Germany 2 Ghana 2: Highlights, key battles, and what this result means
Published on Jun 22, 2014 5:33 AM
An opening 45 minutes to forget was followed up by an enthralling second half where two carefree sides exchanged leads, defensive errors and stunning bits of skill.
Ghana deserved their point in a 2-2 draw with Germany, who needed substitute Miroslav Klose to equalise with his first touch and join Brazilian legend Ronaldo as the World Cup's all-time top scorer.
Significantly, for future opponents, the Africans may have found the blueprint for tackling one of the tournament favourites. From the get-go, they exposed their opponents' marauding full-backs by pumping long balls into space down the flanks.
Germany manager Joachim Loew was forced to withdraw a bemused-looking Jerome Boateng at the break, though his inexperienced replacement at right-back, Shkodran Mustafi, was to blame for Ghana's first goal.
- The 1.76-metre Mario Goetze was never going to score a proper header, so he decided to scuff one in. On the end of Thomas Mueller's delightful cross, the Bayern Munich forward misdirected his nod onto his knee - and into the net.
- Ghana midfielder Andrew Ayew showed how to put a glancing head to it. Meeting Harrison Afful's inswinger, the Marseille player outjumped a lethargic Mustafi to beat Manuel Neuer at full stretch for a deserved equaliser just minutes after Goetze's effort.
- The Black Stars shone brightest just past the hour mark. Pouncing on a sloppy German pass in their own half, Sulley Muntari threaded a ball through three opponents - including a sliding Mats Hummels - for lively striker Asamoah Gyan. With just Neuer to beat at an angle, the Al-Ain hitman slammed the ball across goal, sparking the competition's latest eccentric dance-cum-celebration with his team-mates.
- Die Mannschaft turned to legendary marksman Klose for help, who responded by hitting the bullseye with his first touch. Somehow finding himself unmarked near the goal-line, the 36-year-old only had to stick out his right foot to guide in Benedikt Howedes' flick from a corner. It may not have been his best goal, but the trademark somersault celebration showed just what a record-equalling 15th World Cup strike meant to him.
Toni Kroos vs Sulley Muntari
The battle of the midfield generals witnessed several minor defeats and victories. When Muntari briefly lost concentration, Kroos stole in to initiate an intricate passing move that eventually led to Goetze's opener.
But when Kroos took his eye off the ball, it was his wily opponent who hit back, pressing high to intercept a pass and set up Gyan's equaliser.
With his work rate and aggression, Muntari can take credit for largely nullifying one of the world's most creative deep-lying playmakers, who tormented a top team like Portugal just days earlier.
Man of the Match
On his own up front, Gyan deserves praise for giving Hummels and Per Mertesacker - earning his 100th international cap - a torrid evening. The 28-year-old did it all - dropping into channels, playing with his back to goal and running at the backline with pace and panache.
Such was his form that few watching had any doubts when the former Sunderland man found himself one-on-one with goalkeeping giant Neuer. His explosive finish capped an all-action display, setting the tone as the Ghanaians grafted their way to a precious point.
What this result means
As expected, no team is certain of qualifying going into the final round of matches in the 'Group of Death'. Germany will top the group if they beat the United States, who themselves face a wounded Portugal on Sunday.
With one point from two outings, Ghana know they must get the win against Cristiano Ronaldo's side on Thursday to stand any chance of progressing. In short, expect Group G to go down to the final minute of play.