Mar 28, 2011

Ghana's Gyan puts penalty demons behind him

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Asamoah Gyan is hoping he gets another chance of World Cup glory after finding himself at the centre of Ghana's heart-breaking exit last summer.

The 25-year-old Sunderland striker will run out against England at Wembley tomorrow night admitting his mind sometimes goes back to his last-gasp quarter-final penalty miss against Uruguay and the semi-final place it ultimately cost his country. However, he knows he is in good company and is confident he is young enough to be able to make amends in the future.

Gyan said: "Sometimes I do sit down and think about it because it would have been the first time an African team had qualified for the semi-finals, and it didn't happen due to that incident.

"But we have got more years, I am so young. Sometimes, I do think about it - maybe at the next World Cup, we can do something more. The penalty is forgotten. I just said to myself, there are bigger players than me who have missed that kind of penalty - Roberto Baggio, [Michel] Platini, Maradona. I will just put that behind me and concentrate on my career because if I keep on thinking about it, it is going to disturb me.''

If nothing else, Ghana's performances in South Africa marked them out as a team to be reckoned with, and they are determined to continue that process when they meet England for the first time. Gyan, who has enhanced his own reputation with his performances in the Premier League since making a ?13million-plus summer switch to Wearside from Rennes, admits playing at Wembley will be like taking part in the World Cup finals all over again.

He said: "We did so well at the World Cup. Before, people didn't know Ghana and we have proved to everyone by what we did at the World Cup that we are capable of doing something big. That's what we demonstrated at the World Cup and there will be much respect for us because we did very well. In football, anything can happen, so we will just go there and make sure we play our normal game against England. We promise we are going to give them a good match and we will see what happens.

"Everybody is expecting something positive. It is like a World Cup to Ghanaians because they have been looking forward to this game for a long time. We did so well in the World Cup and they would like to see more. But we are not playing an easy side, so it's a challenge to us. We have to demonstrate to them that what we did at the World Cup wasn't luck, we knew what we were doing. We have to prove to everyone what we are capable of.''

Gyan would like nothing better than to find the back of the net against England having enjoyed a good deal of banter with his English club-mates.

He said with a smile: "I am not going to predict - but even if I don't score and my country wins, I will be okay.''



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