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Friday, June 25, 2010
ESPNsoccernet: June 26, 2:13 PM UK
Pantsil saddened by African struggles

Tom Adams

John Pantsil has told Soccernet that the failure of African teams at the World Cup has come as a "big surprise" but Ghana are now hoping to harness the support of the continent as its sole representatives in the second round.

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The arrival of the World Cup on African soil for the first time has been a source of great pride for the continent and South Africa, but the group stages were not kind with the host nation joining Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast in suffering early elimination.

Ghana - who came through a difficult group including Serbia, Australia and Germany - will therefore shoulder Africa's hopes alone on Saturday when they take on USA in the second round, and it is a scenario Pantsil admits he did not anticipate.

"We are not happy that the African teams have gone out of the competition because we were expecting to have four African teams in the last 16," Pantsil told Soccernet. "Unfortunately they couldn't make it, which is sad.

"It is a big surprise, because we have good teams with really good players. Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria, Ivory Coast and South Africa are all going out. It is something that we don't understand. We still hope that Africans have a future in terms of the World Cup.

"All the Africans support the teams that are representing Africa. We have massive support here so we have to keep that fire going."

Ghana's meeting with USA is a rematch of the final group stage game in 2006, when a win for the Black Stars in Nuremberg took them through to the second round at the expense of their opponents.

Pantsil played the full 90 minutes on that occasion and with the Ghana team also acquainting themselves with USA's performances in South Africa, he knows that Saturday's game will be a difficult one for Milovan Rajevac's side.

"We have watched all the games that they have played and they look good," Pantsil said. "They are dangerous like always, and obviously we have played them before [in 2006].

"They don't depend on individual players. I compare them to us. We play as a team, we don't play individual football. If they are going to play individual, they don't stand a chance with us.

"They are well organised and a very good team and they have composure. They run for 90 minutes."

John is wearing the Africa Unity shirt, which is the third strip of Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Algeria. Sales for the shirt raise money for biodiversity causes in Africa, see www.pumafootball.com for more information.




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