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Sat Sep 20 20:00:47 SAST 2014

Africa's dream alive

LUKE ALFRED at Soccer City | 24 June, 2010 02:210 Comments

There was a contradiction or two secreted away in this game. It was open yet crabby, careful but flowing. In the end, though, playing a more fluent game with their endlessly circulating midfield, Germany had too much for Ghana, who were brave, ponderous and probably a little unlucky.

Group D standings; World Cup statistics


Ghana showed the world a few things about Germany, which England, who will meet them in the round of 16, will do well to heed. Germany's defence looks shaky and the midfield seems to suffer from too many artists and not enough artisans. Watching them from now on will require a strong constitution.

It required patience last night because just when the match seemed to be meandering towards soccer's equivalent of the Cold War, two good teams looked in an icy stalemate, so Mesut Oezil found himself in possession of the ball and time at his disposal. The pass from Thomas Mueller found him in relatively empty space on the edge of the Ghana box. Left-footed, he sailed a drive slingshot clean past Richard Kingson in goal.

After falling behind, Ghana chased the game. A point from a draw would shepherd them into the second round. But, unsure of the result between Australia and Serbia, they feared both sneaking ahead of them on points. It was not to be, although they qualify as the group's second-placed team.

Immediately noticeable at the start was the extent to which Ghana's back four pushed up towards halfway. This resulted in the game being squeezed around the centre-circle, giving Germany's bright young things - Sami Khedira, Oezil and Mueller - less time and space in which to display their trickery. They were, though, able to carve openings through deft running and swift passing.

Kingson had to deal smartly with a slick move between Lukas Podolski and Oezil after a Jonathan Mensah deflection.

Later in the half, Kingson was on hand to rush off his line to block Oezil after the raiding midfielder was put through by Cacao. There were chances at the other end, too many for Germany's liking. Ghana's powerful forwards kept making inroads into dangerous territory, with Kevin Prince Boateng and Asamoah Gyan in the thick of things.

Ghana's confidence rose as they negotiated a nervy opening 20 minutes, Gyan thwarted by the most timely of tackles from Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Schweinsteiger, doggedly policing his back four, frequently stood out for the men in black with a crafty display.



Germany: Manuel Neuer, Arne Friedrich, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger (Toni Kroos 81), Mesut Oezil, Lukas Podolski, Thomas Mueller (Piotr Trochowski 66), Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Cacau, Jerome Boateng (Marcel Jansen 72).

Ghana: Richard Kingson, Hans Sarpei, Asamoah Gyan (Matthew Amoah 82) John Pantsil, John Mensah, Anthony Annan, Jonathan Mensah, Prince Tagoe (Sulley Muntari 63), Andre Ayew (Dominic Adiyiah 91), Kwadwo Asamoah, Kevin Prince Boateng.

Referee: Carlos Simon (Brazil)

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Africa's dream alive

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