Ghana Vrs Germany...Stars In Battle For Survival

A totally different scenario confounds the Black Stars as they meet the German ‘machines’ in tonight’s World Cup second group match at Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza. Four years ago when the two teams met in South Africa, it was their last match in the group with Ghana having already beaten Serbia 1-0 and drawn 1-1 with Australia. Therefore, when man-of-the-match Mezut Ozil's 59th minute goal gave Germany a 1-0 win, in the game watched by over 83,000 at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, Ghana still qualified for the next round along with Germany, who had also earlier routed Australia 4-0 in their opening match and lost 1-0 to Serbia in the second. Could there be a déjà vu in Brazil tonight for the Germans to lose their second match after opening their World Cup account in similar fashion with a 4-0 screamer against Portugal last Monday? However, while the Germans come into tonight's match with some form of stability and experience in depth, the Ghanaians enter against the backdrop of what skipper Asamoah Gyan alluded to before the loss to the USA: "We have an entirely different team with a different coach." It was based on this kind of observation that the Stars captain had admitted their game would be difficult against the USA. But could it be any less difficult against Germany, who have maintained consistency and acquired more experience in depth? Check it! The Germans will parade virtually the same team that beat the Ghanaians in South Africa four years ago with the same coach, Joachim Loew, on the bench. The players include goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Philip Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira, Per Mertesacker, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mezut Oezil, Toni Kroos, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Mueller. Except for the inclusion of Benedikt Hoewedes and Mats Hummels (both in defence), forward Mario Goetze, as well as substitutes Andre Schuerrle and Shkodran Mustafi, it was virtually the same team that tore Portugal to shreds (4-0) last Monday. And in Fortaleza tonight all that they hope for, in the words of skipper Lahm, is that they "take the same team work, team spirit and confidence displayed against Portugal into the match against Ghana". But another interesting twist to the whole scenario is the issue of a Brazilian referee in charge. Incidentally, in their clash in South Africa, a Brazilian referee, Carlos Simon, handled proceedings. And tonight's will be no different as another Brazilian knight of the whistle, Sandro Ricci, will be at the centre.