If anyone thought that Germany were overhyped coming into the tournament, their masterful demolition of Portugal in their group stage opener put those sentiments to bed. Their complete evisceration of Portugal was no fluke. While the odds are against a European team winning the World Cup in foreign lands, if anyone can be the first to do it, surely it’s this German side.
Despite Ghana failing to defeat the United States for the third World Cup running when they lost 2-1 to the States in their opener, all is not lost for them. A point against Germany still keeps their hopes of getting out of the group stage, but they will need help from Portugal and hope they beat the US if Ghana is going to have any chance. In short, their task borders on the highly unlikely.
Will Germany put one foot forward towards a run to the final, or will Ghana give them a moment of pause? Here is our preview and predictions.
Projected starting XI’s
Germany – Manuel Neuer; Jerome Boateng, Per Mertesacker, Benedikt Howedes, Kevin Grosskreutz; Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos; Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze
Ghana – Adam Kwarasey; Kwadwo Asamoah, John Boye, Jonathan Mensah, Daniel Oparea; Sulley Muntari, Mohammed Rabiu, Christian Atsu; Jordan Ayew, Asamoah Gyan, Andre Ayew
Key’s for Germany:
- Keep doing what they do best, and that is play German football. On current form, they are the most dangerous team in this tournament apart from the Netherlands. No reason for Joachim Low to change anything.
- Keep Thomas Muller in the XI. They have so many attacking options that Low may be tempted to rotate his players, but the way Muller, Ozil and Gotze played against Portugal warrants their continued selection.
- Adjusting to the injury to Mats Hummels. It will mean Howedes dropping into the middle or giving a run out to Ginter, but they have plenty of options at the back. Hummels is certainly their best central defender, so Mertesacker will have to step up there as well.
Key’s for Ghana:
- Exploiting Germany at the back. Ghana have bags of pace everywhere in their side, especially in the brothers Ayew, Gyan and Asamoah. With Low preferring to play center-backs on the wings rather than wing-backs, their chances will need to be created from wide areas.
- Being positionally aware at the back. Germany’s front three are completely interchangeable, and when further supported form late runs into the box by Kroos or Khedira, Germany are so tough to handle when defending.
- Taking their chances well. Simply put, Ghana should have scored at least three against the United States, if not more. They shot themselves in their own foot and should be on three points rather than zero. They will create fewer chances against Germany, so if they have any hope of getting a result, they must be far more clinical.
- Mertesacker v Gyan – Mertesacker is a fantastic defender, but his only weakness is his complete lack of pace. With Hummels looking set to miss the match, his lack of pace will be even more exposed without Hummels there to make up for it. If he’s not careful, he will give Gyan too many opportunities to get through on goal.
- Rabiu v Kroos – When you look beyond the brilliant front three Germany are set to select, there is Toni Kroos – such a brilliant deep-lying playmaker for both club and country. Rabiu simply must keep him in check, but even that may not prove nearly enough for Ghana.
- Boye v Muller – 8 goals and 3 assists in seven World Cup matches for Muller in his career, and he’s not even in his prime yet. Three goals against Portugal in their opener, and if Boye does not keep him off his game, Muller could easily net a brace and be on five goals after just two matches.
Staff match predictions
Drew: 4-0 Germany, and I really don’t have to go into detail but I will. Ghana cannot finish for the life of them, Germany are one of the most organized and defensively sound teams in the world and beyond that, they are killers in the opposition box where Ghana are sub-par. This could get ugly.
Young: 2-0 Germany. They will keep the ball moving in another convincing performance. While Ghana ill resort to gritty defensive tactics, Die Mannschaft will prove to be too clever through the likes of Ozil and Muller. Unlike their match against the US, Ghana will discover that the German defense will offer them little in the chance department.
Luke: 3-0 Germany, and that is being conservative! They looked the real deal in their first match, replacing quality with quality from their bench. Ghana need to bounce back from the US defeat but this is the worst team to play at this point. Ghana may have one or two early chances and if they take one it gets interesting, but that’s unlikely.
Charles: 4-0 Germany. They have this in the bag long before kick-off. Ghana showed far too much disorganization in midfield in their match against the US and Germany will certainly take advantage of that. They have too many reliable players who can either retain possession or hit you on the counter.