July 25 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Germany 2 Ghana 2
With England out, the holders Spain gone, one of Italy and Uruguay destined for group elimination and Portugal reeling from a first match thumping, this is shaping up to be a very different World Cup as the big boys find that the minnows are not so tiny and frightened after all.
Brazil have hardly impressed so far, while Argentina struggled to overcome a gallant Iran side earlier today until Lionel Messi produced one late piece of world class magic to give them a 1-0 win.
It is Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Holland and France who have really impressed so far and it gives the competition a fresh and exciting look as if anything could happen except for England winning a match!
But while some of the big names in the world game have struggled in Brazil, there is always one exception and that, of course, is the Germans.
Organised, efficient and seemingly unruffable, Germany crushed the hopeful Portuguese 4-0 in their opening game.
While everyone extols the goalscoring virtues of Neymar of Brazil, Messi of Argentina and Robin van Persie for the Dutch, Thomas Muller, the winner of the Golden Boot in South Africa four years ago, began the 2014 campaign with a hat-trick against Portugal and was on the hunt for more against Ghana on Saturday night.
Ghana were the unluckiest team four years ago. Like England this time round they were put out by Luis Suarez when the striker handballed on the line and the Africans missed the resulting penalty before going out in the quarter-finals on spot-kicks.
They deserved better, but this time round their World Cup started with a surprise defeat by the United States. Many thought this was a group of death, but the Americans were supposed to be the whipping boys in that scenario.
The African teams have struggled in the tournament so far, with only Ivory Coast of their five representatives actually winning a game. They say that the Europeans struggle when the World Cup is played in South America, perhaps the Africans stuggle all the more.
Germany were expected to rain more misery on the African cause and though, in the end it didn’t turn out that way, they still did enough to put them in a very strong position in the group with the USA to play in their last game.
After an even and goalless first half, this match exploded into life shortly into what turned into a pulsating second half.
First Muller’s cross was dispatched by Mario Gotze to give Germany the lead, but that merely prompted Ghana to throw caution to the wind.
Three minutes later they were level when Ayew headed home a cross from the right and they were soon in dreamland when former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan was put through to finish with aplomb.
Germany looked there for the taking and twice Ghana went close to making it 3-1, but, as ever, Germany have a habit of coming back and when they won a corner on the left, it was headed on to where substitute Miroslav Klose was on hand to score with his first touch of the ball.
The Germans had the better chances to win it, but Klose was twice denied by brilliant Ghana defending as the Black Stars deservedly held on for a draw to keep their chances of making the last 16 alive.
Germany were never that impressive, but as they always seem to do, they got the job done and while the likes of England and Spain have faltered, you just never expect it of the Germans.
So what about England and their demise? Surely calls for the head of Roy Hodgson are a ridiculous over-reaction. When you look at the first two games they were up against two teams ranked higher than them in the FIFA World rankings.
They played some great stuff against the Italians, coming from behind only to be pipped by the head of Mario Balotelli, then they came from behind against against Uruguay only to be beaten by Suarez, perhaps the most lethal striker in world football.
A different order in their matches with perhaps England facing Costa Rica first and they could, just could, be looking at a place in the last 16. But it was not to be for a team where expectations were not very high, that is until we arrived and suddenly many thought we were going to go all the way.
All that is left to play for is a clash with Costa Rica and memories of Archie Gemmill’s wondrous goal against Holland as Scotland still crashed out in Argentina in 1978 spring to mind.
Still, a win for England would be nice and then we can start expecting us to win the European Championships in two yeats time!