The Black Stars are a team caught between two generations -- a trailblazing collection of international veterans who led them to the second round in their first World Cup four years ago, and a green group of up-and-comers who won the FIFA under-20 World Cup last year in Egypt. To succeed in South Africa, they'll need to get the mix of experience and youth just right, especially in light of injuries to some important players, including team leader Michael Essien.
Ghana may be at a crossroads, but it is also by many measures the most accomplished African team at the World Cup. To add to that second-round achievement in 2006, the Black Stars were runner-up to three-time defending champion Egypt at this year's African Nations Cup. If the breaks fall its way in a difficult Group D, Ghana could well be the last African team standing and set new heights for the continent.
Coach: Milovan Rajevac
The Serb has been at Ghana's helm since 2008 with some success. The coach has instilled a more defensive philosophy in what has historically been an offensive-minded Ghanaian approach to the game. His teams know how to challenge opponents physically and grind out wins, which will help in an imposing foursome that includes Germany, Serbia and Australia.
Style of play
Lining up in a 4-4-2 formation that showcases its strong suits, Ghana has plenty of talent on the ball and likes to control the pace through its gifted midfield. The Black Stars are strong and fast on the wings and up front, but they don't waste possession. The wingbacks know how to get forward into the act on offense, while a talented midfield will do its best to make up for Essien's absence.
Players to watch
1. Kevin-Prince Boateng. The German-born Boateng has just received clearance to switch allegiance from Germany and has never worn the stars of Ghana. Despite that lack of international experience, the Portsmouth midfielder is Essien's ready-made replacement. Although less defensive-minded than Essien, Boateng already has made himself useful in dubious fashion by knocking out group rival Germany's captain, Michael Ballack, with a fierce tackle in the FA Cup final.
2. Kwadwo Asamoah. Perhaps the most advanced of Ghana's young generation of future superstars, Asamoah seems to have won Rajevac's trust and is set to see ample time at attacking midfield or as a third forward.
3. Lee Addy. Addy is a rare quantity these days, a player for an African club team set to feature at the World Cup. The central defender was first capped late last year but played a large role for Ghana at the African Nations Cup.
Asamoah Gyan. Ghana's top marksman for some years now despite his young age, Gyan scored 13 times in Ligue 1 this year for Rennes.
Eric Addo. The veteran center back hasn't made an appearance for his club, Holland's Roda JC, since December and appears to have lost his spot in the Black Stars' starting lineup.
Three key questions
1. How will Ghana deal with Essien's absence? The Black Stars are not the same team without their veteran leader. His experience and leadership will be sorely missed.
2. Is there a balance between veterans and youth to be found? Ghana fielded its best team to date in 2006 and will be a World Cup title contender in 2014. But it looks as if 2010 may have come too late for some of Ghana's aging stars and too soon for its next generation. Rajevac will look for a balance, but there may not be one.
3. Can they handle the brutal lineup of games in store? Battling Serbia, Australia and then Germany in a span of less than two weeks would be a daunting task for any team, much less one that will rely on a number of players just past their 20th birthdays. It's not clear that the younger Black Stars can handle the grind, especially when the team likely will need points from their final game against Germany to advance.
G Richard Kingson, Wigan Athletic (England)
D Samuel Inkoom, FC Basel (Switzerland)
D Lee Addy, Bechem Chelsea (Ghana)
D Isaac Vorsah, Hoffenheim (Germany)
D John Pantsil, Fulham (England)
M Anthony Annan, Rosenborg (Norway)
M Sulley Muntari, Inter Milan (Italy)
M Kevin-Prince Boateng, Portsmouth (England)
M Stephen Appiah, Bologna (Italy)
M/F Kwadwo Asamoah, Udinese (Italy)
F Asamoah Gyan, Rennes (France)