Recap: Germany vs. Ghana
06/21/2014 6:18 PM
06/21/2014 6:18 PM
Fortaleza, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - Ghana and Germany shared the spoils at Estadio Castelao on Saturday by playing to an enthralling 2-2 draw.
A scoreless opening period gave way to an entertaining second half as Mario Gotze opened the scoring for the Germans in the 51st minute.
Ghana leveled the score three minutes later through Andre Ayew and battled back to gain the lead through Asamoah Gyan's 63rd-minute strike, but Miroslav Klose struck in the 71st minute to help Germany salvage a point.
The result keeps Group G wide open as all four teams have a realistic chance of advancing to the knockout round.
Germany remains atop the group on four points and is trailed by the United States on three points, Ghana on one point and Portugal on zero points. The Americans, however, can book a spot in the next round with a victory over Portugal at the Arena Amazonia on Sunday.
"It was difficult for everyone out there and the players are exhausted," Germany coach Joachim Low said. "It was a very tactical game in the first half, but after the break it was much more cut and thrust. We wanted to avoid it becoming too open a match in these temperatures. After going in front we wanted to stay compact, but then they scored two goals out of the blue. The side reacted well to that though. We wanted to force them higher up the pitch but they played well and always got back behind the ball very quickly. After regaining possession we weren't purposeful enough going forward at times and that prevented us getting behind their defence.
"I think (Bastian) Schweinsteiger and Klose breathed new life into the game; (Sami) Khedira and Gotze were on their last legs. It was great that Miro got the goal. At this tournament you can't expect to attack all the time in every game. A solid defense is the foundation in these temperatures so as not to leave yourself too exposed. Now we'll have to wait and see what happens between Portugal and USA tomorrow. Things haven't changed too much from our point of view, but of course we want to stay top of the standings."
Ghana produced some of the better moments of the opening period in Saturday's affair, the first of which came in the 13th minute when Christian Atsu fired a shot on goal that was pushed aside by Manuel Neuer.
Germany's best chance came at the half-hour mark when Gotze slid a pass to the near post for a streaking Thomas Muller, but the Ghanaian defense managed to turn the ball out for a corner.
Two minutes later, Ghana tested Neuer with another long-range attempt as Sulley Muntari uncorked a powerful effort from distance, but the Bayern Munich 'keeper was equal to the task, parrying the shot to his right to escape the danger.
The Germans regrouped at halftime and wasted little time in breaking the deadlock upon their return to the pitch as Gotze notched the opener in the 51st minute. The 22-year-old got on the end of Muller's cross and nodded the delivery off his own knee and into the back of the net.
But the lead was short-lived as Ghana leveled the score three minutes later. Andre Ayew again did the honors, following up his equalizer against the United States on Monday by heading home Harrison Afful's free kick in the 54th minute.
Ghana grabbed the go-ahead goal nine minutes later when Gyan latched on to Muntari's through ball and slotted a shot just past the outstretched arm of Neuer, becoming the first African player to score at three World Cup tournaments.
Desperate for a tying goal, Low threw Klose into the match in the 69th minute and the 36-year-old striker delivered almost immediately, bringing Germany back on equal terms two minutes later.
Toni Kroos delivered a corner kick into the danger area that was flicked on by Benedikt Howedes and turned in by Klose for his 15th World Cup goal, bringing him level with Ronaldo for the most all-time.
Klose's goal made for a much more open match with both sides pushing for a winner.
Ghana came close in the 84th minute when Jordan Ayew wriggled free of the German defense to get on the end of a cross to the center of the box, but the Marseille man sent his header just over the crossbar.
Germany advanced the ball immediately and created a tremendous scoring chance when Muller collected a threaded pass to get through on goal, but Jonathan Mensah saved Ghana with a last-ditch tackle to turn the ball out for a corner.
It proved to be the meaningful moment of action as the two nations were made to split the points.
Germany will conclude its Group G slate against the United States on Thursday while Ghana simultaneously squares off with Portugal.