World Cup 2022: Ghana’s struggles helped team prepare – Denis Odoi

World Cup 2022: Ghana’s struggles helped team prepare – Denis Odoi

Denis Odoi made his Ghana debut in March and featured in both legs of the World Cup play-off against Nigeria

Defender Denis Odoi says Ghana’s struggles earlier this year have helped to carry the squad collectively as they prepare for Thursday’s opening World Cup Group H match against Portugal.

Ghana, ranked 61st on the planet, are the match’s lowest-ranked team and that’s partly due to their poor exhibiting at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), the place the Black Stars failed to win a game and completed backside of their group.

Since that failure, Coach Otto Addo has recruited from the diaspora and Belgium-born Odoi, who performs for Club Bruges.

The younger defender is without doubt one of the newcomers who helped the squad qualify for Qatar forward of fierce West African rivals Nigeria.

“The journey has been positive,” Odoi, 34, told the BBC World Service.

“I think sometimes you have to be deep to grow from that and learn from that. I think that’s what these experiences brought.

“Obviously, Afcon was a very bad performance – one of the worst in the last few years and decades. We managed to grow and learn from that process.”

Addo gained solely one in all his first seven games in control of Ghana however the aspect have recorded victories of their previous two friendlies against Nicaragua and Switzerland.

The latter was an spectacular 2-0 triumph in Abu Dhabi last week, and Odoi says fellow new recruits, together with Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams, are settling in properly.

“We’ve used this last week to fit everybody in and to get used to the system and practice the defensive and offensive battles,” the previous Fulham full-again said.

“And everybody gets to know each other a little bit better on the pitch.”

Despite their low rating, Odoi believes Ghana is able to upsetting Portugal, who have been European champions in 2016.

“Everyone knows Portugal players are of a high level,” he said.

“We still have to play the game. It is not like Portugal has won this game. I am sure they are aware of that.

“If you look at the performances of other African counties, and Saudi Arabia [against Argentina], you still have to play the game.”

Lamptey ‘settling in quickly’

Tariq Lamptey’s first two caps for Ghana have are available in friendlies against Brazil and Switzerland

Meanwhile, Brighton & Hove Albion wing-again Tariq Lamptey is amongst these poised to make his aggressive debut for Ghana.

The former England Under-21 worldwide has featured in two pleasant matches since switching allegiance in July – a call his parents supported.

“They always said to me that they’re proud of whoever I represent,” Lamptey, 22, told the BBC’s World Football podcast.

“Ultimately, I was born in England, and they’re from Ghanaian background. Making my debut against Brazil was a really proud moment for both me and my family. It was a surreal feeling against some of the best players in the world.

“It’s every little boy’s dream to play football at the highest level. If I’m selected, then I will try and do my best.”

Lamptey joined Ghana for friendlies against Brazil and Nicaragua in France in September, and says he settled into the squad shortly.

“They were very welcoming and I was just able to get on the training pitch and get to work,” he said,

“Off the pitch, I knew a few of the boys before but it was really good to get to know everyone. It’s a good group.”

The response of the Black Stars fans, both on social media and from the stands, has additionally been essential to Lamptey.

“I just want to say a massive thank you to the fans, because their love and support has definitely been received well,” the previous Chelsea teen said.

“I’m really grateful to have great fans like that.”

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