A meeting of minds
© FIFA.com

For eight days now, Ghana and Uruguay have been living together in the same hotel in Ismailia. They've been happy companions in the gym, in the pool, on the sun-loungers and there has also been a harmonious co-existence in the hotel lobby. There, both squads have taken advantage of the wireless internet connection on offer, with a fusion of African and South American music sent rising to the offices above.

However, on Friday evening, the two neighbours go head to head with a place at the top of Group D at stake. The winner remains in the hotel to prepare for a match against a third placed team from Group B, E or F on 6 October, while the runner-up must travel to Port Said to face the winners of Group E, which Brazil currently lead.

In the cordial spirit of fair play which has existed between the two teams, FIFA.com brought both coaches, Sellas Tetteh and Diego Aguirre, together on the shores of Lake Timsah for a chat on the eve of the game.

They're very different to ourselves - they're so exuberant - and that enthusiasm is infectious.
Diego Aguirre, Uruguay coach.

"This is what football should be all about," beamed Ghana coach Sellas Tetteh. "Meeting new people, making contacts and making friends. The Uruguayans are good people. They've been extremely friendly over the past week - and I know that my boys and my coaching staff have been very happy to have them sharing the same hotel."

Aguirre agreed. "Ghana have been great. They're very different to ourselves - they're so exuberant, and that enthusiasm is infectious. After their wins against Uzbekistan and England, they created a fantastic atmosphere in the hotel, which helped us to enjoy ourselves a little bit more too."

There has also been a mutual appreciation of the way each other has played. "I've been really impressed by Ghana," continued Aguirre. "They are very strong and have great energy. I think we are better technically and that we can stand up to them physically, although it will be very difficult. For me, it's a final before the final."

"Uruguay are a great technical and tactical side," countered Tetteh. "They can move the ball extremely well, they're strong defensively, they have good midfield players who are capable of creating chances and they have strikers who are capable of taking those chances. But we have the advantage. We only have to draw the game to finish top of the group, even though we want to win. The pressure is on Uruguay."

Of course, Brazil is a factor in my thinking. I wouldn't be honest if I said otherwise, but the main concern is moving.
Sellas Tettah, Ghana coach.

Perhaps the most interesting thing from the joint discussion was that, rather than being worried about facing the might of Brazil in the last 16, both Aguirre and Tetteh were more concerned about leaving Ismailia - and the team hotel.

"This is our home," smiled the Uruguay coach. "We want to stay here and avoid the upheaval of travelling and changing hotels. We're settled, we know exactly where everything is, the training fields are in the grounds of the hotel and the set-up is superb."

"This hotel is very serene," added his African counterpart. "It's good for my boys. They're enjoying it. The people are very helpful and friendly. Of course, Brazil is a factor in my thinking. I wouldn't be honest if I said otherwise, but the main concern is moving."

Both coaches were happy to answer any question put to them by FIFA.com - any question, that is, but a request for a prediction! For that, we turned to England coach Brian Eastick, who could give an objective view on the team's his side have already faced in Group D.

"It's going to be a high-quality game, that's for sure," he said. "Both of these teams have the ability to reach the semi-finals of this tournament. Uruguay are going to have to stay with Ghana physically, as they'll be pressing and running as hard in the first minute as they will in the last.

However, Uruguay have great ability and they will be better than we were at creating chances against Ghana. They've also got the players who could take advantage of capitalising on the unenforced errors which Ghana make, but they're also going to have to defend well at the other end too.  It's too close to call - and I wouldn't like to predict the outcome!"