Soccer News of Fri, 30 May 201424
Preview: Netherlands - Ghana
Kwesi Appiah has revealed his delight at Ghana's World Cup preparations as they prepare to face the Netherlands in a friendly on Saturday.
The Black Stars face a tough challenge to replicate their run to the 2010 quarter-finals at this year's tournament, having been drawn alongside Germany, Portugal and the United States in Group G.
However, head coach Appiah is taking heart from his side's positive attitude to the task that awaits them in Brazil.
"The unity is so great and discipline is very high," he said ahead of Saturday's match against the Dutch in Rotterdam. "Discipline plays a big role, if you want to be successful, 100 per cent lies with the players' behaviour and so far it has been good.
"There is this kind of competition, no one is sure of himself at the moment. Everybody is attentive to whatever is taught in training. Everyone tries to do whatever he can and for me, it's good for the team and I am really impressed."
Tackling a side who finished runners-up in South Africa will give Ghana an opportunity to test their mettle before heading into what, according to the latest Fifa rankings, is the toughest group at the World Cup.
With Germany ranked second and Portugal in third, Ghana are rank outsiders in 38th and will surely need to take something from their opening game against a USA side who sit 14th.
Defeat to Montenegro in their last game will have given Appiah some cause for concern, with Dejan Damjanovic's first-minute penalty settling matters in Podgorica.
The Netherlands, though, have not tasted victory since ending their unbeaten World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win over Turkey.
Draws against Japan, Colombia and Ecuador have followed, with a 2-0 loss to France in March constituting their first defeat since 2012.
Saturday's meeting with the African country is a crucial one for the Dutch as coach Louis van Gaal will field his first choice XI for the World Cup and in the new 5-3-2 system he has implemented in recent weeks.
"Before the match, I will announce my 23 man squad," the coach told reporters. "On Monday I have to give my list to Fifa, but I will make my decision earlier. Against Ghana our starting XI during the World Cup will play."
With Spain, Chile and Australia in their group, a bright display is required from the Oranje on Saturday as the 2010 runners-up look to gain confidence ahead of the campaign.