Ghana midfielder Michael Essien has picked England, Uruguay and Brazil as teams he will want to play against at the group stages of the 2014 World Cup.
The Black Stars have made it to their third-straight World Cup after thumping Egypt in a 7-3 aggregate score and will know their group opponents at the draw in Bahia later today, December 6.
The ‘Bison’ gave his reasons for settling on the trio in his monthly blog on the Chelsea website.
He said: “England has to be one of the teams that Ghanaians will love to face because of the popularity of the Premier league in Ghana and the familiarity of the English players. A lot of Ghanaians watch the Barclays Premier League every week and they all have their team they support in the Premier League.
“As such they know the players well and will love to see them in real life for the national team. The English players are household names in Ghana and how fitting will it be if we draw them in our group? When Ghana drew with England a few years ago at Wembley, it was a big deal and you get the feeling they will love us to face England again and beat them this time at the World Cup.”
“Uruguay you feel will be second country on every Ghanaian’s list of teams the Ghana Black Stars have to face and defeat because it will all be about ‘football revenge’ for the way we went out of the 2010 World Cup. Luis Suarez’s handball to deny Ghana a place at the semi final three and half years ago is still talked about today in Ghana and every Ghanaian will love to have the opportunity to right the ‘wrong’ of the 2010 World Cup. Uruguay are a strong team and it will be a cracking game from a player’s point of view but from the fan’s perspective it will be payback time.”
But why will the midfielder pick the hosts? “Because in Ghana we pride ourselves on the fact that the we are the ‘the Brazil of Africa’ and what a carnival it will be to face the hosts. Their fans love to party at football games and so do we so we will love to face them. I personally will also like to face them because we lost to them at the 2006 World Cup and I was suspended for that game so I will love the chance to face them so in future I can also say I played against Brazil and hopefully add that we beat them.”
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