Monday, May 12, 2014 6:01 pm
The Black Stars of Ghana and Cameroun’s Indomitable Lions are among a handful of nations that released a list of their respective squads for the 2014 World Cup today.
Veteran midfielder Michael Essien was called up to Ghana’s provisional 26-man squad by coach Kwesi Appiah. Also called up were the Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan, Christian Atsu of English club Chelsea and Juventus midfielder Asamoah Kwadwo.
Schalke 04 forward Kevin-Prince Boateng, whose half-brother Jerome Boateng was named in Germany’s provisional squad, made Ghana’s list as well and could face his half-brother as Germany and Ghana are in the same group at the World Cup. Portugal and USA make up Ghana’s group.
For Cameroun, Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o heads a list of notable players called up to the Lions’ provisional squad, with Alex Song of Barcelona, Nicolas Nkoulou of Olympique Marseille, on-loan QPR player Benoît Assou Ekotto and Sevilla’s Stéphane Mbia also named.
The Camerounians, who became the first African nation to reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup back in 1990, will face host nation Brazil, Croatia and Mexico in Group A.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni meanwhile released a predominantly home-based 23-man squad, which notably includes Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa and AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda.
The Blue Samurais will face Cyprus, Costa Rica and Zambia in warm-up matches before competing in Group C at the World Cup alongside Colombia, Cote D’Ivoire and Greece.
Finally, Russia coach Fabio Capello put out a list of 30 players with Pavel Pogrebnyak of English Championship club Reading a somewhat surprising inclusion to the squad.
On the contrary, former Arsenal midfielder Andrey Arshavin and former Tottenham Hotspur striker Roman Pablyuchenko were left out of the squad, which may spell the end of both players’ involvement with the national team.
Russia have been drawn in Group H with Belgium, 2002 World Cup co-hosts South Korea and former African champions Algeria.