Even Germany are not free of the curse of the World Cup super power, or so it seems.
With Spain, England and Italy already licking their wounds after disappointing tournaments here in Brazil, Germany had seemed set for a stroll in to the last sixteen after their dismantling of Portugal in their opening game.
However, the 2010 semi-finalists survived an almighty scare against Ghana last night as they came from behind in a sensational second half to grab a vital point.
Having dominated much of the first half, Germany looked as though they would ease to victory when Mario Gotze headed them in to the lead from a Thomas Muller cross in the 51st minute.
However two goals in quick succession from Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan set the favourites back on their heels and in a rousing finish it took World Cup veteran Miroslav Klose – on as a substitute – to save them with his very first touch with 20 minutes left.
The fifteenth World Cup goal of his career, Klose now needs one more to become the competition’s all-time leading scorer. He currently shares the record with Brazilian legend Ronaldo but last night’s goal was perhaps more important to Germany than it is even to him.
While some of the world’s heavywights have struggled to impose themselves on this World Cup, Germany did seem to have fitted seamlessly in to life in Brazil.
Their opening win over Portugal was certainly aided by a dreadful performance from their opposition but nevertheless Joachim Loew’s team do look as they have arrived in South America primed for business.
In the first half in Fortaleza tonight, they were certainly the better team. How they didn’t have the lead at the interval perhaps even they didn’t know.
Fielding the same team that beat Portugal, Germany’s midfield was in imperious form during the first half early on with Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil finally finding his way in to the tournament with some astute passing. Indeed the former Real Madrid midfielder was involved in much of what Germany did well tonight.
Ghana were not without ambition and they created some chances, too. The African team did, however, spend an awful lot of time without the ball.
Theirs was the first chance as it happened as Asamoah Gyan volleyed a cross from the dangerous Christian Atsu narrowly off target. Soon after it was Atsu who worried Manuel Neuer in the German goal with a shot from distance but from that point on Germany were the dominant force.
At times the understanding in the German midfield seemed almost intuitive and they also scored a super goal in the eleventh minute as a Thomas Muller back heel gave Toni Kroos the chance to shot. The ball may have found the corner, too, had it not struck a defender’s shin.
Kroos and Ozil were combining very well as the half progressed and the two of them created an opening for Sami Khedira in the 18th minute only for the goalkeeper to save. Ozil then crossed low from the right for Mueller who was denied by a tackle from John Boye.
Momentum was certainly building for Germany but for a while they couldn’t break through. Kroos shot over from distance and then Ozil chipped a pass through for Goetze, whose volley found the goalkeeper’s midriff.
Goetze was eventually to score the opening goal but he had to wait until the 51st minute to do it. A cross from deep on the right found the Bayern Munich player squeezing in between defenders and his header ended up in the net off his own right knee.
In the lead at last, Germany looked set to consolidate as they often too. It didn’t happen, though, and three minutes later Ghana caught them cold with an equaliser.
Again the cross came from the right and it was Andre Ayew who climbed above the static Shkodran Mustafi to head powerfully to Neuer’s right and in to the corner.
For Germany to concede one goal was careless but for them to concede again a few minutes later was criminal. This time they were architects of their own downfall as they gave the ball away in midfield and watched Gyan race away and score powerfully with his right foot.
With the game turned completely on its head, Germany all of a sudden looked a different team as Ghana poured forward. Leading the line as usual was the irrepressible Gyan and he flew down the left in the 66th minute to thump a low shot into Neuer’s midriff from an angle.
Realising that something needed to change, Loew immediately made substitutions and one of them paid off immediately. Klose never did get his dream move to the Premier League but his international record is phenomenal and he stabbed in a corner with what appeared to be his first touch of the game after Bendikt Howedes flicked the ball on with a prodigious leap at the near post.
Germany’s other recent substitute Sebastien Schweinsteiger was next to threaten as he headed over from another corner. At this stage it was impossible to tell who would go on to win.
Perhaps inevitably, it was Germany who had the best chance but Muller was denied by a superb covering tackle from Kwadwo Asamoah after being played through ny Kroos with seven minutes left and then Ozil chose to cross rather than shoot when presented with a chance down the left two minutes later.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|