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Soccer-Ghana cling to hope after draw with Germany

Reuters

By Elzio Barreto

FORTALEZA, Brazil, June 21 (Reuters) - Ghana are clinging to hope of reaching the World Cup last 16 even though coach Kwesi Appiah admitted their chances were receding after the 2-2 draw with Germany on Saturday.

"It's not going to be easy to qualify. There's other games to be played in our group (that can determine the outcome)," he told reporters after Ghana picked up their first point in Group G.

"It was a really good, competitive game. Germany, at the end of the day, are among the best in the whole world and playing against them was going to be difficult. We had some opportunities but unfortunately playing such a big team, if you don't take your chances, you always face a problem."

Defending set pieces proved their undoing as he had anticipated.

"That was one of the major concerns when we were planning tactics against the Germans," Appiah said.

"Most of them are really tall and defending against them is always a difficult situation. It's unfortunate that we conceded one goal out of a set piece.

"Saying that, I had total confidence and belief in my players and the best way to defend was to attack. That was the strategy we adopted."

Ghana must win their last game against Portugal in Recife on Thursday to stand a chance of progressing to the second round.

"Their confidence levels in this tournament are good to me," he said of his players despite losing the opening game to the U.S. and now having to face Cristiano Ronaldo.

"He's the best player in the whole world," Appiah said. "Everyone recognises that. But it's about teamwork, I don't believe in the individual. It's important that we don't allow him to play his game. We will study their game, but it's not only him, it's the whole team." (Writing by Mark Gleeson in Salvador; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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