the full 90 minutes. Too many friendlies peter out tamely after 45 minutes as managers make countless changes, and the new teams never gel. I can understand the clubs wanting their top players resting, but surely the FA should have thought about this before issuing the invitation to Ghana?

  • Comment number 16.

    #11 georgiesthebest7

    I get the feeling, wrongly maybe, that if Capello HAD chosen the teams the other way around and England had lost to Wales, then you probably would have got on his back for that as well. Also, you'd probably have come out with something like 'the current lot is rubbish and the next generation is rubbish as well if they can't beat Wales.'

    If the England team is as bad, and as badly run, as you think, then the aim on Saturday was three points only. And they got them.

  • Comment number 17.

    MonmouthWhite - Paintsil is his family name but was registered incorrectly at birth as Pantsil. Similar to Richard Kingson and Laryea Kingston who are brothers but an error was made again, although I can't remember which one is correct.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think that ghana will beat england quite comfortably tomorrow, they will be energetic and fast like most african teams, but they have very good techincal players. With the likes of gyan, boateng, essien, ayew, annan and owesiu obeye. They can definately beat england, they have nothing to lose, hopefully they can show the form which they displayed at the world cup. This will be a good test for both teams, as england are not used to facing african teams and i don't think that they will be able to cope with ghana, we will see tomorrow night. I do hope that wilshere starts tomorrow.

  • Comment number 19.

    Were you listening to the dude's story, gooner8? Essien isn't playing..

  • Comment number 20.

    "it pits Ghanaians against the country that colonised them"

    Oh really?

  • Comment number 21.

    I agree Capello is trying to be a bit more sensitive to the Champions League quarter finalists and thier teams, but perhaps he could as well keep Rooney and co still with the team without playing, to show his approach isn't casual. Under similar cercumstances, if he was to play teams like Brazil, Spain or Argentina, I wonder if he would've release those key players. Well, football now is no longer won on paper but after 90 mins.

    Though a friendly, I think England has everything to play for, baring in mind thier pedigree as a top ten team in the world. Hope the excuse will not be "a second string side" when England ends up the loosing side at Wembley tomorrow.

    A very interesting match if you ask me, but I expect Ghana to triumph.

  • Comment number 22.

    Will Capello be fined by the FA for fielding an understrength team?? :))

  • Comment number 23.

    Ghana will tomorrow crash English pride and defy English honour.

  • Comment number 24.

    3. At 18:20pm on 28th Mar 2011, Julikwart wrote:

    Ghana will tomorrow crash English pride and defy English honour.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hardly, considering it's a friendly that is merely organised as a money maker by the F.A and used as a chance to experiment with new players for the Manager.

    I don't doubt that Ghana have ability to beat us, but it will hardly be a case of damaging English Pride and Honour should we lose.

    I'm pretty sure the Germans have already done that anyway.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'm all for Capello making those managerial decisions.. just so long as no one says (if Ghana beats or draws with England) that it was due to a lower grade squad. Ghana have taken this seriously and so whoever plays for England is in my opinion England's best for this friendly. No excuses post-match.

  • Comment number 26.

    Please BBC Press stop making this game look like a World cup final. What is the game any way, just a friendly match. England is not even Brazil, Italy,Germany, Uruguay and Argentina who has won the world cup more than twice. I can't even remember when England national team won a trophy. What is this noise about resting players. Keep on hyping your overrated players, we all know how they flop in an international tournament. When was the last or first time and English player win the world footballer of the year.

  • Comment number 27.

    It would be interesting to watch, 2 days after the Brazil v Scotland match, how Ghanaian young players play in comparison to the talented Brazilians. It would be nice to see English youngsters blooded in the team, too.

    On a side note, has Wenger brainwashed his team, utterly?
    I couldn't believe that a 20 year old kid found the pitch as the reason Wales lost the match on Saturday - first class joke.

  • Comment number 28.

    "Five months later, the Black Stars came closer than any African side to the World Cup semi-finals, denied by an infamous handball and a wayward penalty that broke the continent's heart."

    Another way to write that:
    "Five months later, the Black Stars came closer than any African side to the World Cup semi-finals, only to allow Uruguay to win on penalty kicks for the first time since 1995."

