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‘I was always first choice’ – Asamoah Gyan on 2010 WC penalty controversy against Uruguay with Stephen Appiah


Asamoah Gyan’s last-minute penalty miss against Uruguay at the World Cup in 2010 left a lot of memories, mostly bad ones, for Ghanaians.

One of the most enduring images from that game was a photo of Stephen Appiah wagging his finger in a distraught Gyan’s face.

The image has subsequently been interpreted in a number of different ways, particularly as Appiah berating Gyan for not letting him take the crucial penalty instead.

Gyan has finally put that speculation to rest, in an interview on the Breakfast Daily on Citi TV.

Ahead of the launch of his memoirs on April 30, Gyan sheds more light on that painful night for himself and the rest of Ghanaians.

The former Black Stars skipper explained that an arrangement had been made, prior to the quarter-final against the Uruguayans, on who would take the penalties for the Black Stars, should it head to a shoot-out.

Gyan’s name was first on the list, which meant he would take any penalty Ghana got during the game and the first penalty in a shoot-out.

“Before every game, we have the penalty takers, and I was first on the list,” Gyan told host, David Sakyi.

“If Stephen Appiah had taken the ball [after we won the penalty against Uruguay] he’d have given it to me. Even in the first game [of the 2010 World Cup] against Serbia [in the 84th-minute, I was the one who took the penalty. We had an arrangement.”

This account explains why, despite missing the last-minute penalty, Gyan stepped up again in the shoot-out and scored.

Ghana, however, missed a couple of kicks in the shoot-out and missed out on a place in the World Cup semi-final, which would have made them the first African country to do so.

Gyan has previously gone into more detail about what Appiah told him at the time, insisting that he was not being berated, but rather encouraged by the former Juventus player.

“At the time he was motivating me and that was after the penalty. I was very worried going into the post-match penalty shoot-out, but he came and told me that he knows what I can do. I was the best penalty taker and [the miss] was a mistake,” Gyan said.

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