Sorry South Korea: Ghana's record in second World Cup matches is incredible

Mohammed Salisu celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group H football match between South Korea and Ghana at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha, on November 28, 2022.
(Image credit: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)

Ghana's 2-0 half-time lead over South Korea is just the first 45 minutes that they wanted from the game – but perhaps we should have seen this coming. 

And not just because of the 3-2 loss against Portugal. Yes, the Black Stars may have lost but they looked particularly good going forward when they let the handbrake off and could well have got more from the game, had they have had a little more luck… and if Inaki Williams hadn't slipped at the vital moment in the dying embers of the game with the ball at his feet, having robbed Diogo Costa.

Oh, no: there's another reason we fancy Ghana for this one. History is well and truly on the side of the west African nation when it comes to the second game of a World Cup tournament. 

Ghana's record in second World Cup matches

Asamoah Gyan of Ghana celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Ghana at Castelao on June 21, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Asamoah Gyan of Ghana celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the 2014 World Cup Group G match between Germany and Ghana (Image credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Surprisingly, this is only Ghana's fourth World Cup. They haven't always won their opening game – but their bouncebackability is incredible.

The Black Stars have never lost a second game at the tournament, with their first tournament seeing them beat the much-fancied Czech Republic 2-0 comfortably, thanks to goals from Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari. Impressive – then four years later in South Africa, it was Gyan once more who earned them a point with a goal against Australia. Harry Kewell was sent off in that one.

In 2014, Ghana were the only team that Germany didn't manage to beat en route to their fourth World Cup title. Again, Gyan was front and centre, terrorising Die Mannschaft's backline in the game famous for the Boateng brothers lining up against one another – Jerome for Germany, Kevin-Prince for the Black Stars. The scoreline that day? 2-2. 

History isn't on the side of South Korea for this one. Ghana look nicely poised for a win, here…

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.