    Yet another way:
    ""Five months later, the Black Stars came closer than any African side to the World Cup semi-finals, when thanks to a non-existant foul and two players off-side which were not seen by the referees, Gyan had a golden chance to score a last-minute penalty, which was missed and broke the continent's heart."

  • Comment number 29.

    Brazil played Scotland because Menezes wants his team to get used to playing against tough defenses and teams playing defensively.

    With the Euro Championship next season, what was the need for England to play an African team?

  • Comment number 30.

    hopefully Ghana beat overrated
    English players
    African teams to shut big teams up in few yrs to come

  • Comment number 31.

    ekpodo,

    On contrary this is sign of respect (Cappelo fielding weak side).
    Cappelo with his old tricks. He needs to protect the A-team by not playing them against quality opposition, opposition that may expose his team.
    Did you not follow his selection pattern for the friendlies before the wc? He always selected a B team against quality opposition, and gullible English fans bought onto "this was only our B team." I kept telling everyone it was more of case that Cappele knew better and was protecting his A team. Don't buy into injury excuse, seems like whenever England faced a decent quality opposition, A team got hit by rash of injuries.

    This continuing pattern of protecting the A team suggest that Capello knows he has lemon and despite of the claims, he has not turned it into lemonade.
    There is such predictability in England's performance, Coaches and media's reaction, I will save yo the time


    England will struggle but against a tired Ghana team they will do enough to get 1-1 draw. Press will say it was n't a good enough but they will assure the fans and themselves that not to read much in this result, for it was a experimental side and not an indication of what the A side would have done. This of curse would be a true statement, but here lies the problem:
    Capello will continue this charade until the Euro 2012 when he HAS to PUT the A team, and when A-team is exposed, fans and press will question as to WHAT HAPPENED to the team that was so dominating in the qualifying.

  • Comment number 32.

    Seriously, how useless is capello as a national coach? Very if you asked me. His team selection is only consistent with his lack of confidence in the english squad. I applaud his tactics though. Saving the disgrace that would have befallen him if he fieldede the overrated english players and then lost to a very young and exciting Ghanaian team. Which ever way you look at it, it is a win win situation for Ghana. The core of the squad are the players who lifted the U-20 world cup. Shame on Capello for taking the excitement out of the match. No wonder he hasn't won anything!

  • Comment number 33.

    Whats all this talk of "shaming" and "embarrassing" England?

    Calm down lads it's only a friendly.

  • Comment number 34.

    @ 32,

    African teams are well known for playing rough. I am pretty sure that, if you were the England coach, you'd risk injury to your top players on the run in to the premiership, with Champions League in its crucial stages and all that for a friendly.

    Is it Capello who hasn't won anything? :)

  • Comment number 35.

    I find it amusing that everyone has already started to criticise the squad before Capello has announced his starting 11.

    Which says to me that if it doesn't contain a combination of : Terry, Ferdinand, Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard then it's hardly worth knowing because we're certain not to win or put in a good performance.

    No doubt, this will be coming from the same fans that wanting Capello to get rid of the "Golden Generation" after the World Cup for new players in the squad.

    Can you see irony?

  • Comment number 36.

    The english team are actually better without Rooney and Lampard. The only real misses are J. tery and A. cole who is my view are no better than Essien and Prince Boateng. I guess my point is that the english squad is no more depleted than Ghana is.

  • Comment number 37.

    well,i dont see it as a b team by the way. as 36 pointed out

  • Comment number 38.

    Instead of facing old has-beens who never quite were beens in the first place at international level (except maybe like Mr Bean, hyukhyuk!), Ghana now have to face England players who hopefully will be champing at the bit to prove that they can do the business without the increasingly fragile, injury-prone "golden generation".

    Should be more of a challenge for Ghana and for England, and thus hopefully much better football... although the game coming so hot on the heels of another is a concern for Ghana, considering the majority of the England side will be utterly fresh.

  • Comment number 39.

    No Essien........No Appiah.........How disrespectful ;-)

  • Comment number 40.

    I was quite looking forward to welcoming Ghana to Wembley tomorrow night, but with the amount of verbal and utter trash they are talking on here I hope we absolutely wallop them........Wow you reached a world cup quarter final......in Africa. Lets see you consistently do that every 4 years. You'll be more like Senegal, one lucky tournament, then will dissappear forever!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    17. At 17:14pm on 28th Mar 2011, grongy wrote:
    MonmouthWhite - Paintsil is his family name but was registered incorrectly at birth as Pantsil. Similar to Richard Kingson and Laryea Kingston who are brothers but an error was made again, although I can't remember which one is correct.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You're correct.

