On June 21st, Germany and Ghana travel to the Estádio Castelão to continue their World Cup campaign. The two sides started their World Cup very differently. Germany had as good a start to the tournament as they could have possibly wished for with a 4-0 dismantling of Portugal. Between a Thomas Muller hat-trick and a Pepe red card, Germany strolled to a 4-0 win, putting them in firm control of group G.
Ghana started the group with a game they couldn’t afford to lose against the USA. Sadly for the them they did just that falling 2-1 against the Americans. After conceding just 29 seconds into the game, Ghana dominated the rest of the game. They equalized in the 82nd minute but had their hearts broken with an 86th minute winner for the USA from John Brooks. If Germany comes out with a victory, they will eliminate Ghana and put themselves in poll position to win the group.
Michael Essien is the only injury worry for Ghana as he missed training with a toe injury. Essien didn’t start vs the United States when he was fit so it would be a surprise if they were to start him against the Germans. After his strong cameo off the bench, it would be a surprise if Kevin Prince Boateng wasn’t on from the start. Germany look like they will be without centre-back Mats Hummels.
This is the second World Cup in a row where Germany and Ghana have been paired in the same group. In the 2010 World Cup, Germany came out 1-0 winners via a wonder strike from Mesut Ozil winning the Germans the group. The only other time the two met was in an international friendly in 1993 where Germany won 6-1. Germany have only won their second group game once in the last five World Cups.
Germany’s key man is the hat trick hero, Thomas Muller. Muller now has eight World Cup goals in seven World Cup games. The big question was who would start as the striker for them with Miroslav Klose as the only recognized center forward. The Bayern Munich man ended starting up front and clearly did very well bagging himself a hat trick. After grabbing the golden boot in the 2010 World Cup, the versatile German could prove to be the remedy for Germany’s striker problems. If Muller is able to perform consistently this World Cup, Germany could very well win it’s first World Cup since 1990.
If Ghana are to keep their World Cup hopes alive they will need striker Asamoah Gyan to perform vs Germany. Gyan assisted on Ghana’s goal against the United States with a beautiful back heel to open the space for Ayew. Ghana will not have as much possession as they did against the United States and will need be clinical in front of goal, something they were not against the USA. The former Sunderland striker will likely only get a few opportunities and it will be vital he takes whatever chances he gets.
Germany are the clear favorites for this match and for winning the group. After arguably the best performance of the tournament against Portugal, it would be a shock if the three time winners were to lose. Ghana will be playing for their tournament lives. Lose and they are eliminated. That kind of desperation could help them pull off the upset. In the end, I believe the quality of the Germans will show through and they will grab all three points.