The Ghana National Team seeks to reach the round of 16 for the third time in its history in what is its fourth participation in a World Cup.
The Africans want to match the feat of South Africa 2010, where they reached the quarterfinals and fell to, precisely, Uruguay. The charrúas are the obstacle to overcome to reach the final rounds and a tie would be enough for it.
Spainish website Marca speaks with Alexander Djiku. The Strasbourg defender analyzes what the tournament is going to be like, as well as what he expects from it both within the Black Stars locker room and the rest of the teams .
Q. How are you in the dressing room after the victory against Korea?
R. It is a great relief and a real satisfaction. There is a lot of pride in the dressing room after this victory. It was a difficult victory against a very technical and tough opponent. Mentally we feel strengthened with this great victory.
Q. How do you feel personally?
Very good, how can you not feel good when you play in a World Cup with your country? I have confidence in the future, I firmly believe in our team, we are warriors. The group is recovering well and feels ready to face Uruguay and clinch our place in the round of 16.
Q. What a crazy game in Korea, huh?
R. An incredible duel with suspense until the end. Everyone highlights this match, one of the best since the start of the World Cup. We play these competitions to experience these types of matches. The fans and viewers will also have experienced a great football moment.
Q. A draw is enough against Uruguay, what game are you waiting for?
R. We play all the games to win them. There will be no calculation. We have to give everything for others, for our country, for our fans. I think it will be a game that will opt for talent, but also for mental strength. We will have to be very strong and very precise.
Q. What is the most dangerous thing in Uruguay?
A. Uruguay? Ugh… They have grit, they are cunning, they are crazy in their game and they have experience in big games. And they are very talented, I’m not going to mention them all but what a team. They didn’t do well against Korea and Portugal, but they had chances that ended up on the sticks. They are a great soccer nation, but we have the weapons and the strength to worry them. We are a tight-knit group, that’s Ghana too.
Q. You are going to face Cavani and Luis Suárez, how do you expect it?
R. We are talking about world-class players. They are capable of making a difference at any time. They are the soul of this Uruguay. Even if you think that they are less influential than before, believe me, being in front of these forwards is not easy, you have to be very attentive to them. They can do everything, even stop the ball with their hands (laughs). It already happened in 2010… Jokes aside, it’s an honor to face them. There is no need to be distracted because they are very smart and take advantage of any weakness.
Q. Does the 2010 game still sting?
A. Each game is different. We all remember what happened. Yes, it can be a feeling of revenge for some people, but we must not be mistaken and make it a personal matter. We just have to classify ourselves without getting carried away by our emotions. Let’s keep a cool head and hope all goes well.
Q. How important would it be to qualify for the round of 16 in such a difficult group?
A. Finishing in the top two of such a difficult group would be extraordinary. It would also show that Ghana continues to grow and compete with the best in the world. But internally we are not surprised that we are in the race to qualify for the round of 16, we know our qualities. But the confidence would be even higher if we qualify.
Q. What do you think of the World Cup in Qatar?
R. It is a very well organized World Cup. The conditions are perfect, the infrastructure is great, we are in the best position to work calmly. The weather is perfect, the atmosphere is great. That’s why we don’t want it to end…
Q. How important is the figure of Iñaki Williams in the group?
R. Inaki is important to the team! He brought us his qualities, especially his speed. He is very generous in his efforts and we know that he is a great striker, he showed it with his club
Q. How has it fit in?
R. It was not difficult to integrate him into the group. He is a good person with whom you can easily laugh and have fun. Also, he has already found himself a nickname (laughs). “Kweku” Williams. This is proof that he has integrated very well.
Q. Who do you think is the favorite for the World Cup?
R. I’m not going to be very original but France and Brazil seem very strong. But that doesn’t mean anything, some teams wake up from the round of 16. Of course, Spain is also impressive.
Q. Would you put it among the favorites?
A. Yes, and the victory against Costa Rica and the draw against Germany confirmed what I thought of this team. It is one of the four or five teams with the best chances of going all the way in this World Cup.
Q. What has caught your attention the most about Spain?
R. The ability to create chances, to always project forward and to have a very showy game. It is a great generation and they know how to play ball. I liked the intensity they put in from start to finish, as we saw against Germany, they held their own against an overly motivated Germany. La Roja is an attractive team.