    I seem to remember John Pantsil/Paintsil appearing in Ghana's first World Cup game last year with ''Panstil'' or something similar on the back of his shirt !

    I think that they have a more laissez-faire attitude to the correct spelling of surnames, like, as you mentioned, Kingston/Kingson...

    I think that it's Richard ''Kingson'' who has the slightly misspelt surname.

  • Comment number 42.

    Congrats to Ghana for winning the 2009 U20 World Cup. However the 4-0 game against England could've been put into perspective. Only players born on or after 1 January 1989 were eligible to compete at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

    The squad England took was: Sam Baldock (MK Dons), Febian Brandy (Manchester United), Matthew Briggs (Fulham), Adam Clayton (Manchester City), Gary Gardner (Aston Villa), Gavin Hoyte (Arsenal), Matthew James (Manchester United), Martin Kelly (Liverpool), Paul Marshall (Manchester City), Ben Mee (Manchester City), Alex Nimely (Manchester City), Jon Obika (Tottenham Hotspur), Nana Ofori (Chelsea), Mark Oxley (Hull City), Elliott Parish (Aston Villa), Jordan Parkes (Watford), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough), Kieran Trippier (Manchester City), Andrew Tutte (Manchester City), Josh Walker (Middlesbrough), Michael Woods (Chelsea).

    To represent England U21 currently you must be born on or after 1 January 1988. Of the 2009 U20 squad only Kelly, Mee, Steele & Trippier have won U21 caps. Of those only Kelly is a regular - but probably still behind Richards of City for the right back position.

    I'd imagine Alex McCarthy, Phil Jones, James Tomkins, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker, Kieran Gibbs, Ryan Bertrand, Dan Gosling, Miles Addison, Jack Rodwell, Jack Cork, Tom Cleverley, Fabian Delph, Jordan Henderson, Henri Lansbury, Jack Wilshere, Junior Stanislas, Victor Moses, Danny Rose, Marc Albrighton, Scott Sinclair, Theo Walcott, Jay Rodriguez, Danny Welbeck, Freddie Sears, Daniel Sturridge & Andy Carroll - all of whom were born 1989 or later & thus eligible for the 2009 U20 WC - might well have gone were it not for club commitments.

  • Comment number 43.

    40

    Well i'm glad that there's at least ONE other person on these boards that noticed.

    England fans are constantly chastened for being arrogant, look at some of the Ghana comments on here.

  • Comment number 44.

    England to win 3-1

    Motihur Rahman

  • Comment number 45.

    "The Serb swiftly amended history, qualifying Ghana for their first World Cup where they then reached the second round at the first attempt. Two years later, under another Serb, Milovan Rajevac, the Ghanaians reached their first Nations Cup final in 28 years despite missing injured Michael Essien, Stephen Appiah, John Mensah, John Paintsil and Muntari (the latter dropped for indiscipline)." Piers, you got your facts wrong here. First of all, Ghana reached the finals of CAN in 2010, not 2008. Secondly, it was the first time in 18 years, not 28 years. Remember they made the finals in 1992. Thanks.

  • Comment number 46.

    Apart from nitpicking, I'm puzzled why England wouldn't be thrilled to host a clearly superior side and perhaps learn from them,

  • Comment number 47.

    No Appiah, because he retired from National Team (international football). No Essien, because he asked to be excused from National team games for a while. So this cannot be seen as disrespecting England.

    I don't wish that Ghana will be more like Senegal, one lucky tournament, then will dissappear forever!!!!!!! as Jimmy2Times is thinking. Perhaps England is a victim in this more than any other team. After 1966, it is expected England should be champions at the WC again.


  • Comment number 48.

    I reckon we should bowl Ghana out for under 120 and then in the fourth period we should score a couple of trys and win by four furlongs.

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm pleased that some of the senior players aren't there, hopefully it'll give some of our younger players the chance to shine. Shame Barry is captain, that means he must be playing.

    I'm not really fussed about the result, just want to see if some of the younger players have what it takes. Would be nice to see Carroll have a good game, I have doubts about his international credentials but would be happy to be proved wrong!

