He would have made a major difference and without him, Ghana will have a tough time reaching the knockout round in World Cup odds.
World Cup betting lists Ghana as a 65-1 long shot to win it all. They are also listed behind Germany and Serbia in Group D. Suddenly Group D is looking like the weakest group with the key injuries that Germany and Ghana have suffered. Germany is the favorite to win that group with Serbia now the second choice ahead of Ghana and Australia.
The loss of Essien probably can’t be understated. He helped Ghana make the knockout round four years ago. He is their captain and their best player. Ghana will have to find a way to win without him. They open up their World Cup schedule with a match on June 13th against Serbia. Then they play Australia on June 18 and Germany on June 23.
Essien was picked for the preliminary squad but his injury is not going to be healed in time for him to play. He suffered a hamstring injury in a European Champions League match many months ago but he returned for Ghana in the African Nations Cup in January. He injured his knee in training though and is now out until at least July. Ghana is also dealing with an injury to John Mensah. He has been out with a calf injury. Ghana has recalled Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari.
With Ghana unlikely to be much of a threat in World Cup odds, the best chance for Africa looks to be Ivory Coast. They have a new manager in Sven-Goran Eriksson and a lot of talent. They play in a tough group though with Brazil and Portugal. They have a great scorer though in Didier Drogba and his Chelsea teammate Salomon Kalou. Ivory Coast also has Barcelona’s Yaya Toure, Hamburg's Guy Demel and Cheick Tiote of FC Twente. Not to be forgotten are defenders Emmanuel Eboue, Kolo Toure, Abdoulaye Meite and Steve Gohouri. Ivory Coast is considered a darkhorse to win the 2010 World Cup with odds of 23-1.