KPB is German-born but firmly committed to his father’s homeland, even as his brother Jerome Boateng suits up for Germany. The nephews of Helmut Rahn, who scored for Germany in the 1954 World Cup final and of former Ghanaian international Robert Boateng, they have good genes. Kevin-Prince, a playmaker, is Ghana’s creative spark and starts (and often ends) their helter-skelter attacks.
Action ImagesJed Leicester
Ghana lifted the Cup of Nations on four occasions before they graced the World Cup for the first time back in 2006. The first campaign in Germany included safe passage through a group with Czech Republic, Italy and the United States and a round of 16 defeat to Brazil. The return trip four years later reached even greater heights by opening knockout play with a triumph over the Americans before suffering a narrow quarterfinal defeat to Uruguay on penalties.
Getty ImagesJonathan Ferrey
In their entire soccer existence, Ghana have been to two World Cups. And in both of those editions, they managed to knock out the United States. In Germany in 2006, the USA had been battered by the Czech Republic 3-0 in their opening game but had managed to recover against Italy, tying the eventual champions 1-1. So it all came down to the final game. If the Americans beat Ghana and Italy beat the Czechs, the Yanks would advance to the round of 16. But Stephen Appiah’s penalty winner in added time of the first half sent the Americans home with a 2-1 loss. Four years later, they faced off again in the round of 16. This time too, the Ghanaians went ahead, the Americans equalized, and then Asamoah Gyan put his country through with a rocketed volley in extra time. In 2014, they play in each side’s opening game. And for either to stand a chance of advancing, they need a win.
Action Images / ReutersAMR ABDALLAH DALSH
How they got here
Cup of Nations winners Zambia offered the primary opposition in Group D. Ghana handled their task appropriately by splitting the two fixtures against the Zambians -- including the vital final day victory on home soil -- and sweeping their fixtures against Lesotho and Sudan. The triumph placed the Black Stars into the playoff draw for a third straight berth. A dangerous tie against Egypt emerged from the pot, but a rampant 6-1 first leg victory in Kumasi guaranteed safe progress even with a second leg defeat in Cairo.
Action Images / ReutersLUC GNAGO
Difficult. Group G will pit them against Germany, Portugal and the United States. They’re not expected to take anything from the imperious Germans and so will have to take their points from Portugal and, particularly, the USA in their opening game. But they probably have as good a chance of advancing as Portugal do.
AFP/Getty ImagesCHRISTOPHE SIMON
Round of 16 prospects
Tricky. If Ghana advance, it’s probable that they’ll do so as the runners-up in Group G. It’s just as likely that Belgium will win Group H, pitting them against each other. That’s a tough but not insurmountable challenge for the Black Stars.
Action Images / ReutersSTEFAN WERMUTH
While Gyan now plies his trade in the Middle East and Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari are past the peak of their powers, this is still a very strong Ghanaian team, thanks to the emergence of other contributors, like Andre Ayew and Kwadwo Asamoah, who play on the wings. The fundamental principles -- brisk and powerful movement through midfield to tear apart the opposition with Asamoah, Boateng and Gyan all prominently involved -- still hold true though. If a suspect defense can hold up under intense scrutiny, then Ghana could reach the knockout stage for a third consecutive tournament and push for a place in the last eight.