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Goal.com digs through the archives to bring to light the good and bad moments that preceded the striker’s decision to quit international football

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By Kent Mensah

Asamoah Gyan’s sudden decision to quit international football a fortnight after the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations took many Ghana fans by surprise.

The 26-year-old has been a big topic of conversation amongst supporters for all the wrong reasons. The Al Ain cult hero wasted a penalty opportunity during the semi-final against Zambia, which the Black Stars lost, reminding many of another miss during the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals which aggravated the wrath of Ghanaians.

The happy-go-lucky player has on several occasions risen to the challenge of saving the Black Stars from humiliation, but at the same time he has provided a few disappointing moments for the four-time African champions over the last four years.

Goal.com takes a look at five of those milestones that stood out in Gyan's contribution to the national team, whether in a positive or negative way.

5. 2008 AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS

Ghana hosted the tournament dubbed ‘Host and Win’ – a phrase that caught up well in the media and among the local fans. Ghanaians were sure that their heroes were heading to the final to claim the trophy for a fifth time. They banked their hopes on ‘Baby Jet’, who led the attacking unit of the team.

However, it was not Gyan’s tournament judging from the glaring chances that went begging. The backlash he received game after game almost saw the player and his older brother Baffour Gyan leave the team’s hotel, but officials stepped in to save the situation.

4. GHANA vs ENGLAND (International Friendly)

The Black Stars and the Three Lions had never met at senior level prior to a 2011 international friendly at Wembley. England took the lead in an entertaining game, but a brave individual performance by Gyan saw his country leave with a draw following his memorable goal in the dying minutes.

The player was hailed for putting in such a gallant performance and it led to a brawl over his jersey in the stands that was eventually settled when a fan agreed to part with a few pounds to own it.

3. GHANA vs CZECH REPUBLIC (World Cup 2006)

The west African nation qualified for their first ever World Cup finals in 2006 in Germany. Stakes were high and Ghana had paraded a squad believed to be one of the finest ever in the history of the Black Stars.

The highly-rated Czechs were heavily touted as favourites over the debutants with their experience and pedigree, but it took the young Gyan to deflate that ego and boost the confidence level of the minnows. The forward came from nowhere to score Ghana’s first ever goal at the World Cup finals, and the fastest of that tournament, to help his side to progress from the group stages.

2. GHANA vs ZAMBIA (2012 Afcon semi-finals)

This is the freshest incident in the minds of Ghanaians. After missing a penalty during the World Cup in South Africa that saw them crash out of the tournament, Gyan once again pierced the hearts of his distraught countrymen.

He could have put the Black Stars in the lead against Zambia in the semi-finals of the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. But he missed his spot-kick and it was Zambia who progressed to the finals. Ghana then went on to lose the third/fourth play-off.

1. GHANA vs URUGUAY (2010 World Cup quarter-finals)

The striker admitted that he has not yet recovered from this sad incident in South Africa. He came close to putting Ghana in front in the dying minutes of the match to break Africa’s quarter-final record in World Cup history and become the first side from the continent to reach the semi-finals, but he was denied by Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan was given his marching orders and Ghana awarded a penalty, but Gyan failed to convert the spot-kick.

The west Africans were on the verge of history making, but once again Gyan broke countless hearts as the Black Stars were the only African side left in the tournament.

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