Ghana do it for Africa - and the world, says coach
Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac said all the world and not just the African continent would be supporting the Black Stars at the World Cup following their 2-1 extra-time victory over the United States on Saturday in the last 16, dpa reported.
Rajevac said his main concern now was suspensions and injuries ahead of a quarter-final clash with Uruguay on Friday in Johannesburg.
Man of the match Andrew Ayew and defender Jonathan Mensah will be suspended after collecting their second yellow cards, while midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, scorer of the opening goal, has a hamstring injury.
Ayew, son of Ghana playing legend Abide Pele, said the support of all Africa as the continent's only team left in the tournament was giving the players strength.
But the team's Serbian coach said: "The whole world is watching these games, and before the game I said everybody loves good football on each continent. So at this point Ghana has the support of all the world, not just the African continent."
Ghana became the third African team after Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002 to reach the quarter-finals of a World Cup, thanks to an extra-time winner from Asamoah Gyan after a Landon Donovan penalty shot in the second half had equalized Boateng's early goal.
Both goals at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg were the first time Ghana had scored in open play at the tournament, with the two previous against Serbia and Australia coming from Gyan penalties.
"It was a very difficult game. I must congratulate the American players and coach - they performed very well in a competitive spirit, and I must congratulate my players," Rajevac said.
"They had difficulties when it was at a draw, but they had the force and the strength to go to the end and win. During extra-time we needed the strength, and we had this strength."
Boateng limped off in the 77th minute, and Ghana officials said the Portsmouth midfielder, who was again impressive, had suffered a hamstring injury.
"He was already injured playing against Germany, and it is going to be a huge problem to get him ready for the next game," Rajevac said. "I don't know how serious the injury is, but we are going to our utmost to have him ready for Uruguay."
Ayew, 20, who was selected as man of the match, though the untiring Gyan, whose goal was his third of the tournament, must have been a contender, said the players "fought for the continent, and we fought for Ghana."
He added: "We were very disappointed there were no other African teams left. We are lucky to be here, and we need to fight not only for ourselves but for the other teams. We feel we have Africa behind us, and that is giving us a lot of energy."
Ayew was unluckily booked late in regular time for a foul on Jozy Altidore, though television replays showed the US striker tripped over his own feet under the midfield's challenge.
Ayew, who plays for Arles in France, said the fact he would be missing for the Uruguay game was not important.
"I wanted to fight for the group. If I miss the next game I will be behind my colleagues. If we continue the way we are, we can achieve something."