Photo: Groups E-H
Germany are not only the favorites to top Group G at Brazil 2014, the three-time world champions are also one of the heavyweight contenders to take the title. At the last four major tournaments - the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups™ and the 2008 and 2012 UEFA EUROS - Germany have always made it at least as far as the semi-finals.
Nevertheless, none of the three opponents should be underestimated. At EURO 2012, Portugal showed they are more than capable of competing with Germany on a good day, even if they narrowly lost that meeting 1-0. The Ghanaians, who will face Portugal for the first time ever in Brazil, will be eager for revenge against Germany after a 1-0 defeat in 2010. The Africans still made it into the knockout rounds, however, advancing at Australia’s expense on goal difference alone. Meanwhile, under the guidance of coach Jurgen Klinsmann, USA have their sights set on emulating their achievements in 2010 in progressing to the Round of 16.
Players to watch
In this group the spotlight will inevitably be trained firmly on Cristiano Ronaldo, who fired Portugal to the finals almost single-handedly with his goals in the play-off ties against Sweden. However, the Real Madrid star is not the only player with outstanding individual talent in the group. In summer 2013 Mesut Ozil became the most expensive German player in history after moving from Madrid to Arsenal in a 50 million Euro deal. For USA, Landon Donovan is the creative hub, while Ghana can call upon a world-class midfielder of their own in Kevin-Prince Boateng, who swapped AC Milan for Schalke over the summer. In a fascinating subplot to the group proceedings, Boateng will jostle for supremacy with his brother Jerome when Ghana play Germany.
The crunch match
USA-Germany, 26 June 2014 (18:00)
It is not so much the teams’ respective positions in the FIFA/Coca Cola World Ranking that make this fixture so intriguing, but rather the men in the respective dugouts. USA coach Klinsmann was at the helm of the Germany side between 2004 and 2006 and played a significant role in the country’s ‘fairytale’ World Cup in 2006. After Klinsmann stepped down, his former assistant Joachim Low took charge and has since taken Germany’s game to another level.
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