  • Comment number 50.

    GO GO GHANA!!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    Igodo (26) - the BBC aren't trying to make us this out to be a World Cup final, merely reflecting the enthusiasm of the players themselves. Here's Asamoah Gyan on the match: "Everybody is expecting something positive. It is like a World Cup to Ghanaians because they have been looking forward to this game for a long time."

    As for Pantsil/Paintsil, those who have written are right to point out that it should be Paintsil - the fact he's called Pantsil is the result of an error by Ghana's passport authorities. As for Kingson/Kingston, it should be Kingston...

    Re. Essien and whether he should be playing for his nation, it's worth pointing out that he was less than impressed when the GFA, usually one of Africa's best football administrations, failed to check up on him after his injury at the Nations Cup last year. The explanation for this is that people assumed others were doing it, but... Anyway, they're meeting with him while in London on this visit to try to secure his return.

    Just finally, England calling up Danny Welbeck is a further blow to Ghanaians coming to this match (who are already upset about spending lots of cash to come to Wembley and see a weakened England side). Both Welbeck's parents are Ghanaian and although he's never made any comment saying he'll play for the Black Stars, actually denying he would when asked, many fans had hoped Ghana might lure him one day...

  • Comment number 52.

    if essien says the fa didnt check on him,well,he can go and burn the sea! who is he?
    even the then president kuffour visited him in his home in london when he was injured.

  • Comment number 53.

    @ 40 and 43.

    Some of us Ghana fans, in fact Africans in general, do get ahead of themselves sometimes. I remember the world cup 94 Nigerian coach claiming that Nigeria would beat Cameroon 5-2 in the final in a tv interview. Delusion at its best.

    As a first generation/ English born Ghanian I am cautiously optimistic and nothing else. We have the ability to beat England but you have to factor in England are at home and will have fresher players.

    However a lot of Ghanians have been looking forward to this. Put it down to excitement rather than anything malicious and lets all enjoy the game.

  • Comment number 54.

    I'd just like to add, as a Chelsea fan, I'm absolutely chuffed that the bison is giving national duties a miss :-)

  • Comment number 55.

    Playing an international match at Wembley will always mean more to foreign visitors than to the England players in the same way playing at the Camp Nou or San Siro does for the English players against Spain or Italy. With this in mind I don't feel a lack of respect is being shown to Ghana but in fact to some Premier league teams. Why is it ok to "rest" Rooney et al but not Scott Parker who is (unlike Rooney) absolutely vital to his team? If Cappello is going down that road why not play the XI who didn't start against Wales?

  • Comment number 56.

    @11

    "Ghana will present much more serious opponents for England (with all due respect) than Wales, albeit in a friendly fixture. A 'right thinking' England manager would have perhaps considered that he would get more information about his teams progress by swopping his two teams around, i.e. the team to face Ghana on Tuesday should have been the one to face Wales and the team that did face Wales should be taking on Ghana!
    However Mr Capello is not 'thinking right', as recent events have shown, he has IMO seriously 'lost the plot' and assuming he is staying in the England job, in order to help restore his personal reputation, rather than just for 'contractual reasons'; it has to be said that his team selections, over the two games, are making matters worse, not better! "

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That is, without exception, the biggest load of nonsense ever written on here.

    Of course, Capello is going to put his reserves out for a game we have to win, and the first XI for a friendly. Who has lost the plot?? I think it may be you.

    Also you, and a lot of other England "fans" need to understand one simple fact.

    Capello is too good for us, not the other way around.

  • Comment number 57.

    Indeed Welbeck's call up to the England team is a blow, and has brought to an end Ghana's persuit. Wish him well and hope he has a fine game.

    I luv it @ 53 when he puts it: A lot of Ghanians have been looking forward to this. So lets put all the comments down here to pure excitement rather than anything malicious and lets all enjoy the game.

    @ (51) Piers, having covered football in over 50 countries, and working in the BBC's African sports section since the early nineties, what's your prediction for the game tonight?

  • Comment number 58.

    Not sure who I want to win...as an Everton fan I want to see Baines and Jagielka win, but as someone who hates Capello I really want to see England get hammered.

    Regardless of the result, it's a stupid time for an international friendly....what were the FA thinking? Oh, wait....££££££££

  • Comment number 59.

