27 June, 2006

Out For Africa: Brazil 3 Ghana 0

On paper the penultimate tie of the second round is the biggest mismatch, but Ghana have played well in beating the Czech Republic and USA in the group stages.

They look like amateurs after five minutes here in Dortmund, however. The defence are nowhere and Ronaldo is gifted a ridiculous amount of space. He takes the easiest of chances to put himself clear at the top of the list of all-time World Cup scorers, having now hit 15 goals in three tournaments.

Ghana look overawed and are finding it difficult to cope, but on 18 minutes they almost equalise when Draman unleashes a shot from distance and forces Dida to make the save. This heralds a good spell for the Africans. Amoah puts one just the wrong side of the post. Mensah's header is blocked by chance. Brazil have to rely on counter-attack football, and when they do break the Ghana defence is chaotic, but overall Ghana are now looking the better team.

Just before half time, however, one of Brazil's counter-attacks works out, Cafu crossing for Adriano to tap in. Ghana are hard done by, not only because the goal is against the run of play but because replays show that Adriano is offside.

The second half starts tamely but the action is back soon enough. Ghana don't look as good this time and although they continue to have the greater part of the possession they don't often look like scoring. Asamoah Gyan and Amoah both have chances but don't do as well as they might.

At the other end Brazil are pushing towards Ghana's goal without any great urgency. Ronaldo and the subsitute Gilberto Silva make inroads but there is a feeling that Brazil are saving their energy for their next opponents.

The final nail in Ghana's coffin comes when Gyan makes a clumsy challenge and receives his second yellow card. It seems unlikely that Ghana will be able to break down the Brazilians with ten men, and so it proves. Ze Roberto makes it three on 84 minutes when he finds himself with half a pitch of space and only the keeper to beat.

Richard Kingston makes good late saves from Ronaldo, Cafu and Juan to keep the score down, but Ghana are out and the tournament is reduced to European and South American teams.

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