The final set of FIFA World Cup 2014 group games is upon us—where on earth did the time go?
Here we analyse USA vs. Germany—a game where a draw sees both teams through, but a win for either could see life get a little too close for comfort in Group G.
The USA have used two different formations so far in this World Cup, with the 4-4-2 working well against Ghana and the 4-2-3-1 coming within seconds of beating Portugal.
If it hadn't been for that sumptuous cross by Cristiano Ronaldo, headed home expertly by Silvestre Varela, the U.S. would be fielding a reserve team against Germany as they prepare for their round of 16 matchup.
As it is, the U.S. go into this game knowing they need a result to be sure. The sheer amount of German-Americans in the squad and the fact that their manager is Jurgen Klinsmann adds further intrigue to the clash.
"I am proud of being from both countries," midfielder Jermaine Jones told reporters, via The Express. "I will take each anthem as it comes—close my eyes and let it go through me. Then after I will look at my game."
After their opening 4-0 triumph over Portugal, Germany will have not have expected to be in a position whereby they might need something from their final game.
But their performance against Ghana was poor and the Black Stars probably deserved to win; Joachim Low's men allowed them to play on the counterattack and paid the price in the second half.
Against the U.S. they need to be very careful a similar situation doesn't occur, and Low may look to his natural full-backs to play at left- and right-back this time, replacing the out-of-position Benedikt Hoewedes and Jerome Boateng.
Could we see Miroslav Klose from the start?
2 Tactical Clashes
1. Fabian Johnson
If there's one takeaway from the USA's 2-2 draw with Portugal, it's that Fabian Johnson needs to be able to break forward—especially if Hoewedes continues at left-back.
It won't be as easy this time since Low won't play his man as obscenely high up as Andre Almeida, but Mario Goetze isn't in the business of providing top-tier protection either.
Jermaine Jones or Kyle Beckerman will need to play a disciplined role inside to balance the formation, but it's an easy adjustment to make considering the potential rewards.
2. Mesut Ozil vs. DaMarcus Beasley
Mesut Ozil may not have grabbed any headlines so far this World Cup, but he's an integral part of Low's system and will happily duck between the lines on the right side of the formation.
He occupies positions that are difficult to pick up, splitting the midfield and defensive responsibilities and causing doubts. DaMarcus Beasley has been the target of both Ghana and Portugal so far, and we expect Ozil to cause him serious headaches.
If he's left alone he could suffer; will Klinsmann protect him with Jones like he did against the Black Stars, or place ultimate trust in his ability?
Bleacher Report will do a tactical preview and review of every single 2014 FIFA World Cup game. Stay tuned to this link and check it every day for more.