USA 0 - Germany 1: Match highlights, key battle and what the result means
Published on Jun 27, 2014 2:59 AM
Any fears that the United States and Germany will take it easy (both countries needed a draw to progress) were quickly dispelled when it transpired that a real battle was brewing in Recife.
Playing as if their lives depended on it, the Group G fixture was finally settled by a piece of supreme marksmanship from forward Thomas Mueller. Even though the Americans lost, they still progress to the last 16 at the expense of Ghana and Portugal.
- On a rain-soaked pitch, the Germans dominated by having as much as 68 per cent possession.
- Joachim Loew's men peppered Tim Howard's goal with 13 shots, including six on target. The Americans could not muster a single shot to threaten Manuel Neuer at the opposite end.
- The game was decided in the 65th minute by Mueller, who curled the ball beyond Howard's fingertips, after the goalkeeper parried away Per Mertesacker's header. It was Mueller's fourth goal at this World Cup and his ninth strike in total at the finals.
Jermaine Jones/Michael Bradley/Kyle Beckerman vs Bastian Schweinsteiger/Toni Kroos/Philipp Lahm
While the German midfield trio are schooled by Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola, the three American amigos offer less frills. Think BMW and Mercedes-Benz versus tractors and steamrollers.
Shirt tugs, trailing legs, body checks, late tackles... you have to wonder who the real Weapons of Mass Destruction really are as Joachim Loew saw his midfield darlings get some shock and awe from Juergen Klinsmann's butchers.
Schweinsteiger, in particular, was singled out for some particularly rough treatment from Jones. But the scoreline and statistics don't lie. The Germans still came out the superior side: 751 passes completed compared to 357 and a passing accuracy of 91 per cent against the Americans' 83 per cent.
Man of the Match
Kroos has his delicate touches and Schweinsteiger has his flair. Lahm is not even a natural midfielder to begin with but in his quiet and efficient way, the German captain organises the team and make the players sing.
He averages an outstanding 95 per cent in passing accuracy at this World Cup and he was no different against USA. To make it even more impressive, he was never dispossessed.
And to demonstrate his focus, Lahm dashed all the way back inside his box in the fourth minute of stoppage time to slide in and block a ferocious shot from Alejandro Bedoya. That's professionalism and leadership for you.
What the result means
The Germans march on relentlessly to the last 16. Their two wins and a draw were delivered after a combination of devastating attacks and rock-solid possession-based tactics.
Klinsmann's warriors have also battled their way to the next round. While their blood and guts approach will go down a treat with the American fans, their lack of a cutting edge up front could prove costly later at this World Cup.