This time around, I couldn’t have got any closer to the action, sitting in the front row at the away end with my sister, some friends and oh, just a few thousand excited Black Star supporters.
The match was refereed by Mike Dean and the atmosphere around Craven Cottage was lively from kick off. On the pitch, Ghana’s energetic start in the opening minutes seemed to unnerve the opposition, creating several promising opportunities that tested the Brazilian defence. Their enthusiasm was matched by the crowd, with chants of “Away! Away!” and attempts to start a Mexican wave, despite the weather taking a turn for the worst.
The Brazilian players had been flailing like fish out of water and mimicking crocodile death rolls, as though they had graduated from the Joey Barton School of Diving.
Minutes later, just before half time, Brazil scored and this time the offside flag remained down. The Brazilian fans went wild and at the away end there was silence.
As the players returned, we got a better look at Ghana’s goalkeeper for the evening, Adam Kwaresey. I had assumed Richard Kingson had been at the other end and was a bit confused to see this unfamiliar face walking towards the goal. However, he put in an impressive performance.
appealed to a man carrying water bottles to consider him for substitution. At one stage he was calling to the referee, with his comrades rolling their hands to symbolise a substitution, while he did very energetic frog leaps!
And then, acknowledging his incorrect kit choice, he reappeared later wearing the white kit, professing his readiness to go on for his country. The Ghana supporters appreciated his 'never say die' enthusiasm and cheered for his substitution! Notice the steward's facial expression- he wants to laugh, but he controls himself!
mischievous-looking little Irish man on the pitch, until she pointed towards the guy behind me and I burst into fits of laughter! This is who she described as the leprechaun.
A sure highlight of the game was Ronaldinho’s epic failure to kick the ball from a corner. His miss-kick sent the ball skidding out for a goal kick, and provoked calls of “lazy boy” from Ghanaian fans! His broad smile either showed he had taken the teasing in good humour, or his mouth naturally falls like this due to his lack of orthodontic intervention? #nomaliciousintent
nil. With the players trading shirts after the final whistle, a wave of cheers erupted from the crowd; a Ghanaian fan had made it onto the pitch!
The lone pitch invader made a frenzied dash from near the exit tunnel. With the speed of Usain Bolt and the grace of a gazelle, he dazzled the crowd with his skilful bobbing and weaving passed pitifully cumbersome stewards who struggled to keep up. Each time he vaulted a steward, the crowd cheered louder and it looked like he was aiming to do a lap of the pitch until he headed back across to where he had come and unfortunately tripped and fell, before being dived upon, pinned down and arrested by a gang in hi-vis jackets. Poor guy!
To my disappointment, on TV, they do all they can to avoid showing pitch invaders, but this isn’t TV so I will not deny this man his 10 seconds of fame!
As with their match at Wembley jubilant celebrations seem to be a compulsory post-match affair for Ghanaian fans, win, lose or draw.