“I am very happy and proud to be here and to fulfil the dreams of my family,” commented Athletic Bilbao and Ghana striker Inaki Williams after Thursday’s narrow defeat to Portugal.
Although Williams was incredibly unlucky not to save a point for Ghana after robbing the ball from Portugal keeper Diogo Costa, only to slip as he turned to shoot, the striker helped set up Ghana’s second goal, which led to a nail-biting finish.
Not only that, but his debut in the World Cup came just 24 hours after his younger brother Nico Williams had come on as a second-half substitute for Spain in their 7-0 win over Costa Rica.
The 20-year-old, who also plays for Athletic, didn’t have long to impress, but he had enough time to assist for Carlos Soler to net Spain’s sixth of the game.
That means the Williams brothers have made history, becoming the first full siblings to play for different countries at the FIFA World Cup.
Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng played respectively for Germany and Ghana at the 2010 World Cup, but they have different fathers whereas Inaki and Nico share the same parents, and Inaki tells of how his mother climbed the frontier fence into Spain’s north African enclave of Melilla when she was pregnant with him.
The striker made one appearance for Spain in the warm-up to the 2016 European Championships, but that was in a friendly, which meant he was able to switch allegiance to Ghana after a visit to his parents’ homeland and much soul-searching this summer.
Nico opted to remain with Spain, but Ghana coach Otto Addo said after Thursday’s game that he understood Inaki’s situation in preferring to play for Ghana.
“It is perfectly possible to have two countries in your heart. He has spent his life in Spain, but he also loves the land his parents came from,” Addo said in his post-game press conference. Enditem