Updated: Monday, 16 June 2014 18:52 | By Agence France-Presse

Ghana's young stars ready for USA, says Gyan

Ghana skipper Asamoah Gyan believes his young stars will prove too strong for the United States when the sides meet in Natal on Monday in what could be a key Group G clash.


Ghana's young stars ready for USA, says Gyan

Ghana forward and captain Asamoah Gyan speaks to the media during a press conference before training in the Das Dunas stadium in Natal on June 15, 2014 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup - by Carl De Souza

The Black Stars beat the United States at the past two World Cups including a knockout round victory in South Africa four years ago when Ghana narrowly missed claiming an historic semi-final place.

While warning against complacency ahead of meeting Jurgen Klinsmann's side, Gyan, the Black Stars' record goalscorer, feels technical supremacy will trump the Americans' reputation for grinding out results.

"They're coming for revenge. Mentally they don't want us to beat them for the third time, so it's going to make the match very difficult," said Gyan.

"The USA are a good side, they're a very dangerous team. But we think of ourselves first. We've got young, talented players who are coming up and playing well in their clubs. They're in great shape.

"I think we have the youngest team at the tournament."

Ghana only made their debut in the competition in 2006 when they were eliminated 3-0 in the last 16 by Brazil. In South Africa, they made the last eight under Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac, with Kwesi Appiah as assistant.

In South Africa, Ghana were cruelly denied a place in the last four when Gyan failed to convert from the spot following a handball on the goal-line by Uruguay's Luis Suarez. Uruguay went on to win a penalty shoot-out.

Appiah is now head coach and the first Ghanaian to take the Black Stars at a World Cup.

Although his aim to take the team in the semis will be tempered by later Group G matches against Germany and then Portugal, the former Ghana international said they are ready to meet the biggest challenges the tournament throws their way.

"If you're going to the World Cup and you're afraid of meeting the big teams like Brazil, then there's no point in going," said the 53-year-old, who steered Ghana to fourth place in last year's African Nations Cup and a 6-1 thumping of Egypt in the World Cup qualifiers.

"We have prepared very well, we've not had many injuries, which has been good. And there's unity and discipline within the squad.

"The boys are totally focused and looking forward to tomorrow's game."

Appiah recently welcomed Abdul Majeed Waris, who scored nine goals in 16 French Ligue 1 appearances for Valenciennes during a six-month loan spell from Russian side Spartak Moscow, back to his squad after he suffered a muscle injury.

He was to be assessed after Sunday's final training session although Gyan is being tipped to spearhead his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

Ghana's driving force is expected to come from the likes of Juventus wingback Kwadwo Asamoah, AC Milan midfield pair Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari and Schalke forward Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Essien and Prince-Boateng have both returned from international exile in the past, and Appiah added: "These are big players for us, they have really good experience."

Although Essien had a patchy end to the Serie A season with Milan, Asamoah has come on leaps and bounds with Juventus in the past two campaigns and is likely to prove a handful on the left side and in and around the box.

After the feats of 2010, the pressure is one for Ghana to go a stage further.

But Gyan said: "The expectation is high back home, everyone is expecting us to prove ourselves. Ghana have been rated as underdogs everytime.

"But we've seen a lot of surprises in the tournament so far. And we enjoy being the underdogs."

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