Coming off a narrow 1-0 defeat to an attack-minded Netherlands team in their World Cup warm-up match on Saturday, Ghana can take plenty of positives heading into their final warm-up match against South Korea on June 9. After dropping newly-promoted Leicester City defender Jeffrey Schlupp, as well as David Accam and Jerry Akaminko, manager Appiah has selected the following 23-man squad to face Germany, Portugal and the United States:
Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates), Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars)
Michael Essien (AC Milan), Sulley Muntari (AC Milan), Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese), Afriyie Acquah (Parma), Christian Atsu (Vitesse), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough), Andre Ayew (Marseille), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan)
Fantasy Players To Watch
Daniel Opare - In such a difficult group, defenders may not warrant much investment, but the promising result against Holland may suggest otherwise. Opare runs a bit risky on the discipline side of things, but has shown the potential of evolving into a world-class right back. If you believe in Ghana's chances at a clean sheet (perhaps against the United States), the Standard Liege youngster represents your best option across the back line.
Sulley Muntari - Many of us may be familiar with the powerful central midfielder from his time with Portsmouth during their pre-administration stay in the Premier League, or perhaps for his less successful loan stint with Sunderland a few seasons back. The 29 year-old is coming into his prime with AC Milan and provides a goalscoring threat, with 19 goals in 79 appearances for his national side.
Kwadwo Asamoah - "Kojo" is an incredibly versatile player plying his trade in Serie A with Juventus as a left wing-back, but he'll most likely be deployed in central midfield for the national team. Named Ghana's Player of the Year in consecutive years in 2012 and 2013, most fans will hang their World Cup hopes on the playmaker. Expect attacking and defensive contributions against any opposition.
Christian Atsu - Another young talent to be purchased by Chelsea and subsequently loaned out, the Vitesse loanee is an exciting prospect and can play as an attacking fullback or winger. Pacey and with great skills on the ball, Atsu can pick a pass and has an eye for goal. If he's a definite starter, he'll definitely warrant consideration for a spot on the bench, if not as a starter. With 12 goals and 14 assists in his young club career, as well as an additional 4 goals for his country, the 22 year-old could have a breakout tournament.
Andre Ayew - An incredibly successful player for Marseille in Ligue 1, the elder Ayew brother in the Black Stars squad put in a man-of-the match performance to eliminate the United States from the 2010 World Cup, and is still just 24 years old. With 49 goals and 16 assists in four seasons for Marseille, the winger's attacking talents are clear for everyone to see. Whether he can translate his club form into a successful World Cup campaign remains to be seen, but he should be heavily involved in most attacking sequences for Ghana.
Asamoah Gyan - The man who scored from Ayew's assist to knock the U.S. out of the World Cup in 2010, Gyan had a fairly successful spell with Sunderland in the Premier League before being loaned and eventually sold to Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, where the striker has 59 goals in 47 appearances. While the level of play in the UAE may have contributed to the number of goals he's scored for his club, the numbers are still impressive for his national team with an impressive 39 goals in 77 appearances.
Kevin-Prince Boateng - Those of us familiar with KPB from his time with Portsmouth will miss his shoot-on-sight approach to the game, and we may have another chance to include him in our Yahoo teams next season after garnering transfer interest from Arsenal and Manchester United. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the McDonald's/FIFA fantasy game will reward shots on target, so there may be a bit less interest in taking on the withdrawn striker. Successful seasons with AC Milan and Schalke, including finishing the 2013-14 season as third-top-scorer for the German side, could change the minds of those wavering on the powerful striker's potential as a fantasy option. Discipline could come into play, however, as he also finished the season as the most-carded player on the team with 6 yellow cards.