On this day 5 July 2010 (Exactly 9 years ago) Ghana Black Stars, the senior national team, returned home to a rousing welcome at the Kotoka International Airport.
The Stars, who arrived by a South African Airways flight, after participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, were met by a large crowd of fans and supporters, clad in the national colours.
The fans waved miniature Ghana flags, cheered, sung, clapped and danced to music as the Stars disembarked the aircraft.
The Black Stars were also met at the airport by Ministers of State including Lieutenant General Joseph Henry Smith (rtd), Minister of Defence, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Nii Nortey Dua, Members of Parliament and other State dignitaries.
Nii Nortey Dua congratulated the Stars for their excellent performances saying, “You have held aloft the flag of Ghana and Africa. We warmly welcome you back home”.
Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi, President of the Ghana Football Association, who accompanied the Stars, praised government and the people of Ghana for their support and good will for the team throughout the tournament. “We are overwhelmed by this warm welcome. The team’s performance has brought pride to Africa. I thank the President, the Vice President and the entire government for their prayers and support. l thank the players for their efforts and l thank all supports and fans”
Stephen Appiah, captain of the team said “We did our best but we did not have luck on our side. By any means possible we are going to quality for the 2014 world cup in Brazil.
Mr. Alex Segbefia, Deputy Chief of Staff, expressed the gratitude of government and the people of Ghana to the team, saying “you definitely made us pride”.
On this day 5 July 2015 (Exactly 4 years ago) The U.S. women’s national soccer team scored four goals in the first 16 minutes of the FIFA Women’s World Cup final, leading them to a decisive 5-2 win over Japan and a record third Women’s World Cup title.
Carli Lloyd netted three goals in 16 minutes for the fastest hat trick in Women’s World Cup history. She also became the first player to net three goals in a FIFA Women’s World Cup final.
“It’s been amazing,” said Lloyd. “We just wrote history today and brought this World Cup trophy home, which is unbelievable.”
The win helped the U.S. avenge their loss to Japan at the 2011 Women’s World Cup final. In that game, an underdog Japanese side came from behind to win on penalty kicks. But several costly defensive lapses snuffed out any hope of a similar comeback in Vancouver.
A scarcely believable four-goal salvo inside the opening 16 minutes meant there was only ever going to be one winner to the joy of the largely pro-USA 53,341 crowd in Vancouver.
USA were quickest to the ball from the opening whistle and immediately reaped greater rewards than they could ever have imagined. A low driven Megan Rapinoe corner from the right deceived a flat-footed Japan defence and Lloyd finished first time from near the penalty spot to put a perfect flourish to what seemed a training-ground move.
Barely 150 seconds had passed on the stadium clock but, incredibly it was about to get even better for the Stars and Stripes. A low free-kick from Lauren Holiday evaded a swathe of players before the ball found its way, almost magnetically, to Lloyd who applied the finishing touch from close range. USA were 2-0 up inside five minutes and Lloyd had nabbed the two fastest goals in Women’s World Cup Final history.
Japan were looking uncharacteristically shaky at the back and when central defender Azusa Iwashimizu failed to deal with a Tobin Heath delivery, Holiday latched onto the loose ball to volley home. Only fourteen minutes had elapsed but USA already had one hand on the trophy.
Just two minutes later the contest was effectively over as Lloyd completed a 13-minute hat-trick with a goal straight from the realms of fantasy. Collecting the ball inside her own half Lloyd advanced a few steps before unleashing a high shot from the halfway line over the head of Ayumi Kaihori, whose desperate back-peddling only resulted in finger-tipping the ball onto the inside of the post and into the net.
Incredibly Lloyd, playing the match of her life, almost immediately scored another, heading just wide and narrowly failing to become the first person to score four in a World Cup Final of either gender. Then it was the turn of Alex Morgan who made a trademark driving run into the box and although she did not make full connection with her shot Kaihori was still forced into a diving save.
However, Japan grabbed a much-needed goal midway through the opening half thanks to inspired finishing from Yuki Ogimi who ended Hope Solo’s 540-minute unbeaten run by superbly spinning away from marker Julie Johnston and coolly firing home.
The *Nadeshiko *momentarily looked like they would pull another goal back three minutes later and only some fine scrambling defence prevented a clear strike on goal with Aya Miyama’s final shot unable to trouble Solo.
Japan coach Norio Sasaki threw caution to the wind making two substitutes inside 40 minutes. The heroine of the 2011 Final, Homare Sawa, firstly entered the fray soon followed by forward Yuika Sugasawa, in place of central defender Iwashimizu and attacker Nahomi Kawasumi.
Five minutes after the break Morgan Brian forced Kaihori to push a long-rage effort over the crossbar, but it was Japan who managed to reduce the deficit further as Johnston could only get a glancing header on Miyama’s perfectly-flighted free-kick inadvertently directing the ball past Solo into her own net.
Yet USA restored their three-goal margin almost immediately as Heath scored from close range, with Brian providing the assist after Kaihori was unable to deal with a corner.
Striker Morgan then looked to get her name on the scoresheet with her sharp turn and shot ending narrowly wide of the target. While there were to be no further goals amid some end-to-end action, some of the biggest roars of the day were reserved for the late introductions of veterans Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone.
Some Notable Results At Wimbledon On This Day
On this day 5 July 1975 (Exactly 44 years ago) Arthur Ashe became the first African-American to win Wimbledon after beating countryman Jimmy Connors 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4
On this day 5 July 1980 (Exactly 39 years ago) Sweden’s Björn Borg beat John McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6 for his 5th straight Wimbledon crown with famous 22-minute, 34-point, fourth-set tiebreak
On this day 5 July 1986 (Exactly 33 years ago)18 Grand Slam singles titles champion, Martina Navratilova beat Hana Mandlíková 7-6, 6-3 for her 7th Wimbledon singles title
On this day 5 July 1990 (Exactly 29 years ago) Steffi Graf’s record run of 13 consecutive tennis Grand Slam singles finals ended, after she was beaten in Wimbledon semi-finals 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 by American Zina Garrison
On this day 5 July 1929(Exactly 90 years ago) In the first all-American final Helen Wills Moody beat Helen Jacobs 6-1, 6-2
On this day 5 July 1930 (Exactly 89 years ago) Bill Tilden beat fellow American Wilmer Allison 6-3, 9-7, 6-4 for his 3rd and final Wimbledon singles crown
On this day 5 July 1992 (Exactly 27 years ago) American Andre Agassi won his first of 8 Grand Slam singles titles beating Goran Ivanišević of Croatia 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
On this day 5 July 1997 (Exactly 22 years ago) 16 year old Swiss Martina Hingis beat Jana Novotná 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to become the youngest Wimbledon winner in 110 years
On this day 5 July 2003 (Exactly 26 years ago) Serena Williams successfully defended her title beating older sister Venus 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
On this day 5 July 2009 (Exactly 10 years ago) Roger Federer beat Andy Roddick of the US 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14 for a record 15th Grand Slam singles title
On this day 5 July 1968(Exactly 51 years ago) Rod Laver beat Tony Roche 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to earn first ever prize money (£2,000) offered at Wimbledon
On this day 5 July 1969 (Exactly 50 years ago) In an all-Australian final Rod Laver beat John Newcombe 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 for the 3rd leg of his Grand Slam
BY: GEORGE ‘Alan Green’ MAHAMAH
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