Penalties give Ghana false sense of security

RUSTENBURG - Ghana are in a more precarious position than the Group D table suggests and need to start creating some goals rather than relying on penalties if they want to progress in the World Cup.

The Black Stars top the group with four points after Saturday's 1-1 draw with Australia and the opening 1-0 win over Serbia but they face a Germany side next who have a point to prove after a surprise defeat by Serbia.

Both of Ghana's goals have come from Asamoah Gyan penalties and despite looking dangerous going forward, they have wasted chances through wild crosses and poor finishing.

"We have (only) scored through two penalties but we will rectify that in the next game," coach Milovan Rajevac told a news conference.

Ghana might not be having these problems if the injured Michael Essien was there. Described by Rajevac as the leader and engine room, Essien is the missing piece that holds Ghana together in midfield.

His replacement Kevin-Prince Boateng is talented but, at 23 and having only just switched nationalities, is still finding his feet.

He is not afraid to take a shot at goal, unleashing several long-range efforts in the two opening matches, but a more patient and generous approach might reap more rewards.

Boateng could, however, come into his own against Germany on Wednesday, when he faces the country he represented at under-21 level before switching to Ghana just before the World Cup.

His inside knowledge and the added spice of getting one over on his brother, Germany defender Jerome Boateng, could make the difference.

"He's going to fight for his nation and he will make it and we will get victory," midfielder Sulley Muntari told reporters.

"I'm happy he is in the arms of the team, it's good having such a big player in our team. I have confidence in him."

With Germany and Serbia on three points, those two teams could qualify ahead of Ghana with victories in their final matches on Wednesday. Serbia play Australia, who have one point.

"We know what Germany are about but Germany lost against Serbia so anything is possible," said Rajevac. "If the result against Germany is 0-0 I would be more than happy."

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