On this day, 30 June 2006 (Exactly 13 years ago), The senior national team of Ghana, the Black Stars, arrived from Germany, after participating in the 2006 Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) World Cup.
The Stars, who put up an impressive performance at the event, were knocked at the round 16 stage after a 3-0 loss to Brazil .
They were met on their arrival by the then vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, together with other Ministers of State and officials of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and the National Sports Council (NSC).
Among the Ministers of State were Mr. Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Information and National Orientation and his deputy Mr Oboshie Sai Coffie.
The team was taken through a brief welcome ceremony, at the VIP Lounge, where the Vice President congratulated them for lifting the flag of Ghana high at the competition.
Other officials present were members of the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) including Mr Albin Bagbin, Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Enoch Teye Mensah former Minster of Youth and Sports and Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram Constituency.
There was also a huge and expectant crowd which gathered in front of the arrival lounge to catch a glimpse of the gallant Stars.
Fred Pappoe, the Vice President of the GFA, told the reporters that, they were overwhelmed by the reception on their arrival, adding that it was beyond their expectation.
He said the reception was an indication that the entire nation appreciated the performance exhibited at the competition.
Pappoe added that the level of reception would motivate the team to put up a much improved performance at future events, hence the need to embark on proper planning to achieve more laurels. He said the FA would soon sit to discuss plans for preparations for future events.
The Stars made a surprise entry into the knock out stages of the competition when they beat highly rated Czech Republic and the United States of America (USA) in Group E.
They however fell by 3-0 to defending champions Brazil in the round 16 stage of the competition.
On this day 30 June 2002 (Exactly 17 years ago) Ronaldo scored twice as Brazil beat Germany 2-0 to win record 5th FIFA World Cup title, first World Cup held in Asia.
How Brazil Won The 2002 WORLD CUP
Ronaldo was a terrified man on 14 November 2001. That was when Brazil went into the final round of South American Zone qualifiers for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan tournament as one of four teams fighting for two tickets to the Far East.
The 25-year-old striker, who was suffering from another career-threatening knee injury and had already been told that, should A Seleção qualify, he would be unable to participate in the tournament, was powerless to prevent his country losing its proud, unique record of having appeared at every edition of sport’s showpiece event.
Fortunately for Brazil, a Luizao double propelled them to a 3-0 win over Venezuela, and other results went their way. Fortunately for Ronaldo, he made an extraordinary recovery and, despite having barely kicked a ball for two-and-a-half years, was included in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s squad for 17th edition of the FIFA World Cup.
The general feeling was, nevertheless, that Brazil wouldn’t be able to legitimately challenge the likes of defending champions France, a star-studded Argentina and a formidable Italy team for the Trophy.
The overwhelming consensus was that Ronaldo would struggle to make an impact.
The team in the canary-yellow shirts and the man in their No. 9 were unperturbed by those hypotheses.
Indeed, Ronaldo hit four goals in three games as Brazil beat Turkey 2-1, China PR 4-0 and Costa Rica 5-2 to advance as Group C winners, and he was on target again as they overcame Belgium 2-0 in the Round of 16.
Heavily marked by England in the last eight, Ronaldo didn’t make the score-sheet as Brazil won 2-1, but he was the solitary marksman as the Turks were eliminated in the semis.
And so, ten years ago to this Saturday, Brazil lined up against Germany in the Final.
Rudi Voller’s men dominated possession for the first hour, but the deadlock remained intact. On 67 minutes, Ronaldo tripped over under the challenge of two opponents down the left. Instantly, he sprang to his feet to chase what seemed a lost cause. It wasn’t.
The Rio de Janeiro native sprinted in behind Dietmar Hamman and muscled him off the ball, before cleverly flicking it to Rivaldo, whose 25-yard drive was parried by Oliver Kahn.
Ronaldo had been level with two German defenders, and four yards behind Carsten Ramelow, when Rivaldo shot, but he was easily first to the loose ball, which he slid home to put Brazil ahead.
Die Nationalelf *looked to respond, but 12 minutes from time their hopes were ended. Kleberson broke down the right and cut the ball inside for Rivaldo, whose dummy let the ball fall into the path of Ronaldo. *O Fenômeno controlled it to perfection, before curling a low shot beyond the fingertips of the diving Kahn and just inside his post from just inside the box.
“They said I shouldn’t take him [to Korea/Japan 2002], that there was no chance he would be match-fit and find his form,” reflected Scolari. “But Ronaldo could score goals with his eyes closed.
He produced an extraordinary World Cup, and he was decisive when it mattered most as the pressure increased in the Final.”
Mario Zagallo added: “They’d written Ronaldo off, said he wouldn’t play again. But he proved them wrong in the most exceptional fashion. I was fortunate to play alongside Pele in ’58 and coach him in ’70, and play alongside Garrincha in ’62.
But Ronaldo’s performance in 2002 was right up there with the very best individual World Cups in history
On this day, 30 June 2013 (Exactly 6 years ago), an incredible Maracana atmosphere spurred Brazil to their third consecutive FIFA Confederations Cup, with a brilliant 3-0 win against then FIFA World Cup tournament holders Spain.
Fred grabbed a brace and Neymar scored yet another brilliant goal.
Sergio Ramos missed a penalty with his side three down and Gerard Pique then saw red with around 20 minutes remaining.
The atmosphere was remarkable before kick-off, with the Brazilian national anthem sung passionately by *A Seleção’s *faithful, and the stadium erupted in the second minute. Hulk received the ball on the Brazil right and curled a ball into the Spain six-yard box. Neymar tried to control but the ball dropped just in front of Fred, who had fallen to the floor.
He scooped his right foot under the ball and sent a shot past Iker Casillas. The hordes of yellow-shirted fans created an incredible roar and Spain were stunned
Brazil harried and chased Spain all over the pitch, with the crowd pushing them on. Oscar shot wide of Casillas’ right-hand post and Fred squandered a golden opportunity when he was set free by Neymar.
Jordi Alba then broke down the Spain left and sent Pedro one-on-one with Julio Cesar.
The *Barça *winger curled a left-footed effort past the Queens Park Rangers’ keeper, but David Luiz sprinted back to remarkably clear off the line with the Spanish bench already celebrating.
The crowd celebrated the block as loudly as the Fred opener, but it was to Brazil’s No10 who would raise the volume still further.
Doing well to keep onside, Neymar received an Oscar pass to the left of the Spain area. He steadied himself, before rifling a powerful left-footed drive past Casillas into the roof of the net.
The tournament’s poster-boy sprinted to the sea of yellow and the crowd welcomed him with open arms
Brazil were not finished there. Within three minutes of the restart, Fred received the ball on the left of the Spanish area and curled a shot past Casillas.
The No. 9 celebrated with his teammates as the crowd created yet another incredible roar.
Spain were then given a lifeline when Marcelo took Jesus Navas down in the Brazil penalty area.
Sergio Ramos stepped up and hit his spot kick low and hard to Julio Cesar’s right. The ball hit the post on its way out of play and the keeper jumped to his feet to celebrate.
Gerard Pique saw red with just over 20 minutes left after scything down his new Barcelona team-mate Neymar as he sprinted towards goal.
Brazil saw the remainder of the game out to lift the trophy and end Spain’s world record run of 29 unbeaten games in competitive matches.
On this day 30 June 2018 (Exactly a year ago) Kylian Mbappé (19) became only 2nd teenager (Pelé 1st 1958) to score twice in a world cup match as France eliminate Argentina 4-3 in Kazan.
Kylian Mbappe announced himself on football’s biggest stage with two fine goals that gave France victory in a classic World Cup encounter with Argentina, and a place in the quarter-finals.
Though much of the focus before the game was on Argentina superstar Lionel Messi, it was Mbappe who produced a brilliant performance that will linger long in the memory.
Mbappe’s second-half double turned the game decisively in France’s favour, and inflicted more pain on Argentina in what may be their final chance to win the World Cup during Messi’s prime
In doing so, the 19-year-old became the first teenager to score two in a World Cup match since Pele netted twice for Brazil against Sweden in the 1958 final.
On this day 30 June 1996 (Exactly 23 years ago) Germany beat Czech Republic 2-1 at the Wembley Stadium to win their third European Cup, with Oliver Bierhoff scoring the golden goal in the 95th minute.
Bierhoff had earlier equalised in the 73rd minute after Patrik Berger scored a penalty for the Czech Republic on 59 minutes after Karel Poborský had been tripped
On this day 30 June 1975 (Exactly 44 years ago) Muhammad Ali retained his world heavyweight boxing crown by beating Englishman Joe Bugner by unanimous points decision in a re-match in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
STORY: GEORGE MAHAMAH