22nd Minute, Haminu Draman, Ghana v USA, 2006 World Cup Group Stage
Ghana finally qualified for their first World Cup by topping a six team group including DR Congo and South Africa. The country was overjoyed that they had finally broken the hoodoo of never having played in a FIFA World Cup despite winning the African Nations Cup four times.
The team that finally got them there was partly made up from a successful U20 side that had reached the U20 World Cup final in 2001, losing out to hosts Argentina. Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, John Paintsil and John Mensah all had significant roles in the success of both sides.
Their first game in Germany in 2006 proved to be a very tough task as they fell 2-0 to eventual champions Italy. They bounced back with an impressive 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic meaning just a draw from their final game against USA might be enough to seem through, whilst a win would guarantee it.
The USA had fell heavily to defeat in their opening match but claimed a surprising draw against the Italians to keep them in the competition but they had to beat the Africans. The match was a physical one as two yellow cards were dished out in the opening minutes as the referee looked to stamp his mark on the game.
American midfielder Claudio Reyna dithers on the ball and Haminu Draman gleefully takes advantage…
What Happened Next?
Ghana won 2-1 to advance in second place from the group. Ghana faced Brazil in the second round and were well beaten 3-0 as Ronaldo broke the record for most World Cup goals. In 2010 they would reach the quarter finals and only be denied a place in the semi-finals by a Luis Suarez handball and a missed penalty. They have qualified for Brazil 2014 but will face a tough task to qualify from their group.