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Last World Cup: Quarter-finals
Nickname: The Black Stars
Coach: James Kwesi Appiah
Star man: Asamoah Gyan
Tournament best: Quarter-finals 2010

Ghana have often been the standard-bearers for African football and their controversial heart-breaking last-eight exit on their home continent at the last World Cup prevented them making history. Captain Gyan provided most of the goals in qualifying but midfielder Michael Essien, despite his injury problems, remains a pivotal player while the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sulley Muntari and Andre Ayew provide considerable experience.

Strengths: Ghana proved a potent attacking force in qualifying, averaging 3.13 goals per match: the third highest scoring rate. Their threat was among the more varied, with their proportions of goals from both close and long range featuring among the top five. They also grabbed a third of their goals from dead balls and scored a higher proportion from headers than all but three sides.

Weaknesses: Things were less rosy when the pressure was on though: they failed to recover a single point from the matches where they fell behind. Their defence was also among the more vulnerable from the flanks, with half of the goals they conceded coming from wide positions contributing to very few clean sheets being kept.

Prospects: Being drawn into one of the candidates for the ‘Group of Death' title wasn't the most auspicious start: but Ghana do have some useful weapons at their disposal, with both the USA and Portugal looking vulnerable from close range and from set pieces. However their three group opponents are among the most regular scorers making the trip to Brazil – Portugal's threat from wide is particularly worrying – which will put pressure on the inconsistent Ghanaian defence.

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