The machine known as Germany is finishing up preparations for the team’s second match of their Group G games against the Ghana Black Stars in the FIFA World Cup on Saturday. Germany is coming off a 4-0 win over Portugal while Ghana will attempt to bounce back from a 1-2 loss to the United States. Germany is expected to have little trouble with the African squad, however, Ghanaians worldwide believe the Black Stars will still shine bright in Brazil.
A loss by Ghana on Saturday would end the teams streak of surviving group play at the World Cup. In 2006, Ghana advanced out of group play by ending the USA’s tournament dreams. In the 2010 the squad survived the group game to face the American’s in the knockout stage where the US’s dreams were once again dashed by Ghana. Now, with one loss on the score sheet, Ghana is facing elimination as the team finalizes preparation to take on Germany. A win by Germany on Saturday followed up by a USA win on Sunday would send both Ghana and Portugal home. A loss by the US on Sunday would make Thursday’s group final against Germany a must win for the Americans.
The Black Stars will be counting on strong play from brothers Jordan and Andre Ayew. Jordan Ayew came into the World Cup riding a hat trick in a friendly against South Korea. However only Andre Ayew was able to find the goal in the 1-2 loss to the American team. Taking on the number two ranked team in the world on Saturday, the Ayew brothers and the rest of the Black Stars will need to come together as a disciplined team to have a chance. The key for the Ghana team will be Sully Muntari. The Black Stars midfielder has a history of unpredictability. Muntari has argued with coaches and officials in the past and has refused call ups to the Black Stars at times. In the first game of the World Cup, the midfielder had a confrontation with the United States Jermaine Jones, which was quickly handled by the referee. If Muntari can control his hothead actions and come to play against Germany, the Black Stars will benefit from the midfielder’s range at a distance. Muntari can easily launch shots hard, accurate shots from outside the 16-yard box, which the Black Stars will need for any chance against Germany.
Portugal needs a Group G victory by Ghana over the German machine to maintain any chance to move out of group play. At the same time, Ghana not only needs to defeat the German team, but also needs Portugal to beat the USA. If Ghana loses Saturday, their FIFA World Cup will be over with no chance to advance, even if the USA draws with Portugal the following day. As the Black Stars started to prepare for the game against Germany, speculation surfaced that the team was on the verge of a mutiny against head coach James Kwesi Appiah. The Ghana Football Association as dismissed talks of any revolt and insist the Black Stars are focused on Saturday’s game against Germany.
Germany may be without Mats Hummels when they take on the African team on Saturday. The defender suffered a deep bruise to the thigh in the game against Portugal and is not expected to be in the starting line-up against the Black Stars. German right back Jerome Boateng will be sporting a brace on his hand after suffering torn ligaments to the right thumb in the first match in Brazil. However, even with the injuries, Germany appears confident as they finish up training prior to the squad’s second game. The team focus appears to be directed at a counter to Ghana’s strong counter-attacking offense. If Germany executes this strategy well, forward Thomas Müller may be on his way to collecting a second straight Golden Boot at the World Cup.
The Group G games on both Saturday and Sunday could be the deciding match’s on who will exit the group of death and continue playing in the FIFA World Cup. While the US and Portugal have one more day to prepare, it is a safe bet that the players will be keeping an eye on the match between the German machine and the Black Stars. If favorite Germany would stumble against the Ghana team, a rejuvenated Portugal squad led by Cristiano Ronaldo may take the pitch Sunday against the United States, where a Germany victory could do the same for the American team.
Commentary by Carl Auer