Ghana vs Uruguay: Three reasons Ghana will likely win

Ghana vs Uruguay is at 2:30 pm ET on July 2. Ghana is likely to win because of strong coaching, hungry players, and Africa-wide support.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Ghana players jog during a Ghana national soccer team training session on June 29 as they prepared for their July 2 World Cup quarterfinal match against Uruguay.

Ghana faces Uruguay today in the World Cup, carrying all of Africa's hopes on its red-jersey shoulders.

Ghana is the only one of six African teams to advance past the opening round. If they win today, they'll become Africa's first-ever semifinalist.

Uruguay is a strong team, but an African upset could happen for these three reasons:

1) A strong-willed coach. Ghana's Milovan Rajevac may not be the biggest name in coaching – he is relatively unknown even in his native Serbia – but in dealing with the Black Stars he has displayed a backbone that many more illustrious names have lacked. Last year he fined his biggest names – Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyan, and Sulley Muntari – for failing to turn up on time for a friendly match. In other African countries – say, Cameroon – that would have been a coach's kiss of death. But the Ghana Football Association backed Mr. Rajevac’s stance even when he dropped Muntari for failing to apologize. Muntari, who plays in Italy for Inter Milan, has barely featured in the World Cup, losing his place in the first team to players with lesser reputations.

2) Young, hungry players. Six members of the Ghana squad were on the Black Satellites team that won the under-20 World Cup last year. The average age of the starting six players is just 24 years old, and players like Andre Ayew (age 20) and Jonathan Mensah (age 19) have been influential in the team’s success. Both, unfortunately, are suspended for today’s game, but Samuel Inkoom and Ayew’s older brother, Ibrahim, may make the cut. Without Michael Essian (injured) and Sulley Muntari (sulking), Rajevac has been able to turn to younger midfielders like Anthony Annan and Portsmouth’s Kevin Prince Boateng.

3) Continental support. With all five of the other African teams failing to reach the second round, Ghana’s Black Stars have been flying the flag for their continent. South African newspaper The Mail & Guardian proclaimed in an editorial that “We are all Black Stars now.” Judging by the support they received during the second round match against the USA, most South African fans agree.

Don't buy the argument? Read three reasons why Uruguay will likely beat Ghana.

IN PICTURES: Top 12 Goals of the Second Week and Top 10 Goals of the First Week

World Cup 101:

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