Ghana was able to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, but barely. With the tournament just around the corner, they are one of the lowest ranked teams by FIFA to participate in the World Cup, sitting 60th place as of August 2022.
Back in the World Cup
Ghana made their first appearance in the 2006 World Cup and went to the next two. They would make it to the quarterfinals in 2010, having one of the best performances in the tournament by an African nation. What made that run so special was that it happened during the first World Cup hosted by an African nation, South Africa. However, Ghana did not make it out of the group stages in 2016, then failed to qualify in 2018.
It took two rounds to make their way to Qatar, where Ghana advanced purely off goal-scoring rules. In the final group stages in the African World Cup Qualifications, they had an identical record with South Africa, 4-1-1, but scored just one more goal, moving them to the final round.
They then faced 31st-ranked Nigeria in a two-legged playoff. The first leg ended in a 0-0 draw in Ghana, and the second drew 1-1 in Nigeria. Even with two draws, Ghana eliminated Nigeria because they scored an away goal, sending them to Qatar.
An Underrated Team
The team has struggled the last few years, but as new players have been introduced to the squad, they have improved. Many of Ghana’s players have found success playing for European clubs and hope to carry their good form into national team play.
Ghana has long featured the Ayew brothers. André Ayew is now the team captain and is tied for the most caps for Ghana’s national team, while his brother Jordan is in eighth place. They are also in the top 10 all-time goal-scoring list for their country.
Center back Daniel Amartey and midfielder Thomas Partey have proven themselves in big clubs in the Premier League. Their play has been crucial to the national team’s success, with Partey scoring the away goal to send Ghana to the World Cup.
These four players have been the backbone of the Ghana team for some time, being the most capped players. However, there’s a lot of young talent on the rise. Center back Mohammed Salisu, winger Tariq Lamptey, and forward Mohammed Kudus are all under 24 years old with less than 16 caps, just breaking into the starting 11 after impressive play in Europe.
However, the most critical player might be striker Iñaki Williams. After not being called up to Spain’s national team since 2016, he has chosen to change the national team he represents to Ghana. He has been one of the top strikers in La Liga and adds an element to Ghana’s attack that they did not previously have. So far, he has only played one game, only making the switch this year.
One of the Toughest Groups
Group H might become one of the most challenging groups in the World Cup. It features Portugal, with a stacked team built around Cristiano Ronaldo. South Korea is an underrated team with Heung-Min Son, possibly one of the most exciting strikers in the Premier League. Finally, Uruguay has so much young talent, mixed with a core that always seems to make deep runs in the World Cup.
Ghana’s odds of winning the group are +1200. But they have battled and struggled to get to the World Cup, so maybe they won’t win the group, but they could at least challenge for a spot in the next round.