A wonderful half-volley from Mesut Ozil ensured victory for Germany, and secured a place in the round of 16 where they will face England.
Despite Germany’s win, they were carved open on a number of occasions by the Black Stars, but the quality of finishing was poor throughout from both sides. Philipp Lahm put in a world-beating performance at the back for the Germans and saved them on a number of occasions.
Jerome Boateng started at right-back for Germany, and Philipp Lahm returned to his favoured role at left-back. Cacau started instead of Miroslav Klose, who is serving a suspension.
Neuer – Boateng, Mertesacker, Friedrich, Lahm – Schweinsteiger, Khedira – Mueller, Ozil, Podolski – Cacau
Jerome Boateng made history during this match as he took the field against his brother who plays for Ghana, Kevin-Prince Boateng. Jerome Boateng handled the pressure of such a big game very professionally, and defended well against pressure from Prince Tagoe. Manchester City have done well to secure his signature for next season.
Cacau failed to impress. Despite having numerous chances to score, he never really had a convincing attempt on goal. While he is a very good player at club level, I don’t believe he is of the class to be Germany’s first-choice striker. His link-up play with Ozil was average, but anytime he got in behind the defense with his pace, he was unable to put the finishing touches on the move.
Mesut Ozil, Germany’s creative force, was a constant thorn in the side of the Ghanaians. He consistently sprayed wonderful passes to his teammates, and unlocked Ghana’s backline time and again. Finally, it was Ozil’s strike that put Germany into the lead. From the edge of the box, Ozil struck a half-volley into the top corner of Richard Kingson’s net, who was unbelievable all game long. If not for Kingson, Germany may have beaten Ghana quite handily, although the Ghanaians had their own chances to put the Germans to the sword as well.
Ghana, despite losing, also advance to the round of 16, where they will face USA. Ghana, it has to be said, deserve to advance to the next round after their performance against Germany. Ghana’s Andre Ayew will prove a handful for the Americans, and the athleticism of the Ghanaian midfield was hard enough for Germany to deal with, nevermind how much trouble they will give USA. They put Germany on the back-foot on countless occasions, and exposed Germany’s susceptibility to counter-attacks.
Kingson – Sarpei, Jonathan Mensah, John Mensah, Pantsil – Annan, K.P. Boateng, Asamoah – Ayew, Gyan, Tagoe
Kingson had one of his best games against Germany, and is my man of the match.
Germany’s ruthlessness and efficiency will be vital for them as they advance into the next round. Their ability to get their heads down and focus on the job at hand will be a key to their success. I don’t expect England to qualify for the quarter-finals if they have to go through Germany first.