Going into Tuesday's meeting between the 'Brazilians of Africa' and the actual Brazilians of Brazil, debutants Ghana are every inch the outsiders. Yet the spirit in the Ghanaian camp was soaring on the eve of the Round of 16 clash in Dortmund .
"It will obviously be a very tough and important game for us, of course," Ratomir Dujkovic told members of the media on Monday. "We are new to this level of competition and playing against a team with the history and reputation of Brazil will be a very difficult task for us."
In spite of his realism, however, Dujkovic also allowed himself to get carried away with the romantic notion of FIFA World Cup first-timers Ghana knocking out mighty Brazil. "We can't be afraid of the yellow shirt," he added. "We need to make them afraid of our colours. I think we can stop them. We have the strength to do it."
Go to the Ghana team page
Whatever hopes Dujkovic and his players are harbouring will need to be realised without influential midfielder Michael Essien suspended for the match after picking up a second yellow card in the final first-round game against the USA.
"Of course Essien is an important player for us and it will be difficult to find a replacement," Dujkovic said of the Chelsea star. "But we have the talent on the bench to cover for him in his absence. We will be at around 80 per cent of our usual strength without him."
As the lone remaining African side in Germany, Dujkovic is keen to fly the flag proudly and keep alive the proud tradition established by Cameroon, Nigeria and most recently Senegal, at the finals.
Africa's last hope
"We are proud to represent Ghana and all of Africa as well," said the Serbian trainer, whose coaching CV includes spells with Red Star Belgrade, Myanmar and Venezuela. "We are the only team remaining in this World Cup from the continent and we will defend the name of Ghana and the African peoples. I believe we can survive this match and play more than one knockout game."
Udinese midfielder Sulley Muntari who will need to cover for the absence of the influential Essien in the middle of the park was quick to echo his coach's sentiments as he spoke to journalists from all corners of Africa. "It means so much to the people at home, that we are still alive in the World Cup. We've done well to reach this round of 16. The people are praying for us and we can almost hear them saying, Go on and do it'. We have to do our best to not disappoint them."
With his final remarks, Dujkovic laid out an attacking battle plan for the match in Dortmund, one befitting a team nicknamed the Brazilians of Africa'. "The Black Stars always play to win," he said. "We will not come out onto the field to defend, we wouldn't even know how to approach a game that way.
"If you defend against Brazil, you will still concede one or two goals and lose anyway. We will try to score as often as we can." When asked to be more specific about his plan, Dujkovic said bluntly: "We need to score more goals than them, of course!"