Uruguay vs. Ghana at Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa 2:30 PM EST Friday July 2, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Match Odds: Uruguay 2.15 / Ghana 4.00 / Draw 3.10
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: Uruguay +105 / Ghana +285 / Draw +215
In the second quarterfinals match up on Friday Ghana faces Uruguay. Ghana is looking to become the first African nation to make the semifinals while Uruguay, who has won the World Cup twice, looks to get back to the semis for the first time since 1970.
Many though Ghana ad no chance to go far in the World Cup when star Michael Essien of Chelsea was ruled out of the tournament due to injury. However, the young squad has played well and is the lone team from Africa left in the field. They will have the home field advantage in this match and they will have to use it since Uruguay is a solid team on both sides of the pitch.
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In their round of 16 wins Ghana beat the USA 2-1 and Uruguay beat South Korea 2-1.
Even though the strength of Uruguay is thought to be their offense they have only conceded one goal in the World Cup and that was in their last match. They play great as a team, especially when they get the lead first. They will have to deal with the speed of Ghana, which is the African nation’s biggest strength.
Even though Uruguay lost the time of possession battle in their round of 16 match with South Korea (55% to 45%) they had more shots on target and came back after giving up an equalizing goal early in the second half. Luis Surez scored 2 goals in the match and he will have to pressure the Ghana defense.
Ghana had less time of possession and fewer shots in the win over the USA in their first playoff match, but scoring an early goal set the tone. The Black Stars, as Ghana is known, carved up the USA midfield and if they can do that against Uruguay they have a legit chance to win this match.
Ghana Recent Form:
6/26/2010 Ghana 2 USA 1 (World Cup)
6/23/2010 Ghana 0 Germany 1 (World Cup)
6/19/2010 Ghana 1 Australia 1 (World Cup)
6/13/2010 Ghana 1 Serbia 0 (World Cup)
Uruguay Recent Form:
6/26/2010 Uruguay 2 South Korea 1 (World Cup)
6/22/2010 Uruguay 1 Mexico 0 (World Cup)
6/16/2010 Uruguay 3 South Africa 0 (World Cup)
6/11/2010 Uruguay 1 France (World Cup)
Ghana hopes to have MF Kevin-Prince Boateng back after he missed the USA match due to an injury. Ghana also has DF’s Isaac Vorsah, Samuel Inkoom, John Mensah, and striker Asamoah Gyan nursing minor injuries, but should play in this match. However DF Jonathan Mensah and MF Andre Ayew are out for this match due to suspension.
Asamoah Gyan is the main striker for Ghana and has scored 3 of their 4 goals in the World Cup. If he cannot go it will be a major blow since Ghana does not have many scoring options.
Ghana and Inter Milan MF Sulley Muntari will have to play well and not allow Uruguay to dominate the time of possession in this match.
DF Diego Godin is injured for Uruguay and may not be ready for the match. Striker Diego Forlan has an injured toe, but will play in this match and Uruguay will need his offense.
Diego Forlan and Luis Surez have likely been the best striker tandem in the tournament so far with 5 goals between them. Ghana really has to key on them and even though they will one if not both of these guys will score in this match.
Ghana G Richard Kingson played great in making several key saves against the USA, but the Everton keeper will not be able to keep a clean sheet in this match.
Jason’s Pick to Win: Ghana is the home team favorite, but Uruguay has Forlan and Surez and they will simply be too tough to stop. Uruguay will pick their chances to score and they will do so while playing good defense and not exposing their back line. Look for Uruguay to win this match by a score of 1-0 or 2-0, as Ghana will join Senegal and Cameroon as the only African nations to make the quarters, but no further.