Essien has been out with a knee injury since the Africa Cup of Nations [Reuters]

Ghana have gambled on the fitness of Sunderland defender John Mensah and included the centre back in their final 23-man squad for the World Cup.

Coach Milovan Rajevac has named Mesnah for the tournament starting on June 11 in South Africa despite a run of injuries over the last year and concern over a ligament strain suffered towards the end of the English Premier League season.

Ghana, who suffered a major blow last week when Michael Essien was ruled out of the finals because of injury, also included Portsmouth's German-born midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng in the squad.

Boateng – whose tackle in the FA Cup final ruled Germany captain Michael Ballack out of the finals – recently received Fifa permission to switch his nationality after previously winning caps at under-21 level for Germany.

The only other uncapped player in the squad is reserve goalkeeper Stephen Ahorlu.

Goalkeepers:

Daniel Agyei (Liberty Professional), Stephen Aholu (Heart of Lions), Richard Kingson (Wigan Athletic).

Group D fixtures

Sunday June 13

 Germany v Australia 
 Serbia v Ghana 

Friday June 18

 
Germany v Serbia 

Saturday June 19

 
Ghana v Australia 

Wednesday June 23

 
Ghana v Germany 
 Australia v Serbia 

Defenders:

Lee Addy (Bechem Chelsea), Rahim Ayew (Zamalek), Samuel Inkoom (FC Basle), John Mensah (Sunderland), Jonathan Mensah (Udinese), John Paintsil (Fulham), Hans Sarpei (Bayer Leverkusen), Isaac Vorsah (Hoffenheim).

Midfielders:

Anthony Annan (Rosenborg), Stephen Appiah (Bologna), Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese), Dede Ayew (Arles Avignon), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Portsmouth), Sulley Muntari (Inter Milan), Quincy Owusu Abeyie (Al Sadd).

Strikers:

Dominic Adiyiah (AC Milan), Matthew Amoah (NAC Breda), Derek Boateng (Getafe), Asamoah Gyan (Rennes), Prince Tagoe (Hoffenheim).

Source: Agencies