Germany vs. Ghana: 6 Things We Learned

Stefan Bienkowski@@SbienkowskiFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2014

Germany vs. Ghana: 6 Things We Learned

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    Buoyed by an impressive opening day victory over Portugal, Germany took to the task of overcoming Ghana in high spirits; however, the shock was just as notable after a stunning 2-2 draw with Ghana.

    Although Joachim Low's side are still on course to qualifywith just one point needed against final Group G opponents United States next Thursdaythe shared points on the night now mean that any side can now progress to the next round. 

    Mario Goetze opened the scoring in the 51st minute following a tight first half, when a deep cross from Thomas Mueller found the small forward wedged between two Ghanaian defenders on the edge of the six-yard box. The Bayern Munich star's header actually was off target, heading straight for the ground, but fortunately it knocked off his own knee and bounced in to give his side the lead. 

    #Götze: We conceded 2 goals we should not have conceded. It was v difficult. Now we will win those three points v the #USA#GERGHA#WC2014

    — Steffen Potter (@UEFAcomSteffenP) June 21, 2014

    Yet it was Ghana's night to truly shine, when a commendable resurgence saw the African side regain a footing in the game with an Andre Ayew header in the 54th minute before Asamoah Gyan smashed home the second for the Black Stars just nine minutes later. 

    #Lahm: Tough 90 minutes. We had the better chances. We tried to pull back a bit to get some space. We are not pleased. #GERGHA #WC2014

    — Steffen Potter (@UEFAcomSteffenP) June 21, 2014

    Miroslav Klose would then save German blushes later in the second half, with a monumental 15th World Cup goal, but without a third from the likes of Mesut Ozil, Philipp Lahm or even Bastian Schweinsteiger, it was Ghana's night to enjoy. 

    Here are six things we learned from this well earned draw. 

Ghana Prove Stronger Test Than Portugal

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    Although many considered Group G to be anything but a group of death for Germany, it was to much surprise that Ghana managed to shake things up with their impressive 2-2 draw just days after losing to the United States. 

    What only adds to the spectacle is of course the manner in which Germany were able to completely dismantle Portugala side tipped to comfortably finish second behind themin the opening game, yet failed to beat the African side in this match. 

    However this was all through a truly industrious performance from the Black Stars in which they never gave Germany a moment's rest. Where Portugal were lackadaisical in midfield and sloppy in defence, Ghana tormented the German trio in the middle of the park and bullied Ozil and Mueller in the final third. 

    Paulo Bento's Portugal side may boast world class stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Moutinho and Pepe but it was a team effort from the Ghanaians that proved more than enough for Germany to handle.

    It's a mentality that could prove enough for Ghana to go on and qualify for the next round with a win over Portugal. 

Low Building a Front Line for Years to Come

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    With a combined total of 136 international caps, 46 international goals and an average age of 23.6 years old, Germany's front three strikers look more than exceptional together on paper

    Although such a match was far from the best example of their collective worth—especially with 36-year-old Klose having to coming on to save the day—Mueller, Ozil and Goetze have continued to show just how much potential and worth they bring to this German side. 

    Although Goetze probably wouldn't have been playing his second consecutive game of the tournament if it hadn't been for the nasty injury to Marco Reus, he has slotted in perfectly on the left of attack and even scored Germany's first goal tonight.

    Germany and their coach will be keen to keep all focus on the task at hand, as they continue their push for their first World Cup trophy in 24 years, but it is almost impossible to watch this current side without considering that these three players have at least another two World Cups in them together. 

    Goetze, Meuller and Ozil may not have won the game for Germany tonight but they do offer a very bright long-term solution for their country. 

Miroslav Klose Equals World Cup Record

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    As if written for a fairytale or an epic Hollywood screenplay, it was Klose who came on late in the game to turn things around for Germany against Ghana. 

    Despite coming on in the 69th minute when Germany looked all but defeated, after two quick Ghanaian goals, the Lazio striker took just two minutes to find the all-important equaliser. 

    From the corner that was knocked in by an ever-determined Toni Kroos, Klose found himself sliding in at the back post to knock home a cross that Benedikt Hoewedes had happily headed in his direction. Germany had their second goal and a foothold back into this game.

    All-time leading World Cup goalscorers

    Miroslav KloseGermany15
    Gerd MuellerGermany14
    Just FontaineFrance13
    Pele Brazil12

    Klose's 70th international goal tonight of course now means that he has also scored in four successive World Cups, a record that was held by only Uwe Seeler and Pele before him. A forward who continues to reward Low for his trust in him. 

Germany Struggle Against Modern World Cup Foes

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    Although the build-up to Saturday night's showdown between Germany and Ghana had heavily favoured the European side to divide and conquer Akwasi Appiah's men, recent memory should have suggested otherwise. 

    This game showed a Ghanaian side that offered limitless energy and technique against Germany and just as in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Low's team really struggled. 

    On that nervous night in Johannesburg it was Ozil who eventually showed up with the goal against the African side. Yet as we saw in a pre-tournament friendly against Cameroon, Germany certainly begin to wobble when they face quicker and more powerful teams. 

    For the Bundestrainer and his side, such torment is now behind them, but, if they are destined to come up against Ghana later in the competition, more work will certainly be needed. 

Asamoah Gyan Equals African Record

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    One of Ghana's most impressive players on the night was undoubtedly the striker Asamoah Gyan, who managed to take advantage of Lahm's poor pass in the 63rd minute and smash the ball past Neuer in goal. 

    Yet not only did the Al Ain striker help his side win a well-deserved point against one of the tournament favourites, he also etched his name in African history too. 

    The late goal against Germany was Gyan's fifth in the World Cup, which put him level with Cameroon's legendary striker Roger Milla as the joint all-time African goalscorer in the competition.

    With a final Group G match against Portugal still to play next Thursday and a potential spot in the next round, Gyan may have another opportunity to add to that impressive total and make him Africa's most prolific World Cup goalscorer. 

Joachim Low Continues to Impress with Tactical Moves

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    Although neither Germany nor their coach will be too happy with how the game against Ghana eventually turned out, fans will be able to take comfort in how their Bundestrainer responded to going behind. 

    The decision to remove Goetze, of all people, for Klose in the 69th minute certainly raised a few eyebrows, but with a goal almost immediately from the substitute all was forgiven. 

    Low was also clever enough to bring on Schweinsteiger for Sami Khedira rather than Kroos, a similarly styled central midfielder. Although Klose got the goal, it was the Bayern Munich midfielder who dictated the German pace for the remainder of the hectic game. 

    Partner this with Low's decision to surprise us all with a 4-3-3 formation that went on to overcome the Portuguese in their opening game, and it's safe to say that the German coach has been rather impressive thus far. A far cry from the frustration and confusion that dogged him and his side in qualification.