The eyes of the African continent will be focused on Ghana as their only representative with a realistic chance of making it to the second round. After some good displays in their win and draw thus far, facing the experienced Germans in their final game is a tall order, but not one that is beyond them.
Having coped admirably with the loss of Michael Essien before the tournament, Ghana have impressed more than any other African side with their style of football and won’t be expected to lie down as Germany look to rebuild their form after a crushing defeat to Serbia.
In fact, the Germans are under a great deal of pressure as a point will not be enough to secure their progress if, as expected, Serbia beat Australia. And they must manage without Miroslav Klose, who was sent off for a second yellow card against the Serbs as well. Coach Joachim Low has targeted the Africans’ fitness and stamina as something to watch out for and revealed that ”fitness is written with a capital ‘F’ in the Germany squad” so he remains confident of progress.
Ghana player to watch: Kevin-Prince Boateng. The focal point of Germany’s anger before the World Cup as he injured Michael Ballack in the FA Cup final – thus ruling the Chelsea midfielder out of the tournament – Boateng actually spurned Germany’s advances and chose to play for Ghana before the tournament as well. You couldn’t write such a story but, amidst some loud booing from the German fans, he will surely have an impact on the match.
Germany player to watch: Bastian Schweinsteiger. If the Germans are to make it through the group, the Bayern man will have to show a lot more than he did against Serbia. Often caught up in a heated discussion, Schweinsteiger’s head has to keep cool against a physical Ghanaian side, but he has shown in the past that he has the experience and skill to rise to the big occasion.
Key Battle: Asamoah Gyan v Per Mertesacker. Gyan has netted 50% of Ghana’s goals in the World Cup so far (three out of six) and uses his pace and strength up front to cause problems for defenders. One of the star performers at this tournament, his nerve from the penalty spot has been tested already and he has shown no fear in his attacking forays; but he comes up against a 6′ 5” defender that won’t shirk a physical challenge. Mertesacker oozes class on the ball and has the positional sense to make vital interceptions with his giant frame. He will have to cover if Ghana choose to attack the right side of defence (and 5′ 7” Philipp Lahm) from the air.
Trivia: Germany have won their final group matches in the last four World Cup tournaments, without conceding a single goal in the last three and, before Serbia, had not lost a group game in 24 years. In the preliminary stages of the 1986 World Cup they were beaten 2-0 by Denmark.
Stats: Germany have won all of their last 11 games against a non-European or South American side at the World Cup finals, keeping a clean sheet in five of the last six of these; while the last three goals scored by Ghana in the World Cup have all come from the penalty spot.
Odds: Ghana (6.00), Germany (1.53) and a draw (4.20) are all available at Bet 365, but Asamoah Gyan to score first and Germany to win 2-1 gets you 81.00
Prediction: Ghana have the passion, the support and a burning desire to make an impact on their own continent, but Germany are ruthless and experienced in this situation and it would be a shock if they didn’t progress.
soccernet wrote this… a must watch game no matter how late this will be. the germans must win this! viel Glück!