Switzerland set to test Ghana’s World Cup readiness

 Ghanaians will be given the strongest possi­ble hint of their Qatar World Cup expecta­tion when the Black Stars take on Switzerland in their final brush-up at the Al-Nahyan Sports Stadium, Abu Dhabi, this morning.


Today’s international friend­ly comes barely 96 hours after Ghana unveiled its Andre Dede Ayew-led final 26 squad for what is the nation’s fourth World Cup appearance.

It is the third of such friendlies lined up for the Stars after the humbling 3-0 loss to Brazil and a lame 1-0 win over Nicaragua in September. A sweet right-foot­ed first-half thunderbolt from Sporting CP forward Abdul Fatawa Issahaku, secured that win for Otto Addo’s side.

The experienced Swiss, on the other hand, accounted for Czech Republic 2-1 in their most recent game – with first-half goals from Nottingham Forest midfielder Remo Freuler and AS Monaco attacker Breel Embolo, sealing off the transaction.

 The Qatar-bound Ghana and Switzerland are meeting for the first time at this level, and the morning should generate an am­perage of hard-nosed intensity on the field as they test the prepared­ness of their players ahead of the Mundial.

For Ghanaians, they will be looking to see the Stars play some cohesive football – stirring enough to offer them hope in a tourna­ment many have written Ghana off because of its recent litany of limping performances.

Whilst the Stars have only two players (Ayew brothers) as having World Cup experience, their oppo­nents boasts of a sackful. Indeed, Coach Murat Yakin has not made many notable omissions, as a lot of the regulars have been in the squad since 2014.

Granit Xhaka, Ricardo Rodri­guez, Yann Sommer and Haris Seferovic are among those from the 2014 squad who will feature at a fifth major tournament, while Xherdan Shaqiri is at his sixth.

Clearly, Ghana – who are paired alongside Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay in Group H, will come face-to-face with a formi­dably organised and unified Swiss outfit who were unbeaten in quali­fication – denying Italy to place first in Group C.

The Swiss roar off their World Cup campaign against Cameroon next Thursday, before taking on Brazil and Serbia.

Though Ghana and Switzerland should be desirous of taking a decent result into the World Cup, both sides will be keen to preserve their energy before the campaign starts proper.

A draw seems like an ideal result; but the Ghanaian backline would have a lot on their plate.


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