Brasilia: That 11 players from Ghana stepped out onto the field at the appointed time Thursday seemed victory enough. Earlier in the day, after a week of infighting and threats of boycotts, the Ghana Football Association suspended two of its star players heading into its critical match against Portugal.
The decision of the governing body of Ghanaian soccer was a victory for coach James Kwesi Appiah, who had battled star player Kevin-Prince Boateng in training and then requested his dismissal. But on the field Appiah and Ghana lost, 2-1, to Portugal on Thursday, and its 2014 World Cup ended in shambles, despite a noble effort at the end.
That Portugal's first goal was scored off the knee of Ghana defender John Boye only underscored Ghana's self-destruction. Still, it played with spirit and attacking flair in its final game to help make for a compelling 90 minutes of simultaneous soccer in two Brazilian cities.