UEFA Champions League
Previous
Aktobe Lento
Dinamo Tbilisi
3:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
FK Ventspils
Malmo FF
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
HJK Helsinki
Rabotnicki Kometal
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Steaua Bucuresti
Stromsgodset
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
NK Maribor
Zrinjski Mostar
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
St Patricks
Legia Warsaw
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
FC Aarau
FC Sion Sitten
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Zürich
FC Thun
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
San Jose
Chicago
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
San Antonio Scorpions
Carolina RailHawks
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
San Lorenzo
Bolívar
10:45 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Arsenal de Sarandí
Instituto de Córdoba
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
Defensa y Justicia
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Ceará
Chapecoense AF
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Avaí
Palmeiras
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
ABC
Novo Hamburgo
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Botafogo da Paraiba
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
AA Ponte Preta
CR Vasco da Gama
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Corinthians
Bahia
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Sport Huancayo
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
U. Católica
Mushuc Runa
Postp
Game Details
Emelec
Deportivo Quito
Postp
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
Club Deportivo Cuenca
Postp
Game Details
Olmedo
El Nacional
Postp
Game Details
Liga de Loja
LDU Quito
Postp
Game Details
Manta F.C.
Barcelona
Postp
Game Details
Albirex Niigata
FC Tokyo
0
1
FT
Game Details
Gamba Osaka
Shimizu S-Pulse
4
0
FT
Game Details
Kashima Antlers
Omiya Ardija
2
2
FT
Game Details
Sagan Tosu
Kawasaki Frontale
0
1
FT
Game Details
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Kashiwa Reysol
5
2
FT
Game Details
Tokushima Vortis
Urawa Red Diamonds
0
1
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Vantforet Kofu
Cerezo Osaka
0
0
FT
Game Details
Vegalta Sendai
Nagoya Grampus Eight
3
3
FT
Game Details
Yokohama F. Marinos
Vissel Kobe
1
1
FT
Game Details
Washington Spirit
Portland Thorns FC
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

Ghana rocked by scandal

Team Assessment Jun 26, 2014
Read

Moonda: Ghana in disarray

Ghana Jun 26, 2014
Read

Black Stars dare to dream

Ghana Jun 22, 2014
Read

Can Andre Ayew surpass Abedi Pele?

Ghana Jun 22, 2014
Read
 Posted by Firdose Moonda
Jun 26, 2014

Ghana in disarray ahead of Portugal

Ghana threw Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng out of its World Cup squad for disciplinary reasons on Thursday.

Defeat in a match they talked up to win, rumours of a player revolt, the cancellation of a scheduled news conference, an almighty fightback against one of the best teams in the tournament, a plane carrying $3 million in cash to prevent a threatened boycott of a crucial game and the suspension of two high-profile players. These sound like the components for a bad joke -- but it is what Ghana's World Cup campaign has become.

Their latest drama was confirmed less than five hours before their must-win match against Portugal. The Ghana Football Association confirmed the indefinite suspensions of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari, the former for "vulgar verbal insults targeted at the coach" Kwesi Appiah, and the latter for an "unprovoked physical attack" on an FA executive committee member. Those actions deserve punishment but they could also derail the Black Stars' attempts to qualify for the knockout stages in Brazil. The pair may argue the damage had been done before their bust-ups.

Ghana's tournament hopes faded within 30 seconds of them taking the field, when the U.S. took the lead through Clint Dempsey in their opener. In a tough group, that was the match Ghana were banking on winning -- especially as they had been responsible for knocking the U.S. out of the previous two World Cups. That they could not manage a repeat was enough to cause unease and it showed in the camp immediately.

The following day, Appiah cancelled his media engagement and reports of a dispute surfaced. The Ghana FA moved swiftly to quash the stories. "We state emphatically that the report is absolutely false," the body said. The hastiness of their reactions did not douse suspicion as much as it aroused it, especially because Boateng was benched for the match.

PortugalPortugal
GhanaGhana
2
1
ESPN2, ESPN3 FT
Match 46
Game Details

Perhaps that is where the battle lines between coach and player were drawn. Indeed, they have contrasting football upbringings. Boateng is a foreign-born (in Germany), foreign-based (Schalke) player who has spent very little time in Ghana or with his Ghanaian teammates. He has even quit the team in the past. Appiah, however, is the first homegrown coach to take the Black Stars to the World Cup. Although he received training at Manchester City and Liverpool, he had never played or managed outside his home country.

Boateng told Sport Bild that Appiah intervened in a joke he was having with his former AC Milan teammate Muntari. He said they were both laughing but Appiah was not amused. He banished them to the changing room and later Boateng claimed Appiah started the argument. Appiah has yet to comment on the matter.

Ghana's coach admitted to sleepless nights because of suggestions his players may protest over money. Ghana's squad were promised an advanced five-figure sum of money each for their appearances at the World Cup, but the fee had not arrived by the end of the first week of the tournament.

Bear in mind that these are not bonuses, it is a fee they were promised irrespective of the results. The situation led to the president of the country, John Dramani Mahama, intervening. He sent a chartered jet loaded with $3 million to ease the situation and ensure the players take the field against Portugal.

To qualify, the team need a win over Portugal and for Germany to secure a comfortable victory over the U.S. For the realists, that scenario may mean Ghana will be joining their notes on the flight home. For the fans, it will be a disappointment more crushing than they were prepared for, given Ghana's past two tournament showings and all the hope that accompanied them to Brazil.

A round of 16 finish in 2006 and a quarterfinal exit in 2010 promised something bigger this time. The pain of the Luis Suarez handball and the Asamoah Gyan missed penalty was going to be erased. In the lead-up to the tournament those things could be believed because Ghana looked as happy a bunch as any.

On June 8, Boateng tweeted a picture of himself with Adam Kwarasy, Michael Essien, the Ayew brothers and Muntari having lunch. Five days later, he had this to say on social media: "That's what we doooooo...enjoying life and football to the max!!!!! #ghanablackstars."

Even after he was left out of the starting XI for the U.S. game, Boateng appeared every bit the team man. His social media account contained the motivational message "Never say never... #ghanablackstars keep going!!!!" Now he and Muntari are the ones going. The team may follow but it won't be to the same place.

Four years ago Ghana were the darlings of Africa, this time they could well be the duds.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.