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Ghana seek first for Africa v Brazil

June 26, 2006 13:04 IST
Ghana bid to become the first African team to beat or even score against Brazil at the World Cup when they face the holders in Tuesday's second round match.

Ghana, where Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira began his career in the 1960s, are the continent's only survivors in the tournament and determined to give a good account of themselves.

"I think it's a dream come true to play against Brazil in the World Cup," said midfielder Derek Boateng, whose team were described by Parreira as a "loose cannon".

"We can't ask for anything more than that. We are very happy to show the world where Ghana is," Boateng said.

"We are not going to say that we are going to beat them," he said. "We are just going to give a good performance. It's very important for us and the whole of Africa."

Although they have won the African Nations Cup four times and have often been compared to Brazil in the past, the Black Stars are playing at the World Cup for the first time.

After losing their opener 2-0 to Italy, Ghana battled their way into the last sixteen by beating the Czech Republic and the United States.

Brazil, who won all three games in Group F, have played four matches against African opposition at the World Cup and won them all without conceding a goal.

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They beat Zaire (1974), Algeria (1986), Cameroon (1994) and Morocco (1998).

Parreira says the West Africans have made huge progress since he was there in the 1960s.

"At that time, it was very amateur," said Parreira. "We virtually camped in army tents. Now, they are much more experienced. They've lost their innocence."

Ghana committed 32 fouls in their 2-1 win over United States and 22 each against Italy and Czech Republic, a fact not lost on Parreira.

"It's up to the referee to keep control of this," he said. "It's important for the quality of the game."

"They're a loose cannon," he added. "There's no pressure on them, they're under no obligation to win, all the pressure is on the Brazilian team."

Ghana will be without powerhouse midfielder Michael Essien, who is suspended. However, they welcome back striker Asamoah Gyan and midfielder Sulley Muntari who were suspended for the U.S. match.

Brazil's only injury doubt is striker Robinho, who felt a twinge in his thigh during training on Saturday.

Parreira has yet to decide on his line-up.

Brazil looked much livelier in the 4-1 win over Japan on Thursday after Cicinho, Gilberto, Gilberto Silva, Juninho Pernambucano and Robinho were brought into the team for Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Emerson, Ze Roberto and Adriano.

Many critics felt all five newcomers deserved to keep their places. Parreira will announce his team on the day of the match.

Probable teams:

Brazil (4-4-2):

1-Dida; 2-Cafu, 3-Lucio, 4-Juan, 6-Roberto Carlos; 17-Gilberto Silva, 19-Juninho Pernambucano, 8-Kaka, 10-Ronaldinho; 9-Ronaldo, 23-Robinho

Coach: Carlos Alberto Parreira

Ghana (4-4-2):

22-Richard Kingston; 15-John Paintsil, 13-Habib Mohammed, 5-John Mensah, 7-Shilla Illiasu; 9-Derek Boateng, 10-Stephen Appiah, 20-Otto Addo, 11-Sulley Muntari; 14-Matthew Amoah, 3-Asamoah Gyan

Coach: Ratomir Dujkovic

Referee: Lubos Michel (Slovakia)

(Additional reporting by Kate Holton)

Brian Homewood
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