Ghana 2006 can be blueprint for 2022 Black Stars – Paintsil
In 2006, Ghana were defeated in their opening World Cup fixture—losing 2-0 against Italy—but bounced back with consecutive victories over Czech Republic and the United States to progress to the knockout stages.
16 years on, the Black Stars need the same spirit again after a controversial 3-2 defeat by Portugal in their tournament opener, and Monday’s meeting with South Korea is an opportunity for three points that cannot be passed up.
Speaking to GOAL, veteran of 2006 John Paintsil has explained how Ratomir Dujkovic’s team battled back from their opening loss against the eventual champions in order to reach the Last 16.
“We had a belief before that although we lost to Italy, our next game would determine our fate,” he began. “Either we are staying or we are going, so we made an agreement and decided that we should go all out and die, this is our last chance if we don’t win we’ll be off so we have to go all out and get the three points.
“We also decided we must go for early goal as soon as possible,” he added. “The early goal would help us put pressure on the Czech Republic and not allow them to play.
“We did that, and it worked for us.”
Asamoah Gyan ultimately netted a second-minute opener to stun a star-studded Czech side, before Sulley Muntari made sure of progression with a second eight minutes from time.
Now, the 2022 generation need to follow in their footsteps and keep their World Cup dreams alive.
“We all witnessed how great the players were,” Paintsil added, “there was a lot of positive stuff, they kept the team plan until [Portugal scored] and then we opened up.
“Looking at the performance, enthusiasm and fighting spirit, it shows that the boys are committed and ready to turn things around.”
“We are positive and we believe that in the two matches, the boys will go for it.”
Korea held Uruguay in their opening match, one of the most lacklustre bouts so far, and based on the evidence of that showing, the Black Stars may quietly fancy their chances of bouncing back from their valiant defeat against Portugal.
A controversial Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring on Thursday in the 65th-minute—after Mohammed Salisu was dubiously adjudged to have brought the free agent down—although Andre Ayew equalised eight minutes later.
Joao Felix and Rafael Leao gave Portugal a two-goal advantage with strikes in quick succession as the Black Stars crumbled, before Osman Bukari’s late goal made for a nervy finale.