Posted: Sunday 15th June 2014 at 18:42 pm

Mensah: Opening game very crucial

Ghana’s World Cup adventure begins on Monday amid high expectations following exceptional performances in the two previous campaigns.

The Black Stars start in Group G with an American reunion in Natal having twice faced the United States in 2006 and 2010.

Though victorious in both meetings, the level of expectation that greeted the group pairings, which includes Germany and Portugal leaves Ghana, who are behind all their group opponents in the FIFA rankings as the underdogs.

For Jonathan Mensah, who played in the previous campaign in South Africa and featured in the Black Stars’ win over the US, Kwesi Appiah’s team are holed in a tough group.

“Yes, we’re happy to be underdogs,” Mensah told FIFA.com

“We respect that, statistically, the teams in our group are really high-profile, more so than Ghana, and we do respect that. But we’re here and we’re more focused on our game. And we’re here to prove everybody wrong once again.”

Mensah, 23, believes the opener game against the U.S. is very crucial to their campaign.

“It’s going to be like a revenge [match] for the United States, because we beat the United States in 2006 and we beat them in 2010. And once again we’re playing them in the first game. For the first game of the competition, everybody is focused and nervous, so it’s going to make the game very, very interesting.”

With games to come against Germany and Portugal, the opening game for Mensah is always the biggest one.

“I would say the United States, because, as I said earlier, they are out for revenge because we beat them twice,” he said.

“And it’s going to be the first game of the competition, so everybody will be expecting something better from Ghana and from the United States as well. So it’s going to make the game very interesting. It’s a difficult game, but we’ll try as much as possible to win.”

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