Conceding a goal after 30 seconds undoes the best-laid of plans and conceding another after 86 minutes leaves you with little time to react, as Ghana found to their cost on their Group G debut against USA on Monday.
“That early goal we conceded killed us,” Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan told FIFA.com. “It totally changed our gameplan and put us on edge. We were the better side, though. We dominated the game and we managed to pull level. I thought we deserved to win, and we were looking for the winner when they scored their second. But, then again, that’s football.”
To lose in such a way was a bitter pill for Akwasi Appiah’s side to swallow, as a resigned Gyan explained: “We are very down but it just wasn’t our day. We created a lot of chances and we couldn’t score. Our problem was a lack of focus. USA didn’t create that much danger. They only had two chances.”
Down but not out
“We hope to be more focused in our next match. We’ve got time and we’re professionals,” said the Al Ain striker, looking ahead to Saturday’s make-or-break meeting with Germany, a game in which he believes Ghana will stick to pretty much to the same gameplan as they adopted against the Americans.
As far as Gyan is concerned, the key to Ghana’s future success is concentration and shaking off the nerves that always surface on the big occasion, even for a side that reached the last eight at South Africa 2010.
“We need to sit down, take a long hard look at our errors and work hard,” explained the 28-year-old forward. “We have to regain our focus and not let nerves get the better of us. It’s going to be a difficult match but we need to stick together more than ever and play our game.”
He added: “Germany are the group favourites and their morale will be high after beating a team of the calibre of Portugal 4-0. We won’t be feeling quite so good but we’ll be determined to do ourselves justice.”
Signing off in defiant fashion, Gyan said: “I can’t say what’s going to happen but football always throws up a lot of surprises.”