World Cup: Ghana exit after Muntari, Boateng expulsions

World Cup: Ghana exit after Muntari, Boateng expulsions
Muntari was sent home after "his unprovoked physical attack on an Executive Committee member of the GFA - AP Photo/Themba Hadebe
RIO DE JANEIRO: Ghana crashed out of the World Cup on Thursday hours after star players Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng were sensationally thrown out of the squad for bust-ups with management.

Ghana's fate was sealed with a 2-1 defeat to Portugal. The team walked stony-faced past journalists after the loss which ended a devastating day for the side who reached the quarter finals in 2010.

The Ghana Football Association said Muntari, 29, attacked a member of the management team while Boateng, 27, verbally abused national team coach Kwesi Appiah.

The suspensions came one day after the Ghana government said it was airlifting $3 million (2.2m euros) to Brazil to resolve a financial dispute with players, who boycotted training earlier this week in protest.

Appiah backed the move to order home Boateng and Muntari, insisting the decision did not cost his side a place in the last 16.

"If you want to build a team and instil discipline it's always important that you set things right so that it doesn't affect the team in the future," he said after the Portugal match.

The Ghana FA said that AC Milan's Muntari was sent home after "his unprovoked physical attack on an Executive Committee member of the GFA and a management member of the Black Stars, Mr. Moses Armah on Tuesday 24th June, 2014 during a meeting."
A similar statement explained the expulsion of Boateng, who plays for German side Schalke 04.

"The decision was taken following Boateng's vulgar verbal insults targeted at coach Kwesi Appiah during the team's training session in Maceio this week," said the statement.

"Boateng has since showed no remorse for his actions which has resulted in the decision."

Both players had their World Cup accreditations withdrawn.

Shouting match

In an interview with German newspaper Sport Bild, Boateng said Appiah had sworn at him during an altercation after the two players were ordered back to the changing room for laughing during a training session.

"I asked him what he has against me, whereupon he began to scream at me. He insulted me too, " said Boateng.

"I absolutely accept that (being sent home) but no-one should believe that I would have insulted the coach, nor to lay blame at my door.

"I'm now leaving and wish my teammates the best possible for the World Cup and the game against Portugal."

The Black Stars have had a tumultuous week.

On Wednesday midfielder Christian Atsu denied the players were threatening to boycott their final Group G game amid wrangling over bonuses.

"We love our country and we will play," said Atsu.

The team ended their protests after Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama personally assured them that he would send a chartered plane with the promised amount, more than $3 million, Atsu said.

Appiah told a pre-match press conference he was relieved the government had intervened.

Appiah, who has been coach since 2012, defended his players' actions, explaining the bonuses should have been paid before the finals.

"The players have to wait to be paid and the country must find the money before they arrive and that is where the problem lies," said Appiah.

Muntari, who was suspended for the Portugal game anyway after picking up two yellow cards at the World Cup, started both Ghana's previous games while Boateng came on as a substitute against the United States before starting against Germany.