Ghana battle Germany to entertaining stalemate

Published Sunday, June 22, 2014 10:24 AM by Patrick Nuss

Group G. The “Group of Death.”  Germany, Ghana, USA and Portugal all battling for the much sought after top two spots and advancement to the knockout rounds.  The most difficult group in the whole tournament, many people saw it as a death wish for the African nation of Ghana, but Ghana itself is seeing differently.  After a hard fought loss against the United States last Monday, they had to rebound against the overwhelming favorites, Germany, in order to have any chance at advancing. But could they snatch a result?

The match between Germany and Ghana was a rematch of the last World Cup in South Africa, where the 2 sides faced off in the group stage, and after a hotly competitive match, saw Germany grab a 1-0 win. In that game, however, there was a battle within the battle, and that was the competition between half-brothers Jerome Boateng (German defender), and Kevin Prince Boateng (Ghanaian attacker). Kevin Prince has always been very vocal about his dislike of Germany, and this year it was no different, as he told the press that Germany, “lacks leaders.” Germany’s response, “We’ll see on the pitch.”
                
The first half of the game was a very even competition, with both sides getting up and down the field, but very few quality chances could be created. Germany seemed to lack the preciseness needed for their final pass, and Ghana struggled to get through the solid German defense. The best chance of the half fell to the Germans in the 30th minute. Goetze received a through ball and was away into the box. Spotting the deadly Muller streaking through the center, he sent in a low cross to meet his teammate. A great play by Ghanaian centerback Boye, however, saw the ball cleared. Good chance, but even better defending.
                
And that was the story of the first half. Both defenses seemed too talented to break down.  The second half, however, was much more entertaining.
      
Six minutes into the half, the Germans found the breakthrough they had been searching for. Muller received the ball on the right flank, and, as Gotze made a darting run between the 2 centerbacks, put in an inch perfect cross that Gotze headed into his knee, and rolled into the back of the net. An ugly finish, but he won’t be complaining! 1-0 to the Germans.
                
After that, the Boateng show was done. Jerome, who had already been subbed off at half time, was accompanied on the bench by Kevin Prince. Kevin Prince failed to make an impact on the game, although I am not sure why Jerome went off, he looked to be very solid back there.
                
It didn’t take long for the Black Stars to find an equalizer, though. It was a goal very similar to the German’s. Afful received the ball on the right side, and after delivering a splendid cross, Andre Ayew out-jumped the sub, Mustafi, to head home a brilliant finish. 1-1.
                
After that, the African side had all the momentum, and looked the favorites to grab another, and that they did! Muntari, who had a very good game, intercepted a sloppy pass in the midfield, and put the ball through the defense on a silver platter for Gyan to run onto and bury past Neuer. 2-1 to Ghana!
                
They almost made it three shortly after, but Jordan Ayew, after a good play down the left, elected to shoot instead of sliding the ball to Gyan, who has wide open in the penalty spot. The shot rolled harmlessly to the near post, where it was gratefully collected by Neuer. Not a good end result, but it was encouraging for Ghana.
               
Just like that, though, the Germans responded. Gotze was replaced by Miroslav Klose, who would be looking for his record-tying 15th goal in the World Cup, and Khedira was replaced by Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is more capable of getting forward into the attack.
                
And it didn’t take long. Seconds after coming on, Klose got on the end of a corner kick that was flicked on by Howedes (that was probably going in), and tapped home for an easy finish with his first touch of the game! 2-2! And perhaps even more impressively, Klose tied the legendary (Brazilian) Ronaldo for the most World Cup goals of all time at 15 a piece!
                
After that, Germany looked the favorites, as Ozil, who is often criticized for his defending, or lack thereof, got in several promising balls across the box and through the defense, but no one could get there before a Ghanaian defender. Muller got the chance at a 1 v 1 against the keeper, but a last ditch effort from left back, Asamoah, denied the shot and kept the match deadlocked. Moments later, Ghana cleared a corner to go on a 5 on 2 break, but laziness and a poor timing resulted in Wakaso receiving the ball offside, an absolute waste, but nonetheless entertaining. It was end to end stuff!
                
The dying moments had a very significant event for Ghana. Muntari, key midfielder, committed a foul just outside the 18, giving the Germans a chance to show off their aerial prowess. It was Muntari’s second yellow in as many games, suspending him for their next match against Portugal (a very dumb rule if you ask me). The free kick was easily cleared by Ghana, but Muller will be feeling it tomorrow, as he collided with Boye, and split his head open. Then the ref blew his whistle, and that was it… Great stuff.
                
This result is encouraging for Ghana, who showed that they have the talent to compete with the best in the world, and will have loads of confidence going into their final group match against Portugal. It will also give Germany a reality check, who looked untouchable after throttling Portugal in their first game. As well as that, the US of A is actually in a prime position to take the group! If they beat Portugal, they clinch advancement before the game against Germany. If we can get a result out of both, then the US will have a very favorable table going forward.