Ghana ready for World big guns

Accra: Ghana are confident they can claw their way out of a World Cup group which includes Germany, Portugal and the United States.

The Black Stars reached the round of 16 in their World Cup debut in 2006 in Germany and reached the last eight four years ago in South Africa.

Now they want to become the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the tournament.

Skipper Asamoah Gyan, who appeared at both previous finals, said that Ghana will raise their game in Brazil.

"The thing about Ghana all the time is that whenever we play against a big team, we perform," said Gyan.

"That is what happened with us when we were going to the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

"And that is what happened with the Egypt (World Cup play-off) game where everyone got involved.

"And I believe it will happen again at this World Cup."Ghana were unstoppable when they dumped seven-time African champions Egypt 7-3 on aggregate to book their passage to Brazil 2014.

It was a vintage performance by the west African side in Kumasi, where they blew away Egypt 6-1 in the first leg. Gyan scored twice.

They will be in Brazil with a more experienced squad after Michael Essien rejoined the team and they now have more viable options upfront with the emergence of Majeed Waris and Christian Atsu.

Coach Kwesi Appiah, who was an assistant coach at the South Africa finals, has won the confidence of his players, despite rumours that he would be replaced with a foreign manager.

Germany -- world champions three times -- are favourites to win Group G, leaving the other automatic qualifying spot wide open.

Ghana open the campaign against the United States on June 16 in Natal. They have beaten the Americans on their two previous meetings at the World Cup.

In 2006, Ghana won 2-1 in a group game and four years later they eliminated the Americans again by the same scoreline in the round of 16.

Their second group game will be against Germany on June 21 in Fortaleza.

Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo, will be their final group opponents on June 26 in Brasilia.

"Ronaldo is the world player (of the year) and there is no doubt that he is critical to the cause of the Portuguese team but for us we are not going to be distracted because of him," he said.

"I am not bothered because we are playing Portugal because the World Cup is the biggest stage and there are no small team. Every team who qualifies has done so on merit.

"We are playing against the best and we cannot do anything about that, we just have to get ourselves ready."

As part of their World Cup build-up, they will tackle the Netherlands on May 31 in Rotterdam.

They will then set up a training camp in Los Angeles, where they have confirmed another warm-up game against fellow World Cup finalists Honduras.

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