    All these comments just go to show that Ghana are a 'small time team'
    All excited because you are playing against England in a friendly! How can people say that Capello should have used his big players in this game and not the Welsh game? that was a Euro qualifier (an important game) to say that this game is important is ludicrous! Ghana got lucky in the world cup! this is a good game for the fringe players to test themselves!

  • Comment number 60.

    @ 45 was jus about to point out those errors and it looks like a lot of the other people on this page did not even see the wrong facts either they themselves have no idea of the facts themselves to even point them out. In 2008, Ghana hosted the CAN tournament and placed 3rd to Egypt n Cameroon it was rather just last year in Angola that we made it to the finals losing to Egypt again having last been in the finals during Senegal 92 when we were beaten on penalties after the infamous marathon penalty shoot-out and also the final that then captain Abedi Pele missed having received a yellow card in the semi-finals. Again Hans has not wholly been replaced because he's still a part of the team just as Kwadwo Asamoah is not fighting for a place in the team its rather Sulley Muntari that is. Annan, Asamoah, Dede Ayew are regular starters for the team Sulley is just coming back into the team. So Piers just check your facts again because some of us would be reading ................... lol but on the whole i did enjoy the piece

  • Comment number 61.

    @ 43: That's because England fans are arrogant, when was the last time you won a trophy? I've watched countless times as England struggle to make it through competition that should be trivial to the number 6 ranked team. It's embarrassing really. I think drawing with Algeria was the nadir of their last WC.

    England have yet to win the Euros and are yet to repeat their WC win after almost 50 years. The fans thinking that their team will definitely win each time they enter a tournament is pure arrogance.


  • Comment number 62.

    Historic? Sorry but for anyone other than those Ghanaians with a little brother syndrome it is just another meaningless friendly.

    The english players will want to win but none of them will be going in for any 50/50 challenges or worrying too much if they go a goal down. Even before the withdrawals that would always have been the case.

    I would make the draw a heavy favourite

  • Comment number 63.

    This is in regard to what Piers Edwards said - "Although poor in one sense" what do you mean?

  • Comment number 64.

    @ 59...Ghana a "small-time team"?...Where have you been recently?..Ghanaians are excited to be playing at Wembley because of what that venue has meant in soccer history, and against England because of the colonial thing. We know we are certainly NOT playing one of the elite teams in world soccer even with all the missing "stars" because England ceased to belong to that company some time ago and their record of the last 4 decades or so emphatically supports it. We have played some of the really "elite" teams in the last 2 World Cups (Brazil, Italy, Germany) and are currently are at least on the same level as England internationally. There are many, many Ghanaians living in England and they want to see their team hence the sell-out..
    Lucky World Cup?...check the last 2 competitions and you will find that Ghana has done just as well as England ( 1 QF and 1 Rd 2). We will not turn out to be a "one-hit wonder" with the new generation pushing through.
    As for giving fringe players a chance, you can be sure Ghana will also be doing that!!!!

  • Comment number 65.

    "This is possibly the least anticipated match in England's recent history.
    Mid week, mid season, and with not another serious match for months, I have to seriously question the reasons why the FA have arranged this fixture."

    Seriously??? And yet the game is sold out? People should really take it easy with the comments. I think a England v Ghana match is long overdue and I for one am happy I get to watch one. It will be an interesting game, regardless of which stars make the lineup. I guess it is fair to say whoever is fielded is deemed worthy of his country's jersey and will play to prove that. And as for those who think Ghana got lucky in the World Cup here's to hoping that after a forty five year drought England can get lucky too and win something!. ;)

  • Comment number 66.

    I still find it incredible Dawson is rated as better centre half than Jagielka. It beggars belief that Jags didn't play against Wales and is making do with this fixture for a cap. Capello hasn't got a clue what he is doing in any aspect of his England team management. I'm embarrased for him that he his hanging on for his 6mill a year after the World Cup debacle. He is not suited to the role in any way.

  • Comment number 67.

    GHANA-ENGLAND match to many Africans is historic and it demonstrates that colonization is a thing of the pass and Ghana now can play with her colonial masters. I think even if Ghana beats England with or without the five key players it is historic.

  • Comment number 68.

    I genuinely hope England lose this game. The Ghana fans deserve it so much more than we do, they're the ones giving us the respect by fielding a full XI when they're a better team than us anyway.

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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