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The midfielder believes the inclusion of the former Chelsea star gives his nation an added quality in the middle of the park

Schalke midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng believes Ghana's World Cup 2014 hopes have been boosted by the return of Michael Essien.

The Black Stars face Portugal, USA and Germany in Group G, but following the selection of the AC Milan star, Boateng is quietly confident of causing a surprise.

“Every group is a group of death. We have two very, very strong opponents. But you also mustn't underestimate the USA. But that's why you are qualifying, to be able to mess with the best. It is nice that this already starts in the group. I am looking forward to it,” the 27-year-old told Goal Germany’s Hassan Talib.

“It is very important that Essien is back. He was a key player we lost. That way our midfield will get much stronger, I believe. Thus, we also have a chance to win against the Germans. Already at the last World Cup, we were one of the few teams that caused problems for Germany.”

Boateng added: “We are even stronger than 2010. We have more experience and it is very important that Essien is back, that gives us a real boost. Is the semi-final the goal? I don't know. I don't want to set any goals. I don't want to say I want to reach the semi-finals or like our president said: 'Becoming world champions.'

“If we play disciplined and concentrated game we have the chance to be better than 2010. There are a lot of factors. We need to win the first group match against the USA. You can only do that with discipline. And that's what we need.”

The former Milan star was full of praise for coach Appiah, adding that his philosophy works well for the national team, despite his relative lack of experience.

“Coach Kwesi Appiah has a totally different approach to the team. He was born in Ghana, speaks the language. He likes having a few older players around that help him a bit. He is a young coach, didn't coach many teams yet. And I believe this synergy in the national squad is very good.

“We have to become world champions (is what people in Ghana think)! That is very clear, they want us to become world champions. The whole continent awaits that time that an African team will win this title. These are the hopes in Ghana. Everyone is praying for this and then let's see how far we will go. You want to make the country happy but it's not that easy to become world champions.”

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