Germany struggled with Ghana for most of the 90 minutes of the second game of Group G play in the FIFA World Cup and was never able to find a way to defeat the Black Stars. The 2-2 draw puts Germany in first place with four points and earns Ghana their first point of the tournament and keeps the Black Stars from elimination for one more week.
The match began with the German team coming onto the pitch in a 4-3-3 line-up. Mats Hummels surprised fans by returning to the starting line-up after suffering a deep thigh contusion against Portugal in the teams first team. Immediately, the German team continued the strategic control of the ball used against Portugal, looking for an opening in the Ghana defense. As Germany handled the ball in the backfield, the entire Ghana team dropped back to one half of the field to attempt a quick counter-attack. Early in the game, Ghana abandoned that defensive approach and turned aggressive with a 4-2-3-1 line-up that provided the Black Stars with a couple looks at the goal early in the game.
As the first half moved on, Germany became more aggressive and found quite a few looks on goal. However, Ghana’s goalkeeper Fatawu Dauda stepped up for the Black Stars. Dauda replaced Adam Kwarasey, who was in-goal in the loss to the USA. This was one of three changes to the line-up made by head coach Akwasi Appiah. While it did not give the Black Stars a lead, it did keep both teams scoreless going into the locker room at halftime.
Germany did not look like the same team that defeated Portugal in Monday’s game during the first half against Ghana. The first half of the Group G match gave little indication of what would come in the final 45 minutes of play. Germany needed to score if the team was going to earn a victory over the Black Stars in the FIFA World Cup. The Stars were shining bright in the first half and heading into the locker room, Ghana was pleased with the first half draw.
When the two teams returned to the pitch of the Estadio Castelao in the city of Fortaleza, a sense of urgency was apparent in both squads. Ghana may have given Germany a first half scare, playing much better than expected. Ghana started the second half aggressively, putting pressure on the favored German squad. In the 50th minute, Germany came together when Mario Götze headed the ball off of his own knee for a goal and the 1-0 lead. The Germans would celebrate briefly as the Black Stars Andre Ayew flew into the box three minutes later to connect with a header for the equalizer.
With the game tied 1-1, the Ghana fans in the stadium were chanting with more enthusiasm and drowning out the German faithful in attendance. The German team started to fall apart after giving up the first goal to Ghana. In the 62nd minute, the unthinkable happened when Asamoah Gyan sent a shot off of his right foot off of an assist from Sulley Ali Muntari past the diving German goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, to give the Black Stars a 2-1 lead.
In a desperation move, German head coach Joachim Löw substituted into the match 36-year old forward Miroslav Klose. The move worked. In the 71st minute Klose was able to redirect a cross in front of the Ghana goal to tie the game at 2-2. This was the German striker’s 15th career goal at the World Cup and tied Klose with Brazil’s Ronaldo for the most career goals scored in the tournament.
Both teams went into an aggressive offensive flurry. However, neither team was able to find a way into the net for the winning goal. The Group G match would end in a draw keeping Ghana’s hopes alive in the FIFA World Cup. Germany failing to produce a needed victory puts the pressure on the USA to beat Portugal on Sunday. A win by the USA on Sunday will eliminate Portugal and advance the Americans to the next round. However, the draw in this game could help to advance the Black Stars. If the USA wins against both Portugal and Germany, a Black Stars victory in the final group match for Ghana could send the team into the next round. That scenario will come down to how many goals Germany and Ghana both score in the final group games.
Commentary by Carl Auer
Observations by Carl Auer