Germany and Ghana played to an entertaining 2-2 draw in Fortaleza on Saturday evening, with the game notable due to Germany's Miroslav Klose's equaling of Ronaldo's FIFA World Cup record of 15 total goals.
Mario Goetze opened the scoring for Die Mannschaft in the second half, but the Black Stars bit back through Jordan Ayew and Asamoah Gyan. Klose, playing the part of super-sub, came on to salvage a point from a corner.
Formations & XIs
Germany lined up unchanged from their opening fixture with Portugal—with Mats Hummels passed fit to play—featuring four centre-backs across the back four and an interchanging forward line.
Ghana stuck to their 4-2-3-1 too, but brought in Fatau Dauda (GK), Harrison Afful (RB) and Kevin-Prince Boateng (AMC) to freshen things up.
Germany Avoid Pressing
Ghana started off in lively fashion, defending high off the ball and looking to press Germany in possession when possible.
It's a good opening statement from a side who need to make up some points on both Die Mannschaft and the USA, but it quickly started to backfire as their opponents began squeezing their way through the lines over and over using simple passing combinations.
Working it out of danger from the back, Low's men took the same route they did against an overly aggressive Portugal side: Philipp Lahm finding Mesut Ozil between the lines on the right side, and he'd turn, run and drag his side up the pitch.
The Black Stars were burned repeatedly by it until manager Kwesi Appiah finally adjusted his setup.
Ghana's Man-Marking Adjustment
Abandoning pressing (for the most part) as a result of opposition success, Ghana elected to try and man-mark the deepest central midfielder of Germany's to prevent them working the ball through the middle instead.
That meant Boateng staying tight to Lahm, but in response the converted midfielder would simply break forward and make an attacking run, shaking off the attention as Prince didn't want to follow him that deep.
Five minutes later, Prince enlisted Sulley Muntari to help him; the plan being for one to mark Lahm and the other to take Sami Khedira. Together they were able to level the playing field in the centre, and Germany's centre-backs were left with useless possession.
Working the Flanks, Working the Space
With a foothold in the game, finally, Ghana then had a choice of which flank to attack as both looked susceptible to pace.
Benedikt Hoewedes (left-back) and Jerome Boateng/Shkodran Mustafi (right-back) were equally appealing, and in bypassing the middle, doubled the volume of passes the way of Kwadwo Asamoah, Christian Atsu and Co. on the wings.
Afful cantered forward from right-back and crossed for the Jordan Ayew opener, then Lahm committed the most unlikely of errors to allow Muntari to play in Gyan for a second.
After the goals, they continued to work both sides and test out both Mustafi's confidence and Hoewedes' mobility. Both were shaky, but Die Mannschaft held firm.
Both managers made a slew of substitutions and one of Low's, Klose, equalised within three minutes of coming on. His poked effort from a corner was oh-so-Klose in oh so many ways.
At 2-2 the game became obscenely stretched and that suited the Black Stars more than Germany, with the former squandering an incredible chance on a three vs. two counter by (inexplicably) delaying the pass and straying offside.
Ghana's best bet definitely down Germany's left. Lots of space left by Höwedes and Götze.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) June 21, 2014
Ghana coach Appiah spoke to TV reporters after the game and praised his side's monumental effort: "It was a great game. Germany are a big team. Our boys did well in matching them and created a lot of chances.
"We must wait and see how it [USA vs. Portugal] goes tomorrow."