Ghana’s Black Stars will play its 4th Matchday 2 game in the history of the FIFA World Cup as the West African powerhouse take on East Asian side South Korea in a Group H clash at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan on Monday afternoon.
This becomes the first time Ghana is facing an East Asian side at the World Cup, having played 13 games previously including the 3-2 loss to Portugal last Thursday.
Africa will set a new Matchday 2 record should Ghana beat South Korea on Monday afternoon or should Cameroon win against Serbia in the 10 AM kickoff. It would become the first time in history that three African sides have won games on Matchday 2 at the World Cup.
However, the 2010 quarter-finalist has a track record against the Koreans having beaten them 3 out of the 4 times they have met during FIFA international friendlies. Korea’s only victory over Ghana came in June 2011 when Dong-Won Ji and Ja-Cheol Koo netted in a 2-1 triumph with the legendary Asamoah Gyan scoring Ghana’s consolation goal. Three years later in 2014, Jordan Ayew came off the bench to score a hat trick to add to an Asamoah Gyan 44th-minute effort as Ghana recorded a 4-0 triumph.
Ghana, four-time African champions, slipped to a 3-2 loss to Portugal under controversial officiating circumstances in their opening game last Thursday.
However, the Black Stars are poised to make amend against a side handled by a familiar foe at the World Cup. Paulo Bento, South Korea’s coach, was the man in charge of Portugal when the Black Stars were downed 2-1 by the European powerhouse during the 2014 edition in Brazil.
It is expected that Ghana coach Otto Addo will ring changes in his starting XI as Brighton defender Tariq Lamptey together with Jordan Ayew are expected to walk into the squad as he the head coach attempts to counter the speed-inspired game of the Koreans.
The Koreans held Uruguay to a 0-0 draw in a hotly contested tie that produced just 1 shot on target from 17 attempts from both sides.
However, Tottenham Hotspur attacker Heung-Min Son and Napoli defender Kim Min-Jae are aware of the significance of the game.
Defensive midfielder Jung Woo-Young is a teammate to Ghana captain Andre Ayew at Al Sadd and is well aware of the aerial weapon of the 32-year-old.
Andre Ayew, Mohammed Kudus, Inaki Williams, and Alidu Seidu will miss the game against Uruguay if they pick up a yellow card against South Korea.
Here are some statistics to enjoy ahead of the game
- Ghana have scored 11 and conceded 4 goals in 4 previous meetings with South Korea in FIFA international friendly games.
- The Black Stars have lost just once (June 2011) against South Korea – W3 D0 L1.
- The West Africans have never played against an East Asian opposition at the World Cup however drew 1-1 with Australia, a member of the AFC, during the 2010 edition in South Africa.
- Ghana are yet to lose a Matchday 2 game at the World Cup in 3 previous attempts – W1 D2 L0 – 2006 (2-0 against the Czech Republic), 2010 (1-1 against Australia), and 2014 (2-2 against Germany).
- Ghana will play the 47th game of Matchday 2 for African sides at the FIFA World Cup when they take on South Korea at 13:00 GMT. Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions have a 10:00 GMT kick-off on Monday.
- In 45 previous Matchday 2, games for African countries at the Mundial, 24 defeats have been recorded including Tunisia’s 1-0 loss to Australia in the 2022 edition. Cameroon became the first African country to win a matchday 2 game after edging Romania 2-1 at the Italy 1990 edition.
- African countries have recorded 10 victories on matchday 2 including Morocco’s shocking 2-0 win over Belgium in the 2022 edition.
- Nigeria have won the highest number of Matchday 2 games (3) – 1998 (Nigeria 1-0 Bulgaria), 2014 (Nigeria 1-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina), and 2018 (Nigeria 2-0 Iceland).
- South Korea, Ghana’s opponent on Monday, suffered a 4-2 to Algeria on Matchday 2 during the 2014 edition in Brazil.
- Ghana have scored 5 Matchday 2 goals and conceded 3.
- Africa didn’t score a matchday 2 goal until the 1990 edition.
- African sides have never recorded 3 victories on Matchday 2 at the FIFA World Cup – the best has always been 2 wins – 2002 – South Africa 1-0 Slovenia and Cameroon 1-0 Saudi Arabia and 2014 – Nigeria 1-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina and South Korea 2-4 Algeria.
- Africa will set a new Matchday 2 record should Ghana beat South Korea on Monday afternoon or should Cameroon win against Serbia in the 10 AM kickoff. It would become the first time in history that three African sides have won games on Matchday 2 at the World Cup.
- Ghana’s World Cup goals aggregate still remains in deficit, with the 3-2 loss to Portugal increasing the goals scored to 15 and goals conceded to 19.
South Korea predicted XI: Kim Seung-gyu, Kim Moon-hwan, Kim Min-jae, Kim Young-gwon, Kim Jin-su, Hwang In-Beom, Jung, Na, Jae-Sung Lee, Son; Hwang Ui-jo.
Ghana predicted XI: Ati-Zigi, Seidu, Amartey, Djiku, Salisu, Baba; Partey, Abdul Samed, Kudus; Williams, Ayew.