AC Milan midfielder Michael Essien believes that Ghana is capable of making it to the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup that begins in Brazil next month.
Essien missed the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa due to an injury, but Ghana performed strongly in his absence and made it all the way to the quarter finals where they were eliminated by Uruguay in controversial fashion after Luis Suarez deliberately used his hands to stop a certain goal in the final stages of the match.
Ghana breezed through the qualification process for the 2014 World Cup, losing just a single game to Lesotho, and Essien is confident that the Black Stars are capable of improving on their performance at the last World Cup.
“Our initial aim will be to get out of the group into the second round and then take it from there game by game,” Essien said.
“We are certainly capable of going one better and making it to the semi-finals or even finals.
“Anything can happen, but we are realistic enough to know we cannot aim that high from the start.
“Get the first objective of making the second round out of the way, and we will see how far we can go.
“It will be a journey without doubt, one we are looking forward to.”
Ghana qualified for their first World Cup in 2006 and over the last decade have stamped themselves as one of the most consistent African footballing nations, although they have finished a disappointing fourth in the past two editions of the African Cup Of Nations.
Essien believes that Ghana have improved significantly since the 2006 World Cup in Germany and is hopeful that the side can continue to perform better than is expect when they commence their World Cup campaign against the United States Of America at Natal on June 17.
“I think we have done well for a nation that made its debut on the world stage in 2006,” Essien said.
“We did okay in our first outing and went one further in South Africa, and that says a lot about the players and the nation as a whole.
“Our desire to do well spurred us on in both World Cups, and I think it is fair to say we have done better than some of the nations who have been to three or more World Cups.”
Ghana is currently rated a $201 chance to win the 2014 Soccer World Cup with Ladbrokes Australia and are available at a quote of $2.50 to win their opening clash against the United States.