Updates from Monday, June 30
Kevin-Prince Boateng spoke about his exit from Ghana's 2014 World Cup squad (via Fredrick Gyan-Mante):
The World Cup is over for Ghana stars Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng, who are to be sent home after reportedly causing havoc in the African side's camp, according to Club Metro, CNN and BBC reporter Gary Al-Smith:
Samuel Luckhurst of the Huffington Post provided more details on Muntari's dismissal after he got physical with a member of staff, while BBC News' Dan Roan indicated Boateng was kicked out after disrespecting coach Akwasi Appiah:
Boateng dismissed the claims, per Marcus Christenson of The Guardian:
Such news couldn't come at a worse time for the Black Stars, who face a difficult task to overcome Portugal in Thursday's final set of Group G matches. A win, combined with a loss for the USA against Germany, could see Ghana progress, but that is now looking to be in serious jeopardy.
Many would have labelled Muntari and Boateng the African side's most important players before the World Cup. Coach Appiah has surprisingly used the latter sparingly despite his powerful qualities, indicating something may have been wrong throughout the team's stay.
Boateng played just 31 minutes in the loss to Team USA and was hauled off after 52 minutes during his appearance against Germany, per WhoScored.com. Ghana played with real intensity, tremendous pace and incision after Boateng was sacrificed, scoring a fantastic 2-2 draw against one of the competition's toughest sides.
Amazingly, this perhaps isn't the most ludicrous Ghanaian story of the tournament after reports confirmed "between $1.7 million and $2.3 million" was flown to the squad in unpaid bonuses to avoid a player strike, per The Associated Press (via the New York Post).
Muntari's industry is sure to be missed from the centre of midfield, although Ghana can take heart from the fact he was suspended for the Portugal game anyway.
While an in-form Boateng could have made a difference, his recent performances have been forgettable. He has completed just 70.3 percent of his passes in Brazil and failed to register a tackle, per WhoScored.com, suggesting he wouldn't have started in the side's crucial upcoming fixture.
Still, the squad's ability to overcome the loss of their teammates will be tested to the full, especially as this story breaks just hours before kick-off against the Portuguese. Ghana have the ability to overcome the hapless European side—especially after confidence was built against Germany—but the squad's mental state may now be the biggest obstacle.
Ben Lyttleton of The Guardian thinks the duo's dismissal provides the USA with an advantage:
The loss of Muntari could prove pivotal if Ghana escape their group, but Appiah was already prepared to work without the midfielder for Thursday's game. His squad must harness the experience as inspiration if they are to avoid following their disgraced teammates on the next plane home.