Ghana clings to hope after 2-2 draw with Germany
FORTALEZA, Brazil: Germany was held to an entertaining 2-2 draw by Ghana on Saturday and needed Miroslav Klose’s second-half equalizer to avoid another second-game letdown that has plagued the team in recent tournaments.
Klose now has 15 career World Cup goals, equaling the mark set by former Brazil star Ronaldo. He celebrated the goal with his trademark somersault.
“It wasn’t perfect, but I can’t remember the last time I did it,” Klose said. “Still, 15 goals in 20 matches, that’s not bad.”
Just like in 2010, Germany won its opening game of the World Cup 4-0 but struggled in its second game. Four years ago, it was beaten 1-0 by Serbia, and the Germans were on the verge of losing again on Saturday. The draw was good news for the United States, however, as the Americans would advance from the group if they beats Portugal on Sunday.
“Ghana really threw everything they had at us. It was a very animated match. Both teams had many chances, and many counterattacks,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said. “That’s not how the match was planned, but that’s how it turned out.”
Klose scored the equalizer in the 71st minute, less than two minutes after coming on as a substitute, when a corner by Toni Kroos was flicked to the far post by Benedikt Hoewedes and the striker slid in to knock the ball into the roof of the net.
Ronaldo reacted with a tweet: “Welcome to the club (hashtag)klose. I can imagine your happiness!!!! What a great Cup!!!?“
Mario Goetze had put Germany ahead in the 51st, but Ghana equalized three minutes later through Andre Ayew.
Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan then put the Africans ahead in the 63rd, only to see Klose cancel out his goal.
The 36-year-old Klose is in his fourth World Cup and had been level with former Germany striker Gerd Mueller on 14 goals. Ronaldo also scored his 15th against Ghana, in a 3-0 win in 2006 in Germany.
With coach Joachim Loew preferring to play with a “false nine” system without a striker, Klose sat out Germany’s opening 4-0 rout of Portugal. But with Ghana threatening to put a damper on Germany’s hope of winning the group, Loew turned to his veteran, who delivered again.
“I am very happy for Klose. He was on the pitch for two minutes and he scored. It’s sensational for his career,” Loew said. “He is a player who can come on and have a decisive impact. That’s great for me, for the team, and for him.”
Still, the result revived Ghana’s hopes of progressing after its opening 2-1 loss to the United States.
“It was a good competitive game. We did our best and we had many other chances that could have produced goals,” Ghana coach James Appiah said. “Ghanaians have a strong mentality when it comes to football, to fight to the end to matter what is happening. Playing against Germany is difficult especially when you are a goal down. So you have to have the right players with the right mentality on the pitch.”
Germany took the lead when Thomas Mueller sent a dipping cross toward Goetze, who attempted a header but the ball bounced off his left knee into the net.
Germany’s lead lasted only three minutes.
Ayew rose between Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi to head the equalizer inside the far post from a cross from Harrison Affu.
With the non-German side of crowd loudly behind the Ghana team, the African side kept putting pressure on the favored Germans. Gyan beat an offside trap by Mats Hummels and Mertesacker in the 63rd, ran into space and fired the ball past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer into the far corner to raise Ghana’s hopes of an upset.
In between the first two goals, a fan ran onto the pitch waving his shirt. He did not threaten any players but shook hands with
Ghana’s Sully Muntari, who escorted him off the field before he was picked up by a security official. Ushers then moved to block stairwells leading to the pitch.
Both teams had late chances to grab the winner but Neuer and his Ghana counterpart Fatawu Dauda produced good saves.
Muntari picked up a late yellow card late in the match for his second booking and will miss his team’s final group game against Portugal.
Schalke forward Kevin-Prince Boateng played from the start for Ghana, pitting him against half-brother Jerome Boateng, a Germany defender. There was little contact between the two and Jerome was substituted at halftime with a hip injury.
Mueller, who scored a hat trick against Portugal, had to be helped off the pitch after the match with a bloodied face after colliding with John Boye.
Germany: Manuel Neuer; Jerome Boateng (Shkodran Mustafi, 46th), Per Mertesacker, Mats Hummels, Benedikt Howedes; Sami Khedira (Bastian Schweinsteiger, 70th), Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil; Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze (Miroslav Klose, 69th).
Ghana: Fatau Dauda; Harrison Afful, John Boye, Jonathan Mensah; Kwadwo Asamoah, Sulley Muntari, Mohammed Rabiu (Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, 78th), Christian Atsu (Mubarak Wakaso, 72nd), Andre Ayew; Kevin-Prince Boateng (Jordan Ayew, 52nd), Asamoah Gyan.