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Rediff.com  » Sports » World Cup chit-chat: Boateng, Muntari suspended from Ghana team

World Cup chit-chat: Boateng, Muntari suspended from Ghana team

Last updated on: June 26, 2014 18:46 IST

World Cup chit-chat: Boateng, Muntari suspended from Ghana team

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Midfielders Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari have been suspended from Ghana's World Cup team with immediate effect after they clashed with coach Kwesi Appiah and a soccer federation (GFA) official.

The GFA, who said on Wednesday they had solved a row over player appearance fees, confirmed the decisions on their website ahead of the nation's Group G game against Portugal in Brasilia later on Thursday.

Boateng was sanctioned following "vulgar verbal insults targeted at coach Kwesi Appiah during the team's training session in Maceio this week," the GFA said.

Muntari's suspension was handed down "in the wake of his unprovoked physical attack on an executive committee member of the GFA and a management member of the Black Stars, Mr. Moses Armah, on Tuesday 24th June, 2014 during a meeting," they added.

Boateng had shown "no remorse for his actions" and both players had their World Cup accreditation withdrawn.

Ghana missed training in Brasilia on Tuesday because of the row over fees, with the players conducting a series of meetings to discuss the matter and the nation's president, John Mahama, later stepped in to try to resolve the dispute.

Appiah said a consignment of money was on its way to the Brazilian capital by plane and that cash was required as many of his squad didn't have bank accounts in Ghana.

The coach also said the situation had left him suffering many sleepless nights and should have been sorted long ago.

Ghana can still qualify for the knockout stage if they beat Portugal and the result in the other Group G match between Germany and the United States goes their way.

Muntari was set to miss the Portugal game as he was suspended after earning a second booking of the tournament in last week's 2-2 draw with Germany.

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Image: Germany's Philipp Lahm (left) fights for the ball with Ghana's Sulley Muntari (right) and Kevin-Prince Boetang
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters

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Portugal hopes hanging by a thread before Ghana clash

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Portugal must win big against Ghana in their final World Cup Group G match in Brasilia on Thursday and hope Germany and the United States do not draw in Recife to have any hope of progressing to the last 16.

Portugal captain and World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, whose record goal haul helped Real Madrid win a 10th European Cup last season, has failed to spark in Brazil and they can only still go through because of Silvestre Varela's stoppage-time equaliser in Sunday's 2-2 draw with the US.

In the final round of group matches before the knockout stages, a win for Algeria against Russia in Curitiba would ensure that they progress from Group H along with Belgium.

If they draw, Russia are eliminated but South Korea could sneak second place if they beat the already-qualified Belgians heavily in Sao Paulo.

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Image: Cristiano Ronaldo in action during the Portugal training session
Photographs: Martin Rose/Getty Images

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World Cup chit-chat: Uruguay president comes to Suarez's defence

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Uruguay's President Jose Mujica weighed into the global controversy over footballer Luis Suarez on Wednesday, saying it was unfair to judge him retrospectively for biting an Italian player when other incidents went un-reviewed.

"We didn't choose him to be a philosopher, or a mechanic, or to have good manners -- he's a great player," said Mujica, echoing the protective attitude towards the brilliant but volatile striker felt around his homeland.

"I didn't see him bite anyone. But they sure can bash each other with kicks and chops," he added to reporters.

Suarez, one of the world's best forwards whose team is in the last 16 at the World Cup, is awaiting global soccer body FIFA's judgement on Tuesday's incident when TV footage showed his mouth on the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

The Liverpool player has been punished twice in the past for biting, and also for racism. He earned notoriety at the last World Cup for a handball on the line against Ghana, denying the Africans a certain goal and spot in the semi-finals.

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Image: Head coach Oscar Tabarez of Uruguay hugs Luis Suarez
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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'I know that Luis will pick himself up and is going to have success in the World Cup'

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Many Uruguayans believe the global reaction against him, though, is over-the-top and hypocritical.

"In football, I was taught that you obey what the referee says," Mujica said.

"If we're going to take decisions in football based on what TV says, then there are loads of penalties and handballs you'd have to give that weren't given, so bad luck."

Uruguay captain Diego Lugano, at a news conference in the Brazilian city of Natal after a training session, was equally protective of Suarez and tackled one English journalist head on.

"It's clear that Uruguay's triumph doesn't make you happy, it's obvious on your face," said Lugano.

"I understand that the figure of Suarez sells because he's very charismatic ... I'm calm because I know that Luis will pick himself up and is going to have success in the World Cup. That's what people fear. They're right to fear that."

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Image: Uruguay's Luis Suarez
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Argentine shot in Brazil bar bust up

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An Argentine fan in Brazil for the World Cup soccer tournament was shot in the leg during a bar fight, security officials said on Wednesday, stoking concerns about possible violence if Argentina meets Brazil in the championship match.

Six other Argentine fans were arrested for trying to steal tickets to their national team's match against Nigeria on Wednesday in Porto Alegre, the southernmost World Cup host city.

Tens of thousands of Argentines have flooded across Brazil's southern border this month, prompting increased security measures focused on Argentina's notorious hooligans. Brazil has already stopped more than 30 Argentines from entering the country due to their involvement with the violent "barras bravas" fan clubs in their national league.

The Argentine fan shot in the leg escaped serious injury and he was treated at an emergency room during Wednesday's pre-dawn hours, according to a public security spokesman. Argentina's state news agency Telam identified the injured fan as 35-year-old Gonzalo Nunez.

Both Argentina and Brazil finished at the top of their respective groups in the first round of the tournament, so their only possible faceoff would be in the World Cup final on July 13 at the storied Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

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Image: Fans from Argentina have a party in a beach bar on Copacabana beach
Photographs